UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
August 11, 2010
STEVEN BURNETT, PLAINTIFF,
HERRIN CITY POLICE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Steven Burnett's pro se Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (Doc. 2).
A federal court may permit an indigent party to proceed without pre-payment of fees. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) (2006). In determining indigence, courts must remember that "a person need not be absolutely destitute in order to enjoy the benefit of § 1915." Zaun v. Dobbin, 628 F.2d 990, 992 (7th Cir. 1980) (discussing Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948)). Even if a plaintiff is found to be indigent, a court can deny a qualified plaintiff leave to file in forma pauperis or can dismiss a case if the action is clearly frivolous or malicious. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i).
Here, the Court is not satisfied from Burnett's affidavit that he is indigent. In said affidavit, Burnett states that his current net income is $313.00 per week, or approximately $1,360.00 per month, and that he has $50.00 in a checking or savings account. He also avers that his regular monthly expenses total $932.00,*fn1 which includes $200.00 allotted for food. This leaves Burnett with $432.00 every month. While the determination of indigence is by no means a bright-lined test, the Court is hesitant to label Burnett - an individual who pockets every month more than the $350.00 filing fee imposed by this Court - as indigent. He can and should pay for the costs of this litigation.*fn2
For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Burnett's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (Doc. 2) without prejudice and ORDERS Burnett to pay the $350.00 filing fee if he does not wish for this action to be dismissed. The Court makes no finding as to the meritoriousness of Burnett's case.
IT IS SO ORDERED.