United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
case comes before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b) and the Rules of this Court for consideration
of Plaintiff's Motion and Application To Proceed In
Forma Pauperis [Doc. 1], which has been filed in the
above case on October 25, 2019. The undersigned files this
Report and Recommendation for the District Judge to whom this
case is assigned. For the reasons more fully stated below,
the Court finds that the Plaintiff should be allowed to file
his Complaint without prepayment of costs, but the Court
RECOMMENDS that the Complaint be
DISMISSED for jurisdictional deficiencies
and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
FILINGS AND ALLEGATIONS
Plaintiff has filed an application to proceed in forma
pauperis, with the required detailing of his financial
condition. The application demonstrates that the Plaintiff
has little income and few assets.
Complaint, filed on October 25, 2019, is difficult to
understand. Taken as a whole, however, it appears that the
Plaintiff broadly alleges that a group of persons residing in
and around Rutledge, Tennessee, somehow aided by former
Tennessee Governor Haslam, entered into a conspiracy to
murder the Plaintiff. The motivation for why the Defendants
would conspire to murder the Plaintiff are unclear, at best.
The Plaintiff alleges that there is a secret, criminal
organization called the Southern Pagan Clan, and that he is a
“reporter” against it's activities. Plaintiff
seeks a total of approximately one million dollars in
compensatory damages, plus punitive damages against each
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Congress has
conferred upon this Court, and other federal courts, the
jurisdiction to hear only two types of civil cases: those
arising under the United States Constitution and the laws and
treaties of the United States, see 28 U.S.C. §
1331, and those cases in which the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000.00 and the parties are diverse, see
28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Plaintiff has cited to the U.S. Constitution and to some U.S.
Code sections but has not alleged a cause of action arising
out of the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United
States, and though he claims damages of over $75, 000, any
argument in support of diversity jurisdiction is defeated by
the fact that the Plaintiff and Defendants reside in
the Court finds the Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate any
grounds for federal jurisdiction in this case.
Indigency and Failure to State a Claim
addition to federal jurisdiction standards, applications to
proceed in forma pauperis are governed by 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915. The purpose of 28 U.S.C. § 1915 is to
ensure that indigent litigants have meaningful access to the
courts. Adkins v. W.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co.,
335 U.S. 331, 342 (1948); Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 324, 109 S.Ct. 1827 (1989). To accomplish this end,
a court must evaluate the litigant's indigence, but
notwithstanding indigence, a court may sua sponte
dismiss a matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 if the
litigation is frivolous and malicious or fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.
Court will address the indigence and merits components of 28
U.S.C. § 1915 in turn.
1915 allows a litigant to commence a civil or criminal action
in federal court without paying the administrative costs of
the lawsuit. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25
(1992). The court's review of an in forma
pauperis application is normally based solely on the
affidavit of indigence. See Gibson v. R.G. Smith
Co.,915 F.2d 260, 262-63 (6th Cir. 1990). The threshold
requirement which must be met in order to proceed in
forma pauperis is that the petitioner show, by
affidavit, the inability to pay court fees and costs. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a). However, one need not be absolutely
destitute to enjoy the benefit of proceeding in forma
pauperis. Adkins, 335 U.S. at 342. An affidavit