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Sanders v. Aerocare USA, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

December 4, 2017

COURTNEY SANDERS, Plaintiff,
v.
AEROCARE USA, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER & OPINION

          JOE BILLY MCDADE, UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 2) of Plaintiff Courtney Sanders. Ms. Sanders seeks to file a Complaint (Doc. 1) alleging her former employer, AeroCare USA, Inc., violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it subjected her to a hostile working environment on account of her race that was severe enough to force her to quit. Ms. Sanders is not able to pay the $400.00 filing fee for civil cases and therefore she moves the Court to proceed in forma pauperis, which simply means she is requesting the Court to proceed without paying the normal fee required to institute a civil action. Also pending before the Court is Ms. Sanders' motion to appoint counsel (Doc. 3). For the reasons stated below, the motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 2) is granted. Ms. Sanders' motion to appoint counsel (Doc. 3) is denied.

         I. Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

         A court may allow a civil suit to proceed without the prepayment of fees and costs when a plaintiff submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all his assets, and shows that he is unable to pay filing fees or provide security for the payment of a filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). The affidavit must “state the nature of the action ... and affiant's belief that the person is entitled to redress.” Id. However, the “privilege to proceed without [paying] costs and fees is reserved to the many truly impoverished litigants who, within a district court's discretion, would remain without legal remedy if such privileges were not afforded to them.” Brewster v. North Am. Van Lines, Inc., 461 F.2d 649, 651 (7th Cir. 1972).

         Ms. Sanders submits an application in which she avers under penalty of perjury that she receives an income of about $1500.00 a month and has monthly expenses that amount to almost $1400.00 a month. (Doc. 2 at 1-2). She states that she has assets and savings of only $50. (Doc. 2 at 2). Based on her submissions, the Court concludes that Ms. Sanders does not have the means to pay the filing fee and she may proceed without the prepayment of fees and costs. Her motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 2) is therefore granted.

         II. Screening the Pro Se Complaint Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915

         In connection with a court's consideration of a motion to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), the court must also review the proposed complaint to ensure it complies with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), which states in relevant part that “the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that--

(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or
(B) the action or appeal--
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.”

         The Court has reviewed the Complaint here liberally-as it must under the precedent of cases such as Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (“A document filed pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers” (internal quotation marks and citations omitted)) and Childress v. Walker, 787 F.3d 433, 436 n. 1 (7th Cir. 2015)-and concludes the allegations are sufficient for the case to proceed at this stage.

         Ms. Sanders alleges that she began working for the Defendant in May 2007. Ms. Sanders alleges she was the first African-American ever hired locally by Defendant. Within a few months, she overheard a co-worker express dissatisfaction with having to work with a “nigger”. She alleges further that she was not allowed consistent breaks, while other employees were ...


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