United States District Court, S.D. California
CHARLES R. JORDAN and FRANCES JORDAN, Plaintiffs,
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR; POSTMASTER GENERAL, UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, and DOES 1-10, Defendants.
ORDER (1) DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE PLAINTIFFS'
MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS, AND (2) DISMISSING
WITHOUT PREJUDICE COMPLAINT FOR FAILING TO PAY FILING FEE
(ECF NO. 2)
Janis L. Sammartino, Judge
before the Court is Plaintiffs Charles R. Jordan and Frances
Jordan's Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
(“IFP”) (“Mot., ” ECF No. 2). On
August 2, 2019, Plaintiffs, proceeding pro se, filed
a Complaint alleging fraud, disability discrimination,
retaliation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress
against Defendants United States Department of Labor and the
Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service.
See generally ECF No. 1 (“Compl.”).
parties instituting any civil action, suit, or proceeding in
a district court of the United States, except an application
for a writ of habeas corpus, must pay filing and
administration fees totaling $400. 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a).
A court may, however, in its discretion, allow a plaintiff to
proceed without paying these fees if the plaintiff seeks
leave to proceed IFP by submitting an affidavit stating the
fees impose financial hardship. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a); Escobeda v. Applebees, 787 F.3d 1226, 1234
(2015). Although the statute does not specify the
qualifications for proceeding IFP, the plaintiff's
affidavit must allege poverty with some particularity.
Escobeda, 787 F.3d at 1234. Granting a plaintiff
leave to proceed IFP may be proper, for example, when the
affidavit demonstrates that paying court costs will result in
a plaintiff's inability to afford the “necessities
of life.” Id. The affidavit, however, need not
demonstrate that the plaintiff is destitute. Id.
Escobeda, for example, the filing fees constituted
forty percent of the plaintiff's monthly income before
factoring in her expenses. Id. at 1235. Taking into
account the Plaintiff's rent and debt payments, the
filing fee would have required the entirety of
two-months' worth of her remaining funds, meaning that
the plaintiff “would have to forgo eating during those
sixty days, to save up to pay the filing fee.”
Id. Under those circumstances, the Ninth Circuit
determined that paying the filing fee would constitute a
significant financial hardship to the plaintiff. Id.
Accordingly, the court reversed the magistrate judge's
ruling denying the plaintiff IFP status. Id. at
although mindful of the Ninth Circuit's admonition that
the requisite filing fee “is a lot of money to many
millions of Americans, ” see Id. at 1235, the
Court ultimately concludes that Plaintiffs have not met their
burden of demonstrating that payment of the filing fee would
constitute an undue financial hardship. In Plaintiffs'
affidavit, they indicate their combined gross monthly income
is $4, 890. Mot. at 2. Accordingly, the $400 filing fee
constitutes about eight percent of their monthly income.
Plaintiffs' monthly expenses-including their housing,
utilities, food, clothing, transportation, and
insurance-total $4360.46. Id. at 4-5.
Plaintiffs' monthly income therefore exceeds their
monthly expenses by over $500. Further, review of
Plaintiffs' expenses appears to show that some of their
monthly expenditures are discretionary. For example,
Plaintiffs budget $470 per month for clothing. Id.
at 4. Plaintiffs therefore not only have a monthly surplus /
/ / exceeding the cost of filing, but they also have monthly
discretionary spending that exceeds the filing fee.
also own considerable assets, including a home worth $440,
000 and two cars worth approximately $18, 000. Id.
at 3. They also have $2, 200 in their checking accounts.
Id. at 2. Plaintiffs do not indicate why they are
unable to use these funds to pay the filing fee. Because
Plaintiffs appear to have sufficient income to afford
life's necessities in addition to the filing fee, the
Court DENIES WITHOUT PREJUDICE
cause appearing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
Plaintiffs' Motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)
(ECF No. 2) is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE;
Plaintiffs Complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE for failure to prepay the filing fee
mandated by 28 U.S.C. §1914(a); and
Plaintiff is GRANTED an additional
thirty (30) days from the date this Order is
electronically docketed to either (1) pay the entire $400
statutory and administrative filing fee, or (2) file a new
IFP Motion alleging they are unable to pay the requisite