Mayfield et al v. Harvey County Sheriff's Department et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER granting 3 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. Signed by Magistrate Judge Kenneth G. Gale on 10/6/14. Mailed to pro se Plaintiffs Kent & Tonya Mayfield by regular mail. (df)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS
KENT MAYFIELD and
HARVEY COUNTY SHERIFF’S
DEPARTMENT, et al.,
Case No. 14-1307-JTM-KGG
MEMORANDUM & ORDER ON
MOTION TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF FEES
In conjunction with their federal court Complaint alleging violations of their
Constitutional rights, Plaintiffs Kent Mayfield and Tonya Mayfield have filed a
Motion to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees (IFP Application, Doc. 3, sealed),
with an accompanying Affidavit of Financial Status (Doc. 3-1, sealed). Having
reviewed Plaintiffs’ motion, as well as their Complaint (Doc. 1), the Court is
prepared to rule.
Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), a federal court may authorize commencement of
an action without prepayment of fees, costs, etc., by a person who lacks financial
means. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). In so doing, the court considers the affidavit of
financial status included with the application. See id.
There is a liberal policy toward permitting proceedings in forma pauperis
when necessary to ensure that the courts are available to all citizens, not just those
who can afford to pay. See generally, Yellen v. Cooper, 828 F.2d 1471 (10th Cir.
1987). In construing the application and affidavit, courts generally seek to
compare an applicant’s monthly expenses to monthly income. See Patillo v. N.
Am. Van Lines, Inc., No. 02-2162, 2002 WL 1162684, at *1 (D.Kan. Apr. 15,
2002); Webb v. Cessna Aircraft, No. 00-2229, 2000 WL 1025575, at *1 (D.Kan.
July 17, 2000) (denying motion because “Plaintiff is employed, with monthly
income exceeding her monthly expenses by approximately $600.00”).
In their supporting financial affidavit, Plaintiffs, who are a married couple,
indicate they are 45 and 42 years old, respectively. (Doc. 3-1, at 1.) They list two
minor children for whom they provide financial support. (Id., at 2.) Neither of the
Plaintiffs are employed, although Mr. Mayfield was previously employed as a
night shift assembler, receiving a modest monthly wage. (Id., at 3.) They list no
government benefits other than “food assistance.” (Id., at 4-5.)
Plaintiffs own a modest piece of real property as well as two modest
automobiles outright. (Id., at 3-4.) They indicate a small amount of cash on hand.
(Id., at 4.) Plaintiffs pay a modest amount in monthly rent and enumerate
reasonable monthly expenses, including utilities, gas, and telephone. (Id., at 5.)
They have not filed for bankruptcy, but are in default on student loans. (Id., at 56.)
Considering all of the information contained in the financial affidavit,
Plaintiffs have reasonable monthly expenses and financial obligations with no
monthly income and two minor dependents. The Court finds Plaintiffs have
established that they are entitled to file this action without payment of fees and
costs. The Court GRANTS Plaintiffs leave to proceed in forma pauperis and
directs that this case be filed without payment of a filing fee.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Proceed
Without Prepayment of Fees (Doc. 3, sealed) is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk’s office shall proceed to issue
summons in this case.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated at Wichita, Kansas, on this 6th day of October, 2014.
S/ KENNETH G. GALE
KENNETH G. GALE
United States Magistrate Judge
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