United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
In re JOHN MAYFIELD BRAZIER, III, Debtor.
RONALD G. BROWN, Appellee. JOHN MAYFIELD BRAZIER, III, Appellant,
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA
L. ROBART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is Appellant John Mayfield Brazier, III's
motion to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”). (IFP Mot. (Dkt. # 4).) The court has
considered Mr. Brazier's motion, the relevant portions of
the record, and the applicable law. Being fully advised,
court DENIES Mr. Brazier's IFP motion for the reasons set
BACKGROUND & ANALYSIS
October 13, 2017, Mr. Brazier filed this bankruptcy appeal.
(Letter (Dkt. # 2).) In this Chapter 7 bankruptcy action, Mr.
Brazier appeals the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District
of Washington's order directing the debtor to provide
access to real property and to vacate residence. (Trans. of
Docs. (Dkt. # 1) at 1, 9-13.) Shortly after filing the
appeal, Mr. Brazier also moved to proceed IFP. (IFP Mot.) In
the IFP motion, Mr. Brazier represents that his household has
four members. (Id. at 1, 3 (listing himself, a
spouse, and two children).) He further avers that his average
monthly income during the past 12 months has been $20, 400.00
from employment and $5, 000.00 from self-employment and his
spouse's average monthly income during the same period
has been $42, 000.00. (Id. at 1.) Elsewhere in the
motion, Mr. Brazier states that his gross monthly pay is $8,
700.00 and his spouse's gross monthly pay is $42, 000.00.
(Id. at 2.)
court has the discretion under 28 U.S.C. §
1930(f)(1) to waive the filing fee for a Chapter 7 case
where the debtor has income less than 150 percent of the
income official poverty line applicable to the size of family
involved.” In re Bussey, No. 14-32160, 2014 WL
2765703, at *1 (Bankr. N.D Ohio June 18, 2014); see
also 28 U.S.C. § 1930(f)(1) (“[T]he
district court or the bankruptcy court may waive the filing
fee in a case under [C]hapter 7 of [T]itle 11 for an
individual if the court determines that such individual has
income less than 150 percent of the income official poverty
line . . . applicable to a family of the size involved and is
unable to pay that fee in installments.”); In re
Young, No. 16-60353, 2017 WL 660642, at *1 (Bankr. W.D.
Va. Feb. 14, 2017) (“The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention
and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (‘BAPCPA')
empowered bankruptcy courts to rule on applications to waive
the fees for filing an appeal by a Chapter 7 debtor, whether
or not the debtor qualified for waiver of the case filing
fee.”). The debtor bears the burden of proving by a
preponderance of the evidence that his or her circumstances
satisfy the requirements of the fee waiver provision. In
re Bussey, 2014 WL 2765703, at *1. The federal poverty
line for a family of four in 2017 is an annual household
income of $24, 600.00. See Annual Update of the
HHS Poverty Guidelines (hereinafter, “Annual
Update”), 82 Fed. Reg. 8831-32 (Jan. 31, 2017)
(enumerating the 2017 poverty guidelines by household size).
Brazier does not qualify for waiver of the filing fee.
(See IFP Mot.) Because of the inconsistencies
regarding Mr. Brazier's monthly income, the court assumes
that Mr. Brazier's monthly income is only $8, 700.00-the
lower of the amounts he provides. (Compare IFP Mot.
at 1, with Id. at 2.) Based on this reported monthly
income, Mr. Brazier's annual income alone far surpasses
150% of the federal poverty line for a household of four,
which is $36, 900.00. See Annual Update. Moreover, even
if Mr. Brazier meant to state that his annual income was $20,
400.00 or $8, 700.00 and his spouse's annual income was
$42, 000.00-rather than that these amounts are average
monthly incomes-his household income is still well above the
150% threshold. (See IFP Mot. at 1); Annual
Update. Because Mr. Brazier does not meet the standard
for waiving the filing fee in a Chapter 7 appeal, the court
denies Mr. Brazier's IFP motion. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1930(f)(1) (stating that the court can waive the
filing fee for an appeal in a Chapter 7 case if the appellant
demonstrates an annual household income of 150% or less of
the federal poverty line); In re Bussey, 2014 WL
2765703, at *1 (requiring such a showing by a preponderance
of the evidence).
foregoing reasons, the court DENIES Mr. Brazier's IFP
motion (Dkt. # 4), and Mr. Brazier must pay the applicable
filing fee to proceed with this appeal. Dated this 14th day
of November, 2017.
 Mr. Brazier did not request oral
argument, and the court determines oral argument is
unnecessary to its disposition of the motion. See
Local Rules W.D. Wash. LCR 7(b)(4).
 $24, 600.00 x 1.5 = $36, 900.00.
See Annual ...