January 17, 2014
In re: SONIA ALVAREZ, Debtor.
BANK OF AMERICA, et al., Appellees. SONIA ALVAREZ, Appellant,
ORDER REQUIRING APPELLANT TO COMPLETE AND FILE AN APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
GARY S. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.
Appellant Sonia Alvarez ("Appellant") seeks to pursue a bankruptcy appeal before the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Ninth Circuit ("BAP"), bearing BAP No. EC-13-1450. (Doc. 1).
Appellant requested the BAP for leave to proceed in forma pauperis with respect to this appeal. (Doc. 1, p. 1). The BAP determined that, under the holdings of Perroton v. Gray ( In re Perroton ), 958 F.2d 889 (9th Cir. 1992) and Determan v. Sandoval ( In re Sandoval ), 186 B.R. 490, 496 (9th Cir. BAP 1995), the BAP has no authority to grant in forma pauperis requests under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), because bankruptcy courts are not "court[s] of the United States" as defined in 28 U.S.C. § 451. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-2). The district court, however, has the authority to determine whether a person's financial hardship warrants a waiver of costs. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Therefore, the BAP transferred appellant's request to proceed in forma pauperis to this Court for a ruling thereon. (Doc. 1, p. 2).
The BAP referred the instant matter to this Court because a bankruptcy court is not a "court of the United States" within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), and thus lacks authority to grant in forma pauperis motions. See In re Perroton, 958 F.2d 889 (9th Cir. 1992).
Title 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) provides, in substance and in pertinent part, that any court of the United States may authorize the commencement and prosecution of any action or appeal therein without prepayment of fees or security therefor, by a person who submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets the person possesses and indicates that the person is unable to pay such fees.
Appellant had completed a statement of financial hardship and a Debtor's Application for Waiver of the Chapter 7 Filing Fee or Other Fee in September 2013. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-10). However, Appellant has not provided this Court with an updated application to proceed in forma pauperis, in order for the Court to assess her ability to pay for the costs related to the instant appeal. The Clerk of the Court shall therefore provide Appellant with a new application to proceed in forma pauperis. Appellant shall complete the application to proceed in forma pauperis and shall file the application with this Court on or before January 29, 2014. The Court will determine whether Appellant's request to proceed in forma pauperis should be granted after Appellant submits this application.
The Clerk of this Court is DIRECTED to serve Appellant Sonia Alvarez with a copy of this order and an application to proceed in forma pauperis for a person out of custody.
Appellant Sonia Alvarez is DIRECTED to complete, and file with this Court, the application to proceed in forma pauperis, no later than Wednesday, January 29, 2014.
IT IS SO ORDERED.