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The Disabled Vs Supreme Court of the United States

Organized by: HAROLD NYANJOM

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THE STORY:

QUESTION(S) PRESENTED
Whether the Supreme Court of The United States erred in denying the petitioner, a federally disabled person (blind), due process by closing and dismissing petitioner’s application for Writ of Certiorari based on a technicality— petitioner’s financial inability to comply with Rules of this Court?

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

1. December, 2013: Filed Petition for a Writ of Certiorari. Petitioner initiated this action with an application to proceed without pre-payment of the filing fee.
2. February, 2014: Petitioner submitted an affidavit in support of his motion to proceed in forma pauperis, showing he was receiving Social Security benefits, disability retirement. Importantly, the lower courts had both granted petitioner’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis. However, this Court denied petitioner’s motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). Motion for reconsideration of order denying leave to proceed in forma pauperis was also denied. The petition had not been denied at that time, as this Court had not yet issued a ruling on it.
3. Petitioner has represented truthfully that he is an unemployed federally disabled person, receiving Social Security Income (SSI) benefits and disability pension; is a qualified participant of federal and state public assistance programs; and previously unable to remit payment of the filing fee with the Court. Importantly, since he could not afford to pay court fees and costs, under the law, the court can waive these fees and costs because petitioner is a public assistance recipient whose annual family income is less than 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (2014 figures), and his income is not enough to pay for the common necessities of life for himself and the people he supports (family size of 6), and also to pay court fees and costs.
4. April, 2014: Petitioner submitted required documents – filing fee ($300) and (40) copies of petition. However, the SCOTUS Clerk returned entire petition and fees because of failure to comply with Rule 33.1 of the Court, as petitioner erroneously submitted documents according to Rule 33.2 instead of Rule 33.1. Petitioner prepared and submitted to the Court, a petition in compliance with Rule 33.2 instead of Rule 33.1 of the Rules of this Court before April 22, 2014. The forty (40) copies of the petition were mistakenly prepared and presented to the Court on 8½- by 11-inch paper, instead of the booklet format. Due to Petitioner’s disability (blind), he expended a substantial amount of time, funding and other limited resources retaining assistance in preparing the documents in the Rule 33.2 format, in the belief that this was the required format. The Petitioner’s disability obviously complicates his ability to conduct the necessary legal procedures and serves as a basis to distinguish him from other pro se litigants. Petitioner requests the Court consider exercising its various types of various types of assistance available for litigants with disabilities, and in this case allow Petitioner to proceed with the petition, of which was already in the Courts possession.
5. On the April 22, 2014 deadline, petitioner submitted an application for request for alternate document preparation format (Rule 33.2), unaware that he also had to include a request for another extension of time in which to allow the Court to rule on his application for alternate document format. The Office of the Clerk returned his request without filing it because of failure to request the extension of time. The application was post-marked April 22, 2014.
6. On April 29, 2014, petitioner contacted the Clerk’s Office and was advised his petition could not be filed or reviewed, and the case was closed for failure to comply with the Court’s order of February 24, 2014, within the time allowed. Petitioner proceeded to submit a revised request (Petitioners Motion for Leave to File Petition for Writ of Certiorari And Application for Alternate Document Preparation Format).
7. Pursuant to SCOTUS Rule 30.3, this request was directed to Justice Sotomayor asking the Court to accept petitioner’s motion for leave to submit the petition for writ of certiorari out of time in order to rule on his request for filing under alternate document format. The Clerk’s Office rejected and returned petitioner’s request for the same reasons. Both requests were never received Justice Sotomayor’s review.
8. Although petitioner was not in strict compliance with the rules herein, he requests that the Court accept request for reconsideration to reopen the case, grant the filed petition, and find that any misunderstanding of court process may have been due to excusable lack of experience in judicial processes and/ or excusable neglect. The law does not expect parties who do not have background and skill in litigation to become sufficiently familiar with procedural and evidentiary rules such that they are equipped to conduct cases to trial on an equal footing with experienced counsel. Where permissible and appropriate, courts must give pro se litigants the benefit of the doubt, especially when petitioner had made a concerted effort to follow proper court procedure and rules, and is substantially compliant in judicial processes from below.
9. The purpose of the Supreme Court’s procedural and evidentiary rules is to ensure fairness, and prevent prejudice. Demanding technical perfection from the petitioner as a pro se litigant does nothing to further these purposes. Petitioner has thus far complied with the spirit, if not always the precise letter, of the rules, and any deficiencies in his compliance is harmless. The Court should not permit the inflexible application of procedural rules to deprive him of an opportunity to fairly present his case.
10. The issue at hand is that petitioner’s income affidavit clearly indicates he receives Social Security Disability benefits and is obviously on a fixed income. Despite this fact, the Court denied his leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP), and petitioner understands the Court can do this at its own discretion.
11. Importantly, petitioner challenges the court process where the Clerk’s Office denied him due process by refusing to file and have his requests reviewed by the Court simply due to a technicality and/ or one’s financial status. Petitioner is also aware that Court can exercise its discretion in determining which document preparation format of Rule 33 that petitions can be filed.
12. The issues and matters brought before the Court have merit, as the petitioner referred the unlawful conduct of the Respondent to the Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), who determined petitioner was discriminated against due to his disability, was denied reasonable accommodations, and was not offered alternative jobs that were available. Importantly, the issues and matters brought before this Court concern respondent’s violation of petitioner’s participation in protected activity, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), et al. This is further substantiated by the district court, which stated in pertinent part that given the findings by the KHRC and adopted by the EEOC, of “reasonable cause to believe that a violation of the law has occurred”, the court did not see any facial deficiencies regarding the merits of petitioner’s case.
13. As a result of the foregoing, the petitioner is under severe financial hardship, and sustained substantial damages due to respondent’s acts of discrimination, destroying petitioners financial, health, emotional and overall well-being.
14. Hence, the petitioner’s request for reconsideration to reopen his case, substantiated by applications filed with his request to proceed without pre-payment of the filing fee, are valid and truthful.
15. In addition to granting petitioner’s request for reconsideration to reopen his case, pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 1915(a), petitioner requests the Court to authorize commencement of action without prepayment if fees, costs, etc., and consider petitioner’s affidavit of financial status included with the petition, because of his lack of financial means. For reasons noted herein, petitioner’s financial resources are deficient and cannot cover the courts filing fees and costs associated with compliance to Rules of the Court, considering his status as head of household with minor children and numerous monthly expenses. Without this accommodation, petitioner has no due process.
16. The application to proceed IFP should be granted by this Court, in similar fashion as the applications granted by the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, both granted in 2013.
17. Both courts below exercised their liberal policies in granting petitioner due process, thus ensuring the courts availability to all persons, and not just those who cannot afford litigation expenses. See generally, Yellen v. Cooper, 828 F. 2d 1471 (10th Cir. 1987). The lower courts also performed a monthly expense/ income analysis of petitioner’s applications and affidavits. See Patillo v. N. Am. Van lines, Inc., No. 02-2162 Wl 1162684 at *1 (D.Kan. Apr. 15, July 17, 2002); Webb v. Cessna Aircraft, No. 00-2229, 2000 WL 1025575 at *1 (D. Kan. July 17, 2000) (denying motion because “Plaintiff is employed, with monthly income exceeding her monthly expenses by approximately $600.00”).
18. There is at minimum a substantial prospect that this Court will grant Petitioner’s Motion to Reconsider reopening his Writ of Certiorari and, indeed, a substantial prospect of reversal. In addition to involving extraordinarily important issues, the decisions of the lower courts are in admitted conflict with Supreme Court and Tenth Circuit precedent on the question of the application of bankruptcy laws towards the petitioner’s claims (and their context), with regard to the ADA.
CONCLUSION
Considering all of the information contained in the financial affidavit, and that stated herein, petitioner believes he is entitled to redress and requests the court:
1. Grant Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration to reopen the case and grant his application for Writ of Certiorari.
2. Find that he has adequately established entitlement to file this petition without payment of fees and costs, and therefore reverse the order, and grant petitioner leave to proceed IFP and direct that this case be filed without payment of a filing fee.
3. Find that no meaningful prejudice would arise from this application for filing in compliance with Rule 33.2 as an alternate document preparation format.
4. At the very least allow due process on this case.

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