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Taylor v. Batten

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division

January 13, 2020

PAULA SUE TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
LESLIE MILLER BATTEN; JENNIFER HOLDER; BEN HOLDER; PAUL TAYLOR, BRIAN DALE JONES; and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendants.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BENJAMIN W. CHEESBRO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff filed this cause of action under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and has moved to proceed in forma pauperis. Docs. 1, 2. Upon review, I DENY Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. I RECOMMEND the Court DISMISS Plaintiff's Complaint, DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case and enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal, and DENY Plaintiff in forma pauperis on appeal.[1]

         I. Plaintiff's Complaint

         Plaintiff seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), the Court may authorize the filing of a civil lawsuit without the prepayment of fees if the plaintiff submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all of her assets and shows an inability to pay the filing fee and also includes a statement of the nature of the action which shows that she is entitled to redress. Even if the plaintiff proves indigence, the Court must dismiss the action if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii); Dingler v. Georgia, 725 Fed.Appx. 923, 927 (11th Cir. 2018) (Section 1915(e)(2)(B) “plainly applies to anyone proceeding in forma pauperis, prisoners and non-prisoners alike.”); Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 113 n.19 (3d Cir. 2002) (Non-prisoner indigent plaintiffs are “clearly within the scope of § 1915(e)(2)[.]”); Dutta-Roy v. Fain, No. 1:14-CV-280, 2014 WL 1795205, at *2 (N.D.Ga. May 5, 2014) (frivolity review of indigent non-prisoner plaintiff's complaint).

         When reviewing a complaint on an application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court is guided by the instructions for pleading contained in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 (“A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain [among other things] . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 10 (requiring that claims be set forth in numbered paragraphs, each limited to a single set of circumstances). Further, a claim is frivolous under §1915(e)(2)(B)(i) “if it is ‘without arguable merit either in law or fact.'” Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528, 531 (11th Cir. 2002) (quoting Bilal v. Driver, 251 F.3d 1346, 1349 (11th Cir. 2001)).

         Here, Plaintiff makes no factual allegations in her Complaint, yet she requests $134.65 trillion in damages. Doc. 1 at 4. In addition, although Plaintiff filed an affidavit indicating she makes $11, 000 per year, she provides no other information bearing on her capability of paying the applicable filing fee. Plaintiff's Complaint is frivolous, fails to state a claim, and is not made in accord with basic pleading requirements. Thus, I RECOMMEND the Court DISMISS Plaintiff's Complaint.

         II. Leave to Appeal in Forma Pauperis

         The Court should also deny Plaintiff leave to appeal in forma pauperis. Though Plaintiff has not yet filed a notice of appeal, it is proper to address these issues in the Court's order of dismissal. See Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(3) (trial court may certify that appeal of party proceeding in forma pauperis is not taken in good faith “before or after the notice of appeal is filed”).

         An appeal cannot be taken in forma pauperis if the trial court certifies that the appeal is not taken in good faith. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3); Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(3). Good faith in this context must be judged by an objective standard. Busch v. County of Volusia, 189 F.R.D. 687, 691 (M.D. Fla. 1999). A party does not proceed in good faith when he seeks to advance a frivolous claim or argument. See Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 445 (1962). A claim or argument is frivolous when it appears the factual allegations are clearly baseless or the legal theories are indisputably meritless. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989); Carroll v. Gross, 984 F.2d 392, 393 (11th Cir. 1993). An in forma pauperis action is frivolous and not brought in good faith if it is “without arguable merit either in law or fact.” Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528, 531 (11th Cir. 2002); see also Brown v. United States, Nos. 407CV085, 403CR001, 2009 WL 307872, at *1-2 (S.D. Ga. Feb. 9, 2009).

         Based on the above analysis of Plaintiff's action, there are no non-frivolous issues to raise on appeal, and an appeal would not be taken in good faith. Thus, the Court should DENY Plaintiff in forma pauperis status on appeal.

         CONCLUSION

         For the above-stated reasons, I RECOMMEND the Court DISMISS this action and DIRECT the Clerk of Court to enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal and CLOSE this case. I further RECOMMEND the Court DENY Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal. I DENY Plaintiff in forma pauperis status in this Court.

         The Court ORDERS any party seeking to object to this Report and Recommendation to file specific written objections within 14 days of the date on which this Report and Recommendation is entered. Any objections asserting that the Magistrate Judge failed to address any contention raised in the Complaint must also be included. Failure to do so will bar any later challenge or review of the factual findings or legal conclusions of the Magistrate Judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985).

         Upon receipt of Objections meeting the specificity requirement set out above, a United States District Judge will make a de novo determination of those portions of the report, proposed findings, or recommendation to which objection is made and may accept, reject, or modify in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the Magistrate Judge. Objections not meeting the specificity requirement set out above will not be considered by a District Judge. A party may not appeal a Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation directly to the ...


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