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Joshua Cole Murphy v. Commissioner Michael J. Astrue

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois


February 7, 2011

JOSHUA COLE MURPHY
v.
COMMISSIONER MICHAEL J. ASTRUE

Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Virginia M. Kendall than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

Murphy's Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis is granted.

O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.

STATEMENT

Plaintiff Joshua Cole Murphy ("Murphy") moves the Court to proceed in forma pauperis without the full prepayment of filing fees. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants Murphy's motion.

Murphy is appealing a final administrative decision by Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue (the "Defendant") denying his application for Social Security Disability benefits for lack of disability. Murphy alleges that the Defendant's finding that he is not disabled is not supported by substantial evidence and is contrary to law and regulation.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), the Court may authorize Murphy to proceed in forma pauperis if he is unable to pay the mandated court fees. Murphy need not be penniless in order to proceed in forma pauperis under § 1915(a)(1). See Zaun v. Dobbin, 628 F.2d 990, 992 (7th Cir. 1980). Instead, he is eligible to proceed in forma pauperis if payment of the filing fee will prevent him from providing for life's necessities. See id. According to his financial affidavit, Murphy is unemployed and has been since October 2005. Murphy's only source of income is $200 per month in food stamps. Murphy lives with his 83 year old grandfather, who has been retired for 20 years. Murphy's grandfather receives $1,447 per month in pensions and social security, has $5,000 in savings, and has monthly medical bills of $133. Murphy's grandfather owns a single family home valued at $44,000 and a car valued at $5,000. Murphy's grandfather does not owe any money on either. Neither Murphy nor his grandfather have any other personal property worth over $1,000. Based on these facts, Murphy's financial affidavit sets forth his inability to pay the mandated court fees.

The Court, however, must look beyond Murphy's financial status. Section 1915 requires the Court to review the claims of a plaintiff who seeks to proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss the action if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or if the plaintiff seeks damages from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii); see also Lindell v. McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1109 (7th Cir. 2003). Here, Murphy alleges that the Defendant improperly denied his application for benefits based on a finding that he was not disabled. He alleges that the Commissioner's findings of fact are not supported by the evidence and are contrary to law and regulation. Murphy's Complaint provides the Defendant with adequate notice of the charges and does not appear frivolous or otherwise meritless. Therefore, Murphy's Complaint is properly before the Court.

For the reasons stated, Murphy's Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis is granted.

20110207

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