Adkins v. E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., Inc.
335 U.S. 331 (1948)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Adkins v. E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., Inc., 335 U.S. 331 (1948)

Adkins v. E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., Inc.

No. 1, Misc.

Argued October 18, 1948

Decided November 22, 1948

335 U.S. 331

Syllabus

1. Under the Act of July 20, 1892, 27 Stat. 252, as amended, 28 U.S.C. (1946 ed.) § 832 et seq. (now 28 U.S.C. § 1915), and Rule 75(m) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a federal court is not without power to protect the public from having to pay heavy costs incident to the inclusion of unnecessary matters in the record in an in forma pauperis appeal. P. 335 U. S. 337.

(a) It may deny leave to appeal in forma pauperis if the applicant wrongfully persists in including in the record on appeal masses of matter plainly irrelevant to the issues raised on appeal. P. 335 U. S. 337.

(b) Under Rule 75(m) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, it may save the costs of printing by providing for a typewritten record. P. 335 U. S. 337.

2. On a motion in a federal district court to allow an appeal in forma pauperis, claimants filed affidavits estimating that the cost of printing the record would be $4,000 and stating that each of them was unable to pay or give security for the costs.

Held: the court was justified in looking further to see if the costs really should have been $4,000, and, if not, in requiring affidavits made with an appreciation of the lesser amount of expense. Pp. 335 U. S. 338-339.

3. On a motion in a federal court for leave to appeal in forma pauperis, an affidavit is sufficient which states that affiant cannot, because of poverty, "pay or give security for costs . . . and still be able to provide" himself and dependents "with the necessities of life." One need not be absolutely destitute to enjoy the benefit of the in forma pauperis statute. Pp. 335 U. S. 339-340.

4. In a suit in a federal district court, one of several claimants cannot be denied a right of appeal in forma pauperis merely because other claimants will neither give security for costs nor sign an affidavit of poverty. P. 335 U. S. 340.

Page 335 U. S. 332

5. Counsel employed on a contingent fee basis to represent a poor plaintiff in a federal district court need not file affidavits showing that they are unable on account of poverty to pay or give security for costs in order for their client to be allowed to appeal in forma pauperis. Pp. 335 U. S. 340-344

In a suit for overtime, pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Executive Order No. 9240, as amended, the District Court and the Court of Appeals denied leave to appeal in forma pauperis. Plaintiff petitioned this Court for a writ of certiorari and moved for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. On June 1, 1948, this Court entered an order assigning the motion for argument on October 18, 1948, and stating that it desired

"to hear argument upon the questions presented by the motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, including the question as to the validity of a contingent fee agreement in connection with a suit brought pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act."

This Court now grants certiorari (p. 336), vacates the orders denying appeal in forma pauperis, and remands the case to the District Court. P. 335 U. S. 344.

Page 335 U. S. 333

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