United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Elizabeth A. Stafford, United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION [#6]DENYING PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION TO
PROCEED IN DISTRICT COURT WITHOUT PREPAYING FEES OR
Gershwin A. Drain United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Sherri Hawkins'
Application to Proceed in District Court without Prepaying
Fees or Costs. Dkt. No. 2. This Court referred the matter to
Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford on June 28, 2018. Dkt.
No. 3. Magistrate Judge Stafford issued a Report and
Recommendation on July 10, 2018, recommending that this Court
deny Plaintiff's Application. Dkt. No. 6. On July 23,
2018, Plaintiff filed an Objection. Dkt. No. 7. For the
reasons discussed below, the Court accepts and adopts the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation and denies
Court employs “a de novo determination of those
portions of the report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 636 (b)(1)(C). This Court “may accept, reject or
modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations
made by the magistrate judge.” Id. However,
when objections are “merely perfunctory responses . . .
rehashing . . . the same arguments set forth in the original
petition, reviewing courts should review [a Report and
Recommendation] for clear error.” Ramirez v.
U.S., 898 F.Supp.2d 659, 663 (S.D.N.Y. 2012).
submitted her Application to Proceed without Prepaying Fees
or Costs on June 28, 2018. Dkt. No. 1. In her Application,
Plaintiff stated that she is employed by AHS Community
Services, Inc (“AHS”). Dkt. No. 1, pg. 1 (Pg. ID
4). Plaintiff listed her take home pay as $818.86 every two
weeks from AHS. Id. Plaintiff also reported that she
receives approximately $948.00 per month in early retirement
Social Security, and $134.00 is taken out of her Social
Security every month to pay back overpayments. Id.
Plaintiff stated that she has the following monthly expenses:
$565.00 for rent, $465.70 for a $24, 000 credit card debt,
$240.00 for cable, and $90.00 for electricity. Id.
at pg. 2 (Pg. ID 5). Plaintiff declared that she has no
official dependents. Id. However, Plaintiff has two
adult children with mental illness who she helps with some
expenses every month, such as food. Id.
Judge Stafford recommended denying Plaintiff's request to
proceed without prepaying costs. Dkt. No. 6. Magistrate Judge
Stafford determined that Plaintiff has gross wages of
approximately $2, 000.00 per month. Id. at pg. 2
(Pg. ID 12). These wages exceed the costs of filing a
complaint, which is approximately $500.00. Id.
Therefore, Magistrate Judge Stafford concluded that Plaintiff
is not blocked from access to the courts by her financial
condition. Id. Rather, Plaintiff must weigh her
financial constraints against the merits of her claims.
filed her Objection on July 23, 2018. Dkt. No. 7.
Plaintiff's Objection details her financial constraints
with greater specificity and concludes that Magistrate Judge
Stafford reached the incorrect conclusion. See id.
Objection states that from now until August of 2018, her
Social Security payments will be $628.00 per month instead of
approximately $814.00 per month. Id. at pg. 2 (Pg.
ID 16). Plaintiff also asserts that in August, her take home
pay will be $368.00 less per month than what she reported on
her Application. Id. Therefore, Plaintiff's take
home pay in August 2018 will be approximately $1900.00 per
month. This figure is similar to the $2000.00
monthly gross wages that Magistrate Judge Stafford described
in her Report and Recommendation. Thus, Plaintiff's
change in income is insignificant to merit a reconsideration
of her Application.
Objection further asserts that she has had unexpected
expenses come up which limit her ability to pay the filing
fee. Plaintiff states that she has had to help her son pay
for food, vitamins, band aids, and slippers. Dkt. No. 7, pg.
4 (Pg. ID 18). Plaintiff continues to help her son with his
monthly food expenses. Id. at pg. 5 (Pg. ID 19).
Additionally, Plaintiff sometimes helps her son pay for his
Medicaid co-payment. Id. Plaintiff recently bought
her daughter a new office chair, which cost $65.00-70.00.
Id. Plaintiff also loans her daughter money for food
often. Id. at pg. 6 (Pg. ID 20).
Court finds that Plaintiff's Objection is not sufficient
to overrule Magistrate Judge Stafford's Report and
Recommendation. Plaintiff's monthly income is
approximately $1, 900.00. The filing fee is approximately
$500.00. Plaintiff has monthly expenses, including debt, and
she helps her children. However, like any prudent individual,
Plaintiff must budget and make allowance for the filing fee
along with her other monthly expenses.
review of the Plaintiff's Application, Objection, and the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, the Court
concludes that the Magistrate Judge reached the correct
conclusion. Accordingly, Plaintiff's Objection [#7] is
OVERRULED. The Court hereby ACCEPTS AND ADOPTS Magistrate
Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford's July 10, 2018 Report ...