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White v. American Family Mutual Ins. Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

November 5, 2019

Brenda Lynn White, Plaintiff,
v.
American Family Mutual Ins. Co., Defendant.

          ENTRY GRANTING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS, SCREENING COMPLAINT, AND DIRECTING SERVICE OF PROCESS

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge.

         Pending before the Court are Plaintiff Brenda Lynn White's Complaint, [Filing No. 1], and Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, [Filing No. 2]. This Order addresses Ms. White's Motion, screens her Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), and directs service of process.

         I.

         Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) permits the Court to authorize a plaintiff to file a lawsuit “without prepayment of fees” if the plaintiff “submits an affidavit” demonstrating that she lacks the assets to pay the filing fee at this time. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Ms. White's Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, [2], meets this standard and is therefore GRANTED. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).

         The Court notes that, while in forma pauperis status allows the plaintiff to proceed without pre-payment of the filing fee, the plaintiff remains liable for the full fee. Robbins v. Switzer, 104 F.3d 895, 898 (7th Cir. 1997) (Every in forma pauperis litigant is liable for the filing fee; “all [18 U.S.C.] § 1915(a) does for any litigant is excuse the pre-payment of fees”) (emphasis in original). The Court does not have the authority to waive the filing fee, and it remains due despite plaintiff's in forma pauperis status. Fiorito v. Samuels, 2016 WL 3636968, *2 (C.D. Ill. 2016) (“The Court does not have the authority to waive a filing fee”); McDaniel v. Meisner, 2015 WL 4773135, *5 (E.D. Wis. 2015) (same principle). The filing fee for in forma pauperis litigants is $350. See USDC Fee Schedule at https://www.insd.uscourts.gov/fees-financial-information (stating that the $400 filing fee includes a $50 administrative fee, but that the administrative fee “does not apply to…persons granted in forma pauperis status under 28 U.S.C. § 1915”). Immediate payment is not required; however, the $350 balance remains owing.

         II.

         Screening

         A. Screening Standard

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court shall dismiss a case brought by a plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis “at any time if the court determines that . . . the action . . . is frivolous or malicious; . . . fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or . . . seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” In determining whether a complaint states a claim, the Court applies the same standard as when addressing a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624 (7th Cir. 2006). To survive dismissal:

[the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         B. Complaint

         Ms. White checked a box on her Complaint indicating her intent to invoke the Court's diversity jurisdiction. [Filing No. 1 at 3.] She alleges that she is a citizen of Indiana and that Defendant American Family Mutual Insurance Company (“American Family”) is incorporated under the laws of Wisconsin with its principal place of business in Wisconsin. [Filing No. 1 at 3-4.] She further ...


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