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The Moorish National Republic, et al. v. City of Chicago

April 18, 2011

THE MOORISH NATIONAL REPUBLIC, ET AL.
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL.



Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr. than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies Defendants' motion to dismiss this lawsuit [56], but sanctions Plaintiff Sheik L. Love EL in the amount of $450 for the material omissions in his application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. If Plaintiff wishes to proceed with this lawsuit, he is ordered to pay $350 to the Clerk of Court and $100 to the United States of America (through the Clerk of the Court) on or before May 9, 2011. If payment is not made by May 9, this case will be dismissed with prejudice.

O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices. Notices mailed by Judicial staff.

*Copy to judge/magistrate judge.

STATEMENT

Plaintiffs Moorish National Republic: Federal Government Moorish Divine and National Movement of the World, Moorish Science Temple of America, Sheikess Diana EL, and Sheik L. Love EL have filed a complaint naming the City of Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley, and other unnamed Chicago Police Department employees as Defendants. Plaintiffs seek damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in connection with three incidents allegedly involving Chicago police officers. On June 30, 2010, Plaintiff Sheik Love EL was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP") [see 18] on the basis of representations that Sheik Love EL made in his IFP application, sworn to be true under penalty of perjury. Defendants now move for dismissal with prejudice, asserting that they have uncovered evidence that Sheik Love EL lied on his IFP application.

I. Background

On February 16, 2010, Plaintiffs filed their thirteen-count complaint, alleging various state law violations and constitutional violations premised on 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On April 27, 2010, the Court issued a minute order [7] noting that Plaintiffs had neither paid the $350 filing fee nor filed an IFP application. Plaintiffs refused to pay the filing fee or submit a financial statement because they believed that both requirements violated their constitutional rights. On May 28, 2010, the Court issued an order [12] once again noting that Plaintiffs had neither paid the required filing fee nor submitted a properly completed application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis with supporting financial affidavit. Plaintiffs again refused to submit the proper forms based on Plaintiffs' constitutional challenges to the statutory requirements concerning the payment of filing fees. Plaintiffs maintained that the Court's "demand" for a financial statement "is used as an instrument to deny [them] due process of law and [their] right to free access to the courts." Unpersuaded by Plaintiffs' arguments in view of the pertinent statutory authority and case law, the Court gave Plaintiffs until June 16, 2010, to either (1) tender to the Clerk of the Court the $350 filing fee or (2) file with the Clerk of the Court an application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis with a completed financial affidavit.

On June 16, 2010, Plaintiff Sheik L. Love EL filed an application for IFP status [13], asserting that he was last employed in 2008 with Elite Realty and Rehab. For every other question on the application, he marked either "no" or "none." Specifically, he stated that he was not currently employed, denied receiving more than $200 in the last twelve months from any other source (including wages, self-employment, rental income, or gifts), and stated that no one else living with him had received more than $200 in the past twelve months. He attested that he did not own any stocks, bonds, securities, or other financial instruments, and he denied that he or anyone living with him owned real estate, automobiles worth more than $1000, or other personal property worth more than $1000. The IFP application warns that the responses are made under penalty of perjury and states that "the court shall dismiss this case at any time if the court determined that [the] allegation of poverty is untrue." Sheik Love EL signed the application.

On June 30, 2010, the Court granted Plaintiff Sheik Love EL's application to proceed in forma pauperis [18]. Defendants have now moved to dismiss this case on the ground that Plaintiff Sheik Love EL lied on his IFP application. In support of their motion, Defendants provided evidence through public documents and Sheik Love EL's own admissions that he failed to disclose certain assets on his IFP application in this case. According to Defendants, these misrepresentations first came to their attention upon discovering that Plaintiffs filed a complaint on October 12, 2010, against defense counsel and the U.S. Marshals Service arising out of Sheikess Diana EL's arrest on September 21, 2010. See Sheik L. Love EL, et. al., v. DOJ-United States Marshals Service, et. al., 10 CV 6536 (Zagel, J.). On that same day, Sheik Love EL filed an IFP application in that case, which is substantially similar to the one presented in this case, but with one difference-in response to Question # 2, Sheik Love EL failed to disclose the beginning and ending dates of his last employment, whereas in the IFP application in the case at bar, he disclosed that information. In that case, Judge Zagel denied Sheik Love EL's motion to proceed in forma pauperis, observing that Sheik Love EL's claim that he received "no income * * * from any source including gifts * * * would leave him without the ability to acquire any necessity of life, i.e. housing, food, and clothes." As a result, Judge Zagel terminated the case.

Upon receiving Judge Zagel's order, counsel for Defendants investigated the representations in Sheik Love EL's IFP application. According to the exhibits attached to Defendants' motion, Defendants maintain that Sheik Love EL failed to disclose (1) his employment with the Moorish Science Temple of America ("MTSA") (a religious corporation); (2) the fact that he is self-employed as a "foreclosure specialist," (3) his ownership interest in the real property located at 5916 S. Sangamon Street, and (4) the MTSA's ownership interest in the real property located at 5916 S. Sangamon Street. Defendants contend that Sheik Love EL's failure to disclose his employment and his interest in real property demonstrate that Plaintiffs have misrepresented their financial status and are not impoverished, and Defendants ask for dismissal with prejudice as a sanction.

II. Analysis

The purpose of the IFP statute is to allow individuals who are unable to afford the costs of litigation the ability to still bring their claims before the Court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915. "The opportunity to proceed in forma pauperis is a privilege provided for the benefit of indigent persons and the court system depends upon the honesty and forthrightness of applicants to ensure that the privilege is not abused." Chung v. Dushane, 2003 WL 22902561, at *2 (N.D. Ill. 2003) (citing Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 27 (1992)). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (e)(2)(A), "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any ...


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