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Ferrari v. Haslam

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville

October 29, 2019

GABRIEL ADRIAN FERRARI, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM EDWARD HASLAM, et al., Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

         This 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).

         I. FILINGS AND ALLEGATIONS

         The 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.

         The 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 Defendant.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Jurisdiction

         Federal 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.

         The 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 Tennessee.

         Thus, the Court finds the Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate any grounds for federal jurisdiction in this case.

         B. Indigency and Failure to State a Claim

         In 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.

         The Court will address the indigence and merits components of 28 U.S.C. § 1915 in turn.

         1. Indigence

         Section 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 to ...


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