United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Malak
Baalim for leave to commence this civil action without
prepayment of the required filing fee. (Docket No. 4). For
the reasons discussed below, plaintiff's motion does not
comply with the statute under which it may be granted.
Accordingly, plaintiff will be directed to either file an
amended application or pay the full filing fee.
September 26, 2019, plaintiff filed a civil action titled
“Notice of Tort Claim and Opportunity to Cure.”
(Docket No. 1). The complaint named the United States of
America, St. Charles County, the State of Missouri, the St.
Charles Municipal Court, Judge Joel David Brett, the St.
Peters Police Department, and the Missouri State Highway
Patrol as “debtor[s].” Plaintiff did not pay the
filing fee or file a motion for leave to proceed in forma
October 2, 2019, the Court directed plaintiff to either pay
the full filing fee or file a motion for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. (Docket No. 2). Plaintiff filed a motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis on October 16, 2019.
(Docket No. 4). He filed a supplement to his motion on
October 24, 2019.
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is on a
Court-provided form. However, plaintiff has neglected to
answer any of the questions or provide any information.
Instead, plaintiff has written “N/A” in every
place on the form where a response is required, including the
to plaintiff's motion is a document titled
“Affidavit to Proceed Without Payment.” (Docket
No. 4 at 3). The affidavit includes the following five
assertions: that pursuant to the United States Constitution,
“nothing shall be tender for payment but silver and
gold coin;” that according to Justice William Brennan,
there are no charges for claims against the government; that
pursuant to “HJR192[, ] no debt can be lawfully
paid;” that “debt can only be discharged;”
and that pursuant to “executive order 6102[, ] our
ability to pay our debts has been abolished.” The
affidavit has been signed and fingerprinted.
attached to plaintiff's motion is an “Affidavit of
Negative Adverment, ” in which plaintiff claims that
the “United States Postal Service is obligated to pay
fees for violations of [the] uniform commercial code.”
(Docket No. 4-1 at 1). Specifically, plaintiff states that he
is owed $1, 715, 000, 000 in U.S. silver dollars. (Docket No.
4-1 at 2). Plaintiff demands payment in ten days.
supplement to his initial motion for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis consists of a Court-provided motion form, with
all questions answered by the handwritten notation
“N/A.” (Docket No. 5). There is also an
“Affidavit to Proceed Without Payment, ” in which
plaintiff again asserts that payment can only be made in
silver and gold; that there is no charge for claims against
the government; that no debt can be lawfully paid, only
discharged; and that plaintiff's ability to pay his debts
has been abolished. (Docket No. 5 at 3).
Court may authorize the commencement or prosecution of a
civil action without prepayment of fees if the plaintiff
demonstrates that he or she “is unable to pay such fees
or give security therefor.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(1). In forma pauperis status is a matter of
privilege, not of right. Williams v. McKenzie, 834
F.2d 152, 154 (8th Cir. 1987). To enjoy the statute's
benefits, a litigant need not show that he is
“absolutely destitute, ” but he must demonstrate
that, because of his poverty, he cannot pay for the
litigation costs and still be able to provide for the
necessities of life. Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours
& Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948). See also Lee v.
McDonald's Corp., 231 F.3d 456, 459 (8th Cir. 2000).
Determining whether to grant or deny in forma pauperis status
under § 1915 is within the sound discretion of the trial
court. Lee, 231 F.3d at 458.
the Court is unable to assess whether or not plaintiff should
be granted in forma pauperis status. Rather than answer the
questions posed on the Court-provided motion form, plaintiff
wrote “N/A” every time a response was indicated.
This is wholly insufficient to convey plaintiff's
personal financial situation or to allow the Court to
determine whether he is indeed too impoverished to pay the
filing fee. The “affidavit” attached to the
motion is likewise unhelpful. It consists of factually and
legally dubious statements proposing that gold and silver
constitute the only legal tender, and that debts cannot be
paid, only discharged. The terminology, phrases, and
arguments used by plaintiff are similar to the type
propounded by so-called “sovereign citizens.” Any
contention by plaintiff that he is somehow excused from
complying with federal rules or statutes based on his
sovereign citizen status is meritless. See United States
v. Hart, 701 F.2d 749, 750 (8th Cir. 1983)
(stating that appellant's assertion that federal courts
“have no civil jurisdiction over a sovereign
citizen” was frivolous); United States v.
Simonson, 563 Fed.Appx. 514 (8th Cir. 2014)
(stating that appellants' argument “that they are
special, sovereign citizens” was frivolous); and
United States v. Hardin, 489 Fed.Appx. 984, 985
(8th Cir. 2012) (rejecting as meritless
appellant's challenges to the district court's
jurisdiction based on his status as a sovereign citizen).
Court will give plaintiff one more opportunity to either file
a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis or to pay the
full filing fee. Plaintiff will be given twenty-one
(21) days in which to comply. Failure to either file
a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis or pay the
full filing fee will result in the dismissal of this action
without prejudice and without further notice.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk of Court
shall send to plaintiff a copy of the Court's motion for