United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
MICHELLE L. PETERSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's corrected
application to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”) in the above-entitled action. (Dkt. # 5.)
As discussed below, Plaintiff's IFP application fails to
adequately describe his income and expenses, and the Court
has concerns over the veracity of the application. The
undersigned therefore recommends Plaintiff's IFP
application be DENIED.
recently filed IFP applications in two other similar matters:
Ma v. Univ. of S. Cal., Case No. C18-1778-JCC (W.D.
Wash. 2018) (Dkt. # 4) (hereinafter “December 2018
IFP”) and Ma v. Dept. of Education, et al.,
Case No. C19-399-JCC (W.D. Wash 2019), (Dkt. # 1)
(hereinafter “March 2019 IFP”). With regard to
Plaintiff's March 2019 IFP, the Honorable Mary Alice
Theiler, United States Magistrate Judge, submitted a Report
and Recommendation recommending Plaintiff's IFP be
denied. Ma, Case No. C19-399-JCC, (Dkt. # 13). In
the Report and Recommendation, Judge Theiler found
Plaintiff's application raised a concern that the Court
lacked complete information regarding his financial status.
(Id.) Specifically, Plaintiff omitted information
regarding the fact his parents “pay for his HOA dues,
” which he previously reported in his December 2018
IFP. Ma, Case No. C18-1778-JCC, (Dkt. # 4). Further,
Judge Theiler found that in providing an explanation for the
discrepancy between his expenses and income, Plaintiff
provided information suggesting he had access to nondisclosed
financial resources, such as the fact he can pay an
accountant, pays $427.00 per month in car payments, and has a
car loan with a balance of $28, 355.36. Ma, Case No.
C19-399-JCC, (Dkt. # 13).
counsel for Defendant University of Southern California
submitted a declaration in opposition to Plaintiff's IFP
application which described and attached documentation
regarding Plaintiff's multiple international and domestic
flights, his ability to pay for numerous mailings and
subpoenas, and the estimated value of his condominium.
Id., (Dkt. # 9.) Based on Plaintiff's
submissions and defense counsel's declaration, Judge
Theiler concluded that Plaintiff failed to provide complete
information regarding his financial status and withheld
information regarding resources that would enable him to pay
the filing fee. Id., (Dkt. # 13.)
Order adopting Judge Theiler's Report and Recommendation,
the Court concluded Plaintiff's IFP application failed to
allege poverty with sufficient particularity, definiteness,
and certainty. Ma, Case No. C19-399-JCC, (Dkt. #
37). The Court also found Plaintiff both omitted and provided
inconsistent information regarding his financial status.
(Id.) In addition to the concerns raised in the
Report and Recommendation, the Court noted that in
Plaintiff's December 2018 IFP, Plaintiff reported he
receives food stamps and was enrolled in a Washington State
Medicaid program, but Plaintiff omitted this information in
his March 2019 IFP. Ma, Case No. C19-399-JCC, (Dkt.
## 1, 37). Plaintiff also indicated in subsequent filings
that he receives Social Security benefits which he did not
disclose on either his December 2018 IFP or March 2019 IFP.
(Id.) The Court concluded that the information
indicating Plaintiff is not impoverished, coupled with his
incomplete and inconsistent answers on his IFP application,
showed Plaintiff's March 2019 IFP should be denied.
instant matter before this Court, Plaintiff's IFP
application indicates that for the past twelve months, the
only income he has received is $200.00 and that he currently
has only $20.00 in cash. (Dkt. # 5 at 1-2.) Plaintiff also
indicates that he does not have any interest in property,
including real estate and automobiles, and indicates that his
checking account balance is currently “$-888,
888.88.” (Id. at 2.) In the section designated
for a description of monthly expenses, Plaintiff states
“[s]ee attached for a very detailed explanation[,
]” however, no explanation is attached. (Id.)
to Plaintiff's previous case, counsel for Defendant
University of Southern California submitted a declaration
opposing Plaintiff's IFP motion. (Dkt. # 6.) The
declaration describes and provides attachments regarding,
inter alia, Plaintiff's ownership of a vehicle,
a checking account with funds to make a payment of $3,
926.17, a computer, cell phones, an xbox, a smart watch, and
a camera. (Id.) In response, Plaintiff filed a
motion to strike defense counsel's declaration. (Dkt. #
8.) In his motion to strike, Plaintiff disputes owning a
vehicle, owning property, and traveling internationally.
IFP application failed to adequately describe his monthly
expenses. Based on Plaintiff's previous IFP applications,
it also appears he has withheld and omitted information
indicating he has the ability to pay the filing fee. The
Court therefore recommends Plaintiff's motion to proceed
IFP (dkt. # 5) be DENIED. This action should proceed only if
Plaintiff pays the $400.00 filing fee within thirty
(30) days after the entry of the Court's Order
adopting this Report and Recommendation. If no filing fee is
paid within thirty days of the Court's Order, the Clerk
should close the file. The undersigned also recommends that
Plaintiff's motion to strike (dkt. # 8) be DENIED.
to this Report and Recommendation, if any, should be filed
with the Clerk and served upon all parties to this suit by no
later than fourteen (14) days after the
filing of this Report and Recommendation. Objections, and any
response, shall not exceed nine pages. Failure to file
objections within the specified time may affect your right to
appeal. Objections should be noted for consideration on the
District Judge's motion calendar fourteen
(14) days after they are served and filed. Responses
to objections, if any, shall ...