United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
INGE T. ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
SCOTT ALAN ANDERSON, Defendant.
S. Lasnik United States District Judge.
November 4, 2019, the Court issued its decision regarding
plaintiffs equitable claim for specific performance. Dkt. #
166. A jury had previously considered plaintiffs claim that
defendant breached his support obligations under the Form
1-864 Affidavit of Support from June 2011 to the time of
trial, finding that plaintiff was owed $2, 868 for 2016 and
$7, 286 for 2019.In ruling on the specific performance
claim, the Court found that defendant is under a continuing
contractual obligation to ensure that plaintiffs income does
not drop below the federal poverty guideline, that the annual
amount specified in the federal poverty guidelines should be
prorated to allow for payments on a monthly basis, and that
the exact amount owed during any given month depends on
whether plaintiff received any income from other sources
during that month. In an effort to ensure that plaintiff gets
the amounts to which she is entitled and that defendant pays
only what is contractually required, the Court ordered
plaintiff to provide declarations signed under penalty of
perjury stating the amounts and sources of all income she
receives so that judgment could be entered for amounts past
due and defendant would know how much to pay going forward.
Defendant, for his part, was ordered to file a statement
indicating the address at which he would like to receive
communications from plaintiff.
party has complied with the Court's order. Despite being
advised of the language to be included in the required
declarations (Dkt. # 166 at 4 n.6) and being cognizant of the
need to submit the income information under penalty of
perjury (Dkt. # 170 at ¶¶ 55, 67, 76, and 78),
plaintiffs November 19, 2019, declaration was notarized
rather than subscribed by her as true under penalty of
perjury. Defendant failed to file his preferred contact
information. On January 2, 2020, plaintiff filed a second
declaration regarding her income that was also lacking the
necessary language under the Court's order and 28 U.S.C.
§ 1746. Dkt. # 183.
Court has declined to enter judgment in this matter based on
plaintiffs statements, but judgment is necessary so that this
case can proceed on appeal. A review of the record suggests
that defendant's prior attempt to pay the amounts the
jury found were due was unsuccessful (Dkt. # 170-4), that
plaintiff "had a 'paid' gig" following
trial that may or may not have generated "a little"
income for her (Dkt. # 170 at ¶¶ 50-53), and that
plaintiff purports to be confused regarding what constitutes
income for purposes of her reporting requirement (Dkt. # 170
at ¶¶ 45, 47, 61-83). As discussed in the jury
instructions, income to plaintiff includes not only wages and
cash payments she receives from any source, but also
property, services, gifts, or educational grants received
(unless she paid fair market value for those items). Income
also includes constructively-received income, such as
payments to third-parties on plaintiffs behalf that plaintiff
would otherwise have had to pay directly. Income does not
include any loans that plaintiff will have to pay back, such
as cash advances on a credit card or student loans. Using
this definition, the jury flatly rejected plaintiffs
testimony and argument that she had no income from 2011
onward: the jury found that plaintiff had income in every
year, and that her income exceeded the federal poverty
guidelines in all but two years. Dkt. # 153 at 2. Its verdict
was accordingly limited to an award of $2, 868 for 2016 and
$7, 286 for 2019.
reviewed plaintiffs declarations, the Court hereby clarifies
its definition of "income" to make plaintiffs
reporting requirements less onerous. The Court expressly
excludes from the definition of "income" (a)
products, gifts, or services with a fair market value of less
than $25 (such as a free lunch or a "buy nothing"
sweater), (b) the value of any income-based discounts
plaintiff receives (such as reductions in utility charges or
tuition based on a showing of financial need), and (c)
payments, property, and/or gifts which plaintiff returned to
the sender. Even with these exclusions, plaintiff must resign
herself to the reality that the 1-864 Affidavit affords her
very little in the way of financial security. The contract
requires only that defendant provide support if plaintiff s
income dips below the federal poverty guideline: it does not,
as plaintiff would have it, require that he ensure that she
is ineligible for all forms of public assistance.
order to determine plaintiffs income since the date the jury
entered its verdict, the Court requires a statement, under
penalty of perjury, that reflects plaintiffs good faith
effort to identify her income, as defined above, between July
16, 2019, and the date of the statement. Plaintiff shall
complete the form attached at Exhibit A and
file it with the Court within seven days of the date of this
Order. Defendant shall file a statement indicating the
address at which he would like to receive communications from
plaintiff within seven days of the date of this Order.
other provisions of the Court's November 4, 2019, order
remain unchanged except that plaintiffs monthly statements
shall be provided to defendant in substantially the form of
OF INGE T. ANDERSON
to the Court's orders in the above-captioned matter dated
November 4, 2019, and January 6, 2020, I, Inge T. Anderson,
declare as follows:
make this declaration based on my personal knowledge, in good
faith, and to the best of my abilities.
Between July 16, 2019, and the date of this declaration, I
have received the following forms and amounts of income from
defendant and/or third parties:
a. Wages, Salary, Benefits or Other Compensation for ...