Dickinson v. OneWest Bank, FSB et al
ORDER re 3 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis filed by Valerie Agalia Dickinson. As set forth in the attached Order, Plaintiff shall submit a sworn, supplemental Financial Affidavit in Support of Application to Proceed In Forma Paupe ris Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, responding to each of the requests for information to the best of her ability. Plaintiff shall submit this supplemental affidavit within 20 days of the date of this Order. Failure to comply with this Order or to obtain an extension of time will result in a recommended denial of Plaintiffs in forma pauperis application. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge William I. Garfinkel on 5/14/2013.(Smith, M.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
VALERIE AGALIA DICKINSON
ONE WEST BANK FSB,
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
Plaintiff, Valerie Agalia Dickinson, has filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Attached to her motion is the form “Financial Affidavit
in Support of Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.” In
response to virtually every question, Plaintiff has responded “N/A,” meaning “not applicable.”
For example, she has responded “not applicable” to whether she is employed and “not
applicable” to whether she is unemployed. Contrary to Plaintiff’s supposition that this
information is “not applicable,” it is quite applicable to the Court’s determination of whether
Plaintiff should be allowed to proceed with her lawsuit without the payment of the filing fee
normally required of civil litigants under 28 U.S.C. § 1914. Plaintiff has also failed to provide
any information as to her income, assets, and monthly obligations, all of which she has marked
“N/A,” but which are critical to this Court’s decision on her motion.
Proceeding in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 is a privilege - not a right. It
is a privilege extended to those individuals unable to pay a filing fee when their civil action is not
frivolous or malicious. Holmes v. Hardy, 852 F.2d 151, 153 (5th Cir.) (“There is no absolute
right to proceed in court without paying a filing fee in civil matters.”), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 931
(1988). The purpose of in forma pauperis status under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 is to insure that litigants
will not be deprived of access to the courts because of their financial circumstances. Monti v.
McKeon, 600 F. Supp. 112, 114 (D. Conn. 1984), aff’d, 788 F.2d 1 (2d Cir. 1985)(Table).
Applications to proceed in forma pauperis trigger a two-step process of review by the
district court. First, the Court must determine whether the litigant qualifies by economic status
and, second, whether the cause of action asserted in the complaint is frivolous, malicious or
without merit. Bey v. Syracuse University, 155 F.R.D. 413 (N.D.N.Y. 1994).
With respect to the first step, the Court makes this evaluation based upon an affidavit
submitted by the litigant, including a “statement as to all assets,” and attesting to the fact that he
or she is unable to pay the required court fee or give security therefor. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(1); see Vann v. Comm’r of N.Y. City Dep’t of Corr., 496 Fed. Appx. 113, 116 (2d Cir.
2012) (holding that a plaintiff seeking in forma pauperis status is required to accurately and
truthfully state his financial history and assets). If the Court finds that the plaintiff’s affidavit is
insufficient to provide an adequate basis for an in forma pauperis determination, the Court
should direct the plaintiff to file a supplemental affidavit providing information as to his or her
assets and liabilities. See Martinez v. Kristi Kleaners, Inc., 364 F.3d 1305, 1308 (11th Cir.
2004); see also Monti, 600 F. Supp. at 113 (holding that, although typically the court accepts at
face value the sworn allegations concerning the applicant’s financial status, the court may inquire
into such allegations and may demand more specific information, if necessary for a proper
assessment of the applicant’s financial status).
Because Plaintiff has failed to submit an affidavit setting forth her income, assets, and
liabilities, as required by the form provided by the Court, the Court is unable to determine
whether Plaintiff satisfies the economic eligibility requirements for in forma pauperis status.
Accordingly, the Court orders Plaintiff to submit a sworn, supplemental “Financial Affidavit in
Support of Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915,” responding
to each of the requests for information to the best of her ability. Plaintiff shall submit this
supplemental affidavit within 20 days of the date of this Order. Failure to comply with this Order
or to obtain an extension of time will result in a recommended denial of Plaintiff’s in forma
SO ORDERED, this
14th day of May, 2013, at Bridgeport, Connecticut.
/s/ William I. Garfinkel
WILLIAM I. GARFINKEL
United States Magistrate Judge
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