Evans v. United Services Automobile Association
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER granting 3 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. Signed by Magistrate Judge Kenneth G. Gale on 10/13/17. Mailed to pro se party Earnestine Evans by regular mail. (df)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS
UNITED STATES AUTOMOBILE )
Case No. 17-1250-EFM-KGG
ORDER ON MOTION TO PROCEED
WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF FEES
In conjunction with her federal court Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff
Earnestine Evans has also filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
(Doc. 3, sealed) with an accompanying financial affidavit (Doc. 4, sealed). After
review of Plaintiff’s motion, as well as her Complaint, the Court GRANTS her
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). “Proceeding in forma pauperis in a civil case ‘is a
privilege, not a right – fundamental or otherwise.’” Barnett v. Northwest School,
No. 00-2499, 2000 WL 1909625, at *1 (D. Kan. Dec. 26, 2000) (quoting White v.
Colorado, 157 F.3d 1226, 1233 (10th Cir. 1998)). The decision to grant or deny in
forma pauperis status lies within the sound discretion of the court. Cabrera v.
Horgas, No. 98-4231, 1999 WL 241783, at *1 (10th Cir. Apr. 23, 1999).
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 her supporting financial affidavit, Plaintiff indicates she is 60 years old
and separated with no dependants. (Doc. 4, sealed, at 1-2.) She lists no current or
prior employment. (Id., at 2-3.) She and her estranged spouse own no real
property and she does not own an automobile. (Id., at 3, 4.)
Plaintiff lists no cash on hand but receives a modest amount of monthly
government benefits. (Id., at 4.) She lists groceries as her only monthly expense.
(Id., at 5.) She previously filed for bankruptcy. (Id. at 6.)
Considering all of the information contained in her financial affidavit, the
Court finds that Plaintiff, whose only income is government assistance, has
established that her access to the Court would be significantly limited absent the
ability to file this action without payment of fees and costs. The Court thus
GRANTS Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 3, sealed.)
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion to proceed IFP
(Doc. 3, sealed) is GRANTED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated at Wichita, Kansas, on this 13th day of October, 2017.
S/ KENNETH G. GALE
KENNETH G. GALE
United States Magistrate Judge
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