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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE TENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT_1_

VIEWS: 9 PAGES: 10

									        United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

                                      CASE NO. 00-16512-B
                                      L.T. No. 00-14201-CIV


MARCELLUS M. MASON, JR.,

     Plaintiff/Appellant/Petitioner
v.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY
COMMISIONERS,

     Defendant/Appellees/Respondent



             On Appeal from the United States District Court

                       For the Southern District of Florida


                                      Case No. 00-16512-B
                                      INITIAL BRIEF


       Petition for Review Court of Order from the United States District Court
                             Southern District of Florida
                             Donald L. Graham, Judge



                                                            Marcellus M. Mason, Jr.
                                                            Pro Se
                                                            218 Florida Drive
                                                            Sebring, FL 33870
                                                            Phone: 863-314-9577
                                                      TABLE OF CONTENTS
CERTICATE OF INTERESTED PERSONS AND CORPORATE DISLCLOSURE STATEMENT ............. III

APPENDIX INDEX .................................................................................................................................................. IV

CITATIONS ................................................................................................................................................................ V

JURISDICTIONAL STATEMENT...........................................................................................................................1

STATEMENT OF THE ISSUES PRESENTED FOR REVIEW ............................................................................1

STATEMENT OF CASE ............................................................................................................................................2

STATEMENT OF FACTS RELEVANT TO THE ISSUES ....................................................................................2

SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT .........................................................................................................................3

ISSUE ARGUMENTS .................................................................................................................................................3
   DENIAL OF IN FORMA PAUPERIS MOTION ...................................................................................................3
    Appellate Jurisdiction .........................................................................................................................................3
    Standard of Review ............................................................................................................................................3
    Discussion ...........................................................................................................................................................3
CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................................................4

CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE ........................................................................................................................4

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE ..................................................................................................................................5




                                                                                     ii
                                 Case No. 00-16512-B

    Marcellus M.Mason, Jr. v. HIGHLANDS COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY
                              COMMISIONERS


CERTICATE OF INTERESTED PERSONS AND CORPORATE
            DISLCLOSURE STATEMENT


                   Pursuant to Eleventh Circuit Rule 26.1, APPELLANT hereby certifies

         the following list of individuals and entities are known to me to have an

         interest in the outcome of this particular case:




Marcellus M. Mason, Jr.

Highlands County Board of County Commissioners

Maria N. Sorolis, Esq.

Brian Koji, Esq.

Public Risk Management

Gallagher-Bassett Services, Inc

J. Ross MacBeth




                                          iii
           APPENDIX INDEX
                          (DE #2)   2, 4
(
                          (DE #3)      2
(DE #1)          2        (DE #5)      2
(DE #10)         2        (DE #6)      2
(DE #11)      2, 4        (DE #9)   2, 4
(DE #12)      2, 4
(DE #13)         2




                     iv
                                                CITATIONS
                                                       CASES

Flowers v. Turbine Support Division, 507 F.2d 1242 (5th Cir. 1975) ----------------------------- 1, 3, 4


                                              UNITED STATES CODE

28 U.S.C. § 1291 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1, 3

28 U.S.C. § 1367 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1

28 U.S.C. § 1391 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1

28 U.S.C. § 1915 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4

28 U.S.C. §§ 1331,1343 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1




                                                          v
                           JURISDICTIONAL STATEMENT

Mason brought suit in the United States District Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331,1343 .

Mason alleges violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Mason’s claims center around

employment discrimination. Mason’s pendant state law claim for violation of the Florida Civil

Rights which were brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Mason is a resident of Sebring,

Florida and Highlands County. Defendant Highlands County Board of County Commissioners’

principal place of business is in Sebring, Florida. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391, venue is proper

in the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida because that is where plaintiff’s

resides and where the alleged illegal acts occurred.




Appellant seeks to invoke the jurisdiction of this court pursuant 28 U.S.C. § 1291 to review

rulings on denial of in forma pauperis motion.       Appellant’s Notice of Appeal was timely filed

and docketed on the United States District Court, Southern District, Fort Pierce Division on

November 29, 2000. This is an appeal from a denial of in forma pauperis status. The old Fifth

Circuit in Flowers v. Turbine Support Division, 507 F.2d 1242 (5th Cir. 1975), “Orders denying

applications to proceed IFP are appealable as final decisions for reasons similar to those which

prompted the Supreme Court to hold that the order in Cohen v. Beneficial Industrial Loan Corp.,

337 U.S. 541, 69 S.Ct. 1221, 93 L.Ed. 1528 (1949) was appealable.”




    STATEMENT OF THE ISSUES PRESENTED FOR REVIEW

Did the trail court err in refusing to grant the plaintiff’s in forma pauperis motion?
                                STATEMENT OF CASE
On July 3, 2000 the complaint was filed. (DE #1). On July 3, 2000 Marcellus M. Mason Jr.

submitted a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (DE #2). On August 17, 2000, an ORDER

transferring case to Judge Graham was issued. (DE #3). A summons and a complaint was

served upon Highlands County on September 12, 2000. (DE #5). The defendants submitted a

motion to quash on September 5, 2000. (DE #6). On November 2, 2000, an ORDER denying

plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis was rendered. (DE #9). On November 2, 2000,

an ORDER granting defendant’s motion to quash was granted. (DE #10). On November 8,

2000, Marcellus M. Mason Jr. submitted a second motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (DE

#11). An ORDER denying plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis was issued on

November 21, 2000. (DE #12);(DE #13). On November 21, 200 the case was closed. On

November 29, 2000, plaintiff filed his notice of appeal.




        STATEMENT OF FACTS RELEVANT TO THE ISSUES

This lawsuit was filed on July 3, 2000 and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis was submitted on

August 17, 2000. The case was subsequently transferred to the Honorable Donald Graham. The

motion to proceed in forma pauperis was never ruled on. On November 2, 2000, the trial made its

first ruling denying plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis. On November 8, 2000, plaintiff

submitted a second motion to proceed in forma pauperis and was denied again by the Court on

November 21, 2000. The case was closed on November 21, 2000.




                                                   2
                         SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT

The Court erred in denying plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff provided

substantial financial information to support his motion to proceed in forma pauperis.




                                  ISSUE ARGUMENTS

                    DENIAL OF IN FORMA PAUPERIS MOTION
I.     Did the trail court err in refusing to grant the plaintiff’s in forma pauperis motion?



                                        Appellate Jurisdiction

This court has appellate jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. The old Fifth Circuit in

Flowers v. Turbine Support Division, 507 F.2d 1242 (5th Cir. 1975), “Orders denying

applications to proceed IFP are appealable as final decisions for reasons similar to those which

prompted the Supreme Court to hold that the order in Cohen v. Beneficial Industrial Loan Corp.,

337 U.S. 541, 69 S.Ct. 1221, 93 L.Ed. 1528 (1949) was appealable

                                         Standard of Review


Denial of in forma pauperis motion is reviewable under the abuse of discretion standard. See

Flowers v. Turbine Support Division, 507 F.2d 1242 (5th Cir. 1975).



                                             Discussion

In the instant case, appellant sought to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915

on two separate occasions. (DE #2);(DE #11). The Court denied the plaintiff on both occasions.

(DE #9);(DE #12). The Court in its order failed to offer any explanation for its denial of in forma




                                                  3
pauperis status to the plaintiff. “Admittedly, a trial court has wide discretion in denying an

application to proceed IFP under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This is especially true, the rubric goes, in

civil cases for damages, wherein the courts should grant the privilege sparingly. Weller v.

Dickson, 314 F.2d 598 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 375 U.S. 845, 84 S.Ct. 97, 11 L.Ed.2d 72 (1963).

However, in denying such applications a court must not act arbitrarily. Nor may it deny the

application on erroneous grounds.” See Flowers, supra. Neither of the Court’s orders denying

plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis contained an explanation for its denial. This lack of an

explanation leaves the trial court’s decision wide open to the criticism that the decision was arbitrary.

This court, not being the beneficiary of any explanation to as to the reasons for the trial court’s

denial, is left only to guess at what the trial court’s reasons were for denying plaintiff’s motion to

proceed in forma pauperis . This Court has little alternative but to reverse the trial court.




                                         CONCLUSION

WHEREFORE, and based upon the foregoing. Mason requests that this Court grants him in

forma pauperis status so as to pursue his lawsuit in trial court.


Respectfully Submitted:
Marcellus M. Mason, Jr.
218 Florida Drive
Sebring, FL 33870
863-314-9577

                                                                  Dated this 19th day of December, 2000




                          CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE
I, Marcellus M. Mason Jr., hereby declare that this brief is in compliance with the volume limitation as

set forth by this Court. This brief as reported by the word count function of Microsoft Word 97


                                                     4
contains less than 14,000 words including the table of contents, table of authorities, and other items

not countable towards the 14,000 word count limit.




Respectfully Submitted:

Marcellus M. Mason, Jr.
218 Florida Drive
Sebring, FL 33870
863-314-9577

                                                               Dated this 19th day of December, 2000




                            CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the foregoing has been furnished via US Mail,
postage prepaid, first class, on, Tuesday, December 19, 2000, to: Allen, Norton & Blue, 324 South
Hyde Park Avenue, Suite 350, Tampa, Florida, 33606




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