United States District Court, D. Idaho
JASON L. RICKS, Plaintiff,
WEST ADA SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
HONORABLE EDWARD J. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court in the above entitled matter are the Plaintiff
Jason L. Ricks' Application to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis and Complaint. The Court finds that the facts
and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs
and record. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further
delay, and because the Court conclusively finds that the
decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral
argument, this matter is decided on the record.
In Forma Pauperis Standard of Review
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 a filing fee of
$400.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). An action may proceed
despite a plaintiff's failure to prepay the entire fee
only if the plaintiff is granted leave to proceed in
forma pauperis (“IFP”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a). See Rodriguez v. Cook, 169 F.3d
1176, 1177 (9th Cir. 2009); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1)
(“any court of the United States may authorize the
commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit, action or
proceeding, civil or criminal, ... without prepayment of fees
or security therefor.”).
order to qualify for IFP status under § 1915, the
plaintiff must submit an Application and Affidavit showing he
or she lacks sufficient funds to pay the filing fee and that
the suit is not frivolous or malicious. Escobedo v.
Applebees, 787 F.3d 1226, 1234 (9th Cir. 2015). An
affidavit is sufficient where it states that the plaintiff
“cannot because of his [or her] poverty pay or give
security for the costs and still be able to provide himself
and dependents with the necessities of life.”
Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S.
331, 339 (1948). A plaintiff need not demonstrate they are
absolutely destitute in order to meet the requirements of the
statute. Escobedo, 787 F.3d at 1234; see also
Adkins, 335 U.S. at 339 (Litigants are not required to
contribute their “last dollar” or “make
themselves and their dependents wholly destitute.”).
Nonetheless, the affidavit must “state the facts as to
affiant's poverty with some particularity, definiteness
and certainty.” United States v. McQuade, 647
F.2d 938, 940 (9th Cir. 1981); see also Escobedo,
supra. Motions to proceed in forma pauperis
under § 1915 are left to the sound discretion of the
trial court and are granted only in exceptional circumstances
where the movant has made the requisite showing. Id.
Ricks' IFP Application includes an affirmation stating he
is unable to pay the costs of these proceedings. (Dkt. 1.)
The Application sets forth Mr. Ricks' expected monthly
income ($2, 459.00), expenses ($2, 182.00), and assets (home
($120, 000), bank accounts ($2, 000.00), and a vehicle). Mr.
Ricks has three minor children for whom he pays $544.00 in
child support each month. Having considered the Application
and supporting materials filed in this matter, the Court
finds that Mr. Ricks does not qualify for IFP status in this
determining what level of income constitutes poverty for
purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), the Court considered
the poverty guidelines set by the United States Department of
Health and Human Services as one measure. See 83
Fed. Reg. 2642, 2643 (Jan. 18, 2018). Those guidelines set the
2018 poverty level for a single household at $12, 140
annually and for a household of four at $25, 100
annually. Mr. Ricks' annual income as reflected
on the IFP Application is approximately $29, 508.00 which
places Mr. Ricks above the guidelines' poverty level. The
Court has also considered Mr. Ricks' monthly expenses as
reflected on the Application. (Dkt. 1.) Having done so, the
Court finds the balance of Mr. Ricks' expected monthly
income, expenses, and assets put him above the poverty
requirement needed to qualify for IFP status. Mr. Ricks is
employed, owns a home, a vehicle, and has a modest amount of
money in his bank accounts. Taking all of these
considerations into account, Court finds Mr. Ricks does not
qualify for IFP status because he is able to pay the filing
fee in this case.
these reasons, the IFP Application is denied. Mr. Ricks is
directed to pay the initial filing fee of $400.00 on or
before September 14, 2018. The Court expressly notifies Mr.
Ricks that failure to timely pay the filing fee as directed
herein may result in dismissal of this case without further
notice. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b).
THEREFORE IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Application for Leave
to Proceed in forma Pauperis (Dkt. 1) is
DENIED. Plaintiff is ORDERED TO
PAY the statutory filing fee of
$400.00 for this action on or
before September 14, 2018. Failure
to pay ...