Filing 6

Memorandum & Order Denying 1 Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis without prejudice. The Clerk shall administratively terminate this case. If Plaintiff wishes to re-open this case, they shall submit an updated application to proceed in forma pauperis addressing the Court's questions, or pay the filing fee within 14 days of the date of entry of this Order. Signed by Chief Judge Renee Marie Bumb on 3/26/2024. (sms2)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY CAMDEN VICINAGE RENEE CHRUSTOWSKI, Plaintiff, Case No. 23-cv-22010 (RMB/EAP) v. ARCHER & GREINER, et al., Defendants. RENEE CHRUSTOWSKI, Plaintiff, Case No. 23-cv-21194 (RMB/SAK) v. MELANIE HAMLIN BROWN, et al., Defendants. RENEE CHRUSTOWSKI, Plaintiff, Case No. 23-cv-21195 (RMB/SAK) v. J.P. MORGAN CHASE, et al., Defendants. MEMORANDUM & ORDER These matters are before the Court upon applications to proceed without prepaying fees or costs (i.e., in forma pauperis (“IFP”)) by pro se Plaintiff Renee Chrustowski (“Plaintiff”). As Plaintiff knows from her many lawsuits commenced in this Court, 1 to proceed without prepaying fees or costs, an applicant must submit an affidavit that includes a complete list of her assets, among other financial details, and establishes that she is unable to pay the filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a); Deutsch v. United States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1084 n.5 (3d Cir. 1995) (“In this circuit, leave to proceed [IFP] is based on a showing of indigence.”); see also Roy v. Penn. Nat’l Ins. Co., 2014 WL 4104979, at *1 (D.N.J. Aug. 19, 2014). A litigant is not entitled to proceed without paying; she must prove her entitlement to do so. In re Lassina, 261 B.R. 614, 618 (Bankr. E.D. Pa. 2001). A court’s decision to grant or deny an IFP application is within its sound discretion, see Cotto v. Tennis, 369 F. App’x 321, 322 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing Jones v. Zimmerman, 752 F.2d 76, 78 (3d Cir. 1985)), and based solely on the economic eligibility of the applicant, Sinwell v. Shapp, 536 F.2d 15, 19 (3d Cir. 1976). A court does not abuse its discretion in denying an IFP application when the applicant’s financial affidavit shows that her monthly income is significantly higher that her monthly expenses. See Bullock v. Suomela, 710 F.2d 102, 103 (3d Cir. 1983); Walker v. People Express Airlines, Inc., 886 F.2d 598, 601 (3d Cir. 1989). Similarly, a court may deny an applicant’s request to proceed without paying fees and costs where an applicant submits multiple IFP applications that are inconsistent with one another. 1 In addition to the above-captioned cases, see also Chrustowski v. Cumberland Cnty. Guidance Ctr., Case No. 23-cv-3112-RMB-SAK; Chrustowski v. Cumberland Cnty. Guidance Ctr., Case No. 23-cv-3113-RMB-SAK; Chrustowski v. NAACP, Case No. 23cv-3692-RMB-SAK; and Chrustowski v. Carney’s Point Twp., Case No. 23-cv-4251RMB-SAK. Except for the latter case, Plaintiff filed IFP applications in each. 2 See Smart v. Gloucester Twp. Mun. Corp., 229 F. App’x 87, 89 (3d Cir. 2007) (affirming decision to revoke a plaintiff’s in forma pauperis status and dismiss the plaintiff’s numerous cases where he had submitted inconsistent IFP applications and failed to prove his inability to pay filing fee). These propositions should be familiar to Plaintiff. 2 Here, Plaintiff submits three more IFP applications. After reviewing Plaintiff’s first IFP application in Case No. 23-cv-22010 [Docket No. 1-1 (dated Nov. 1, 2023)], the Court directed Plaintiff to file an explanation concerning her answers to paragraphs 9 and 11. [Order, Docket 3 (filed Nov. 9, 2023).] Plaintiff had indicated, without more, that she was on a “30-day removal without pay” from her job. [Docket No. 11, at ¶¶ 9, 11.] On November 27, 2023, Plaintiff filed a second IFP application. [Docket No. 5.] The application merely reiterates that she is “on a 30-day removal without pay.” [Id. at ¶¶ 9, 11.] It contains no further explanation. [See generally id.] Plaintiff’s IFP applications in the other above-captioned cases are materially identical to her first application in Case No. 23-cv-22010. [Compare Case No. 23-cv-21194, Docket No. 1-1 (dated Oct. 10, 2023), and Case No. 23-cv-21195, Docket No. 1-2 (dated Oct. 9, 2023), with Case No. 23-cv-22010, Docket No. 1-1 (dated Nov. 1, 2023).] 2 The Court thrice denied Plaintiff’s request to proceed without payment of fees and costs in Case No. 23-cv-3112, observing on August 15, 2023, that Plaintiff’s average monthly income, compared to her expenses, was sufficient to require Plaintiff to pay the filing fee. [Order at 2, Docket No. 11.] Moreover, the Court noted that Plaintiff’s applications contained inconsistencies regarding her savings, expected income, and the value of Plaintiff’s automobile, among other things. [See generally Orders, Docket Nos. 5, 9, & 11.] On appeal of the Court’s Order denying Plaintiff’s third application to proceed in forma pauperis, [Docket No. 11], the Third Circuit affirmed on both rationales. [See U.S. Court of Appeals Order, Docket No. 18 (filed Dec. 12, 2023).] 3 Separately, Plaintiff has filed additional IFP applications in her other litigations before this Court, including in actions where she already paid the filing fee. [See, e.g., Case No. 23-cv-3692, Docket No. 13 (dated Dec. 14, 2023).] This application—which appears to be her most recent—fails to explain what Plaintiff means by her claim that she is “on a 30-day removal without pay.” [Id. ¶ 9.] As a result, the Court cannot determine whether Plaintiff returned to work after her application was submitted and whether she currently receives an income. Without sufficient and accurate information concerning Plaintiff’s employment status and source of income, the Court does not have the complete picture necessary to determine whether to permit Plaintiff to proceed without paying fees and costs, to require partial payment of the filing fee, or to deny her request altogether. See Bullock, 710 F.2d at 103 (“What may be required by the district court in the exercise of its discretion is a payment which is fair in the light of the actual financial situation of the particular pro se litigant.”). Accordingly, IT IS, on this 26th day of March 2024, hereby: 1. ORDERED that Plaintiff’s second IFP application in Case No. 23-cv- 22010 [Docket No. 5] and Plaintiff’s IFP applications in Case Nos. 23-cv-21194 [Docket No. 1-1] and 23-cv-21195 [Docket No. 1-2] are DENIED, without prejudice; and it is further 2. ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court shall not file Plaintiff’s Complaints, but rather shall CLOSE Case Nos. 23-cv-22010, 23-cv-21194, and 23-cv21195; and it is further 4 3. ORDERED that Plaintiff may move to reopen these cases by (a) submitting an updated application to proceed without prepayment of fees and costs that sufficiently addresses the Court’s questions regarding the status of her employment and source of income and adequately explains the previously identified inconsistencies in her other applications to this Court, which shall require further action from the Court, or (b) paying the filing fee as to each case within fourteen (14) days of the date hereof, which shall reopen these cases without further action from the Court; and it is finally 4. ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court shall MAIL a copy of this Memorandum and Order to Plaintiff’s address via regular mail and shall NOTE on the docket of each of the above-captioned cases the date upon which it is mailed accordingly. s/Renée Marie Bumb RENÉE MARIE BUMB Chief United States District Judge 5

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