Smith v. United States Department of Navy
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS AND DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IFP: Report and Recommendation 3 is adopted as the finding of this Court. Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis 2 is Denied. Signed by District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr. on 1/5/2018 (wld)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
MICHAEL R. SMITH
CAUSE NO. 1:17CV300-LG-RHW
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF NAVY
Richard V. Spencer, Secretary
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
AND DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IFP
BEFORE THE COURT is the Report and Recommendation  of Magistrate
Judge Walker recommending that Plaintiff Smith’s application to proceed in forma
pauperis in this employment discrimination case be denied. Magistrate Judge
Walker determined that Smith had adequate income with which to pay the filing
fee. Smith has filed an objection, which the Court reviews de novo.
“A grant of leave to proceed in forma pauperis is made by considering only a
petitioner’s economic status.” Cay v. Estelle, 789 F.2d 318, 322 (5th Cir. 1986),
overruled in part by Booker v. Koonce, 2 F.3d 114, 116 (5th Cir. 1993) (citing 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a) and Watson v. Ault, 525 F.2d 886, 891 (5th Cir. 1976)); see also
Eason v. Holt, 73 F.3d 600, 602 (5th Cir. 1993). The district court has wide
discretion in denying an application to proceed IFP, although it can abuse this
discretion if it relies on arbitrary or erroneous grounds. Hunter v.
Rodriguez-Mendoza, 623 F. App’x 266, 266 (5th Cir. 2015).
Smith’s IFP application references monthly income totaling $12,072.83 from
disability, retirement, self-employment, and his spouse’s wages. He lists some cash,
a $195,000 home and three vehicles with a total value of almost $30,000. He and
his wife support their eighteen-year-old daughter. Smith lists $9541.75 in monthly
household expenses, $47,230 in legal expenses associated with this lawsuit, and
Chapter 13 bankruptcy payments totaling $4596. Magistrate Judge Walker
concluded from this information that Smith had adequate funds to pay the filing
Smith objects that the income he has listed is gross; he and his spouse net
$9096 monthly after taxes. He also contends he will soon be in a negative cash flow
situation if his Chapter 13 payment plan is not modified. Nevertheless, the Court
concludes that Smith is not unable to pay filing fees, he is “in the position of having
to weigh the financial constraints posed” by going forward with this case. See Sears,
Roebuck & Co. v. Charles W. Sears Real Est., Inc., 686 F. Supp. 385, 388 (N.D.N.Y.
1988). Accordingly, the Court overrules Smith’s objections to the Magistrate
Judge’s findings and conclusion. The Report and Recommendation will be adopted
as the findings of this Court.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Report and
Recommendation  entered by United States Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker
is ADOPTED as the finding of this Court.
IT IS, FURTHER, ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Motion for
Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis  is DENIED. Plaintiff Smith must pay the
filing fee to the Clerk of Court within thirty (30) days of the date of this Order.
Failure to do so will result in dismissal of the case.
SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED this the 5th day of January, 2018.
Louis Guirola, Jr.
LOUIS GUIROLA, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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