United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER DENYING IN FORMA PAUPERIS STATUS
L. MALONEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
filed this pro se action in the United States
District for the Eastern District of New York, seeking
damages in excess of $20, 000, 000.00. That court
characterized plaintiff's complaint as a continuation of
his longstanding dispute with Thomas M. Cooley Law School
(“Cooley”) arising from Cooley's decision to
dismiss plaintiff for academic deficiencies in 2003.
Plaintiff filed two lawsuits in the Western District of
Michigan involving his dismissal: Jean Dufort Baptichon
v. Thomas M. Cooley Law School, 5:03-cv-176 (W.D. Mich.)
(“Baptichon I”); and, Jean Dufort
Baptichon v. Thomas M. Cooley Law School et al.,
1:09-cv-562 (W.D. Mich.) (“Baptichon
II”). The court further noted that while
plaintiff was a resident of Freeport, New York, none of the
defendants were located in New York, with defendants State of
Michigan and Cooley being located in Michigan, defendant
Chase Student Loans Servicing LLC being located in
Mississippi, and defendant Department of Education being
located in Washington, D.C. Given plaintiff's litigation
history and the location of defendants, the court concluded
that venue was not proper in the Eastern District of New York
and transferred the case to the Western District of Michigan.
See Transfer Order (ECF No. 5).
matter is now before the Court on plaintiff's application
and amended application to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”) (ECF Nos. 2 and 11). On May 7, 2018, the
magistrate judge entered a deficiency order because
plaintiff's original application to proceed IFP did not
contain sufficient detail of his financial condition,
including plaintiff's household income, assets, and
financial obligations. See Order (ECF No. 9). The
Court provided plaintiff with a copy of this Court's
Application for proceed in district court without prepaying
fees or costs (long form) (AO 239).
filed an amended application (ECF No. 11), which rendered his
original application moot. The amended application included a
77-page exhibit containing plaintiff's 2017 joint income
tax returns (ECF No. 11-1). In his amended application,
plaintiff stated that during the past 12 months he earned an
average of $331.00 per month from self- employment as an
“independent law clerk” and expected to earn
$561.00 next month (PageID.144-145). However, plaintiff
objected to providing any information with respect to his
spouse and referred the Court to his voluminous income tax
returns (PageID.202). The tax returns indicate that
plaintiff's spouse earned over $70, 000.00 in 2017, but
that plaintiff and his spouse reported a negative adjusted
gross income due to a reported capital loss of $3, 000.00 and
reported losses on royalties and rents of $84, 745.00
(PageID.151, 214, 223) (ECF No. 11-1). The tax returns also
reflect that plaintiff and his spouse received a federal
income tax refund of $7, 230.00 (PageID.150) and a state
income tax refund of $3, 654.00 (PageID.207).
amended application also failed to provide itemized monthly
expenses, referring the Court to his income tax returns
(PageID.147-148). Plaintiff also objected to questions
regarding his spouse's financial condition
(PageID.144-148). Plaintiff stated that he had $372.70 in a
savings account and $59.10 in a checking account, but
objected to providing any information about his wife's
bank accounts (PageID.145). While plaintiff stated that he
owns a 2003 Infiniti worth $5, 000.00 and a 2005 Porsche
worth $10, 000.00 (PageID.146), he did not disclose the value
of his home or other real estate on the amended application,
once again referring the Court to his income tax returns
(PageID.146). Based on those returns, it appears that
plaintiff owns real estate located at 66 Laurel Avenue,
Hampstead, New York, and 188 N Long Beach Avenue, Freeport,
New York (PageID.182, 184, 223). Plaintiff also declared
under penalty of perjury that the United States of America
owes him “$20 Billion” (PageID.146).
is not entitled to proceed as an indigent in this Court.
First, plaintiff did not complete the amended application,
having refused to provide requested information regarding
both himself and his spouse. “Federal Courts, which are
charged with evaluating IFP Applications, have consistently
considered not only an IFP applicant's personal income,
but also his or her other financial resources, including the
resources that could be made available from the
applicant's spouse, or other family members.”
Helland v. St. Mary's Duluth Clinic Health
System, No. CIV. 10-31 RHK/RLE, 2010 WL 502781 at *1 (D.
Minn. Feb. 5, 2010). “The income of the party's
spouse is particularly relevant and failure to disclose a
spouse's income may result in denial of IFP
status.” Behmlander v. Commissioner of Social
Security, No. 12-cv-14424, 2012 WL 5457466 at *2 (E.D.
Mich. Oct. 16, 2012), R&R adopted 2012 WL 5457383 (Nov.
8, 2012). See Onischuk v. Johnson Controls Inc., 182
Fed.Appx. 532 (7th Cir. 2006) (affirming district court's
denial of plaintiff's application to proceed in forma
pauperis because he did not provide financial
information about his wife).
plaintiff has sufficient resources to pay the filing fee.
“The federal in forma pauperis statute,
enacted in 1892 and presently codified as 28 U.S.C. §
1915, is designed to ensure that indigent litigants have
meaningful access to the federal courts.” Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989). Plaintiff is not
indigent. While plaintiff reported negative adjusted gross
income on his federal income tax return, he and his wife
earned over $70, 000.00 in the past year and received income
tax refunds exceeding $10, 000.00. Plaintiff's assets
include two houses and two vehicles (including a Porsche).
Finally, plaintiff declared under penalty of perjury that the
United States of America owes him $20 billion.
plaintiff's application and amended application for leave
to proceed IFP (ECF Nos. 2 and 11) are
DENIED. Plaintiff must submit the $400.00
filing fee within 28 days of the date of
this order, or this action will be dismissed.
IS SO ORDERED.
 In Baptichon I, this Court
dismissed plaintiff's federal due process claims and
remanded his state law claims to the Ingham County Circuit
Court. See Baptichon I (Order and Judgment, May 3,
2004) (ECF No. 27). In Baptichon II, this Court
observed that plaintiff's case was “a continuation
of Plaintiff's long-standing battle with Cooley Law
School concerning their decision to dismiss Plaintiff for