Rule 240. In Forma Pauperis.

 (a)  This rule shall apply to all civil actions and proceedings except actions pursuant to the Protection from Abuse Act.

   Official Note

   The term ‘‘all civil actions and proceedings’’ includes all domestic relations actions except those brought pursuant to the Protection From Abuse Act, which are governed by 23 Pa.C.S. §  6106.

 (b) A party who is without financial resources to pay the costs of litigation is entitled to proceed in forma pauperis.

 (c)  Except as provided by subdivision (d), the party shall file a petition and an affidavit in the form prescribed by subdivision (h). The petition may not be filed prior to the commencement of an action or proceeding or the taking of an appeal.

   (1) (i) If the petition is filed simultaneously with the commencement of the action or proceeding or with the taking of the appeal, the prothonotary shall docket the matter and petition without the payment of any filing fee.

     (ii)   If the court shall thereafter deny the petition, the petitioner shall pay the filing fee for commencing the action or proceeding or taking the appeal. A party required to pay such fee may not without leave of court take any further steps in the action, proceeding or appeal so long as such fee remains unpaid. Not sooner than ten days after notice of the denial of the petition pursuant to Rule 236, the prothonotary shall enter a judgment of non pros in the action or proceeding or strike the appeal if the fee remains unpaid. The action, proceeding or appeal shall be reinstated only by the court for good cause shown.

   (2)  If the action or proceeding is commenced or the appeal is taken without the simultaneous filing of a petition, the appropriate filing fee must be paid and shall not be refunded if a petition is thereafter filed and granted.

   (3)  Except as provided by subdivision (j)(2), the court shall act promptly upon the petition and shall enter its order within twenty days from the date of the filing of the petition. If the petition is denied, in whole or in part, the court shall briefly state its reasons.

 (d)(1) If the party is represented by an attorney, the prothonotary shall allow the party to proceed in forma pauperis upon the filing of a praecipe which contains a certification by the attorney that he or she is providing free legal service to the party and believes the party is unable to pay the costs.

   (2)  The praecipe shall be substantially in the form prescribed by subdivision (i).

 (e)  A party permitted to proceed in forma pauperis has a continuing obligation to inform the court of improvement in the party’s financial circumstances which will enable the party to pay costs.

 (f)  A party permitted to proceed in forma pauperis shall not be required to

   (1)  pay any cost or fee imposed or authorized by Act of Assembly or general rule which is payable to any court or prothonotary or any public officer or employee, or

   (2)  post bond or other security for costs as a condition for commencing an action or proceeding or taking an appeal.

 (g)  If there is a monetary recovery by judgment or settlement in favor of the party permitted to proceed in forma pauperis, the exonerated fees and costs shall be taxed as costs and paid to the prothonotary by the party paying the monetary recovery. In no event shall the exonerated fees and costs be paid to the indigent party.

 (h)  The affidavit in support of a petition for leave to proceed in forma pauperis shall be substantially in the following form:
(Caption)

   1. I am the (plaintiff) (defendant) in the above matter and because of my financial condition am unable to pay the fees and costs of prosecuting or defending the action or proceeding.

   2. I am unable to obtain funds from anyone, including my family and associates, to pay the costs of litigation.

   3. I represent that the information below relating to my ability to pay the fees and costs is true and correct:

 (a)  Name:



Address:



 (b)  Employment
 If you are presently employed, state
Employer:



Address:


Salary or wages per month:

Type of work:

 If you are presently unemployed, state
Date of last employment:

Salary or wages per month:

Type of work:

 (c)  Other income within the past twelve months
Business or profession:



Other self-employment:

Interest:

Dividends:

Pension and annuities:

Social security benefits:

Support payments:

Disability payments:

Unemployment compensation and
supplemental benefits:

  Workers’ compensation:



Public assistance:

Other:


 (d)  Other contributions to household support
(Wife) (Husband) Name:



 If your (wife) (husband) is employed, state
Employer:

Salary or wages per month:

Type of work:

Contributions from children:

Contributions from parents:

Other contributions:

 (e)  Property ownedCash:



Checking account:

Savings account:

Certificates of deposit:

Real estate (including home):

Motor vehicle: Make
, Year

Cost
, Amount Owed $

Stocks and bonds:

Other:

 (f)  Debts and Obligations
Mortgage:



Rent:

Loans:
Other:


 (g)  Persons dependent upon you for support
(Wife) (Husband) Name:



Children, if any:
Name:
 Age:


  


  

Other Persons:Name:

Relationships:

 4. I understand that I have a continuing obligation to inform the court of improvement in my financial circumstances which would permit me to pay the costs incurred herein.

 5. I verify that the statements made in this affidavit are true and correct. I understand that false statements herein are made subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. §  4904, relating to unsworn falsification to authorities.
Date:




Petitioner

 (i)  The praecipe required by subdivision (d) shall be substantially in the following form:

(Caption)

PRAECIPE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS



To the Prothonotary:


 Kindly allow


, (Plaintiff) (Defendant) to proceed in forma pauperis.

 I,


, attorney for the party proceeding in forma pauperis, certify that I believe the party is unable to pay the costs and that I am providing free legal service to the party.

   


Attorney for

 (j)(1)  If, simultaneous with the commencement of an action or proceeding or the taking of an appeal, a party has filed a petition for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, the court prior to acting upon the petition may dismiss the action, proceeding or appeal if the allegation of poverty is untrue or if it is satisfied that the action, proceeding or appeal is frivolous.

   Official Note

   A frivolous action or proceeding has been defined as one that ‘‘lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.’’ Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U. S. 319, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989).

   (2)  If the petitioner commences the action by writ of summons, the court shall not act on the petition for leave to proceed in forma pauperis until the complaint is filed. If the complaint has not been filed within ninety days of the filing of the petition, the court may dismiss the action pursuant to subdivision (j)(1).

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 240 adopted March 25, 1983, effective April 1, 1983, 13 Pa.B. 1125; amended March 11, 1991, effective July 1, 1991, 21 Pa.B. 1274; amended November 26, 1991, effective January 1, 1992, 21 Pa.B. 5715; amended April 3, 1992, effective immediately, 22 Pa.B. 2221; amended June 3, 1994, effective September 1, 1994, 24 Pa.B. 3018; amended April 19, 1995, effective July 1, 1995, 25 Pa.B. 1767; amended April 12, 1999, effective July 1, 1999, 29 Pa.B. 2266; amended June 8, 2001, effective July 1, 2001, 31 Pa.B. 3305; amended October 22, 2009, effectively immediately, 39 Pa.B. 6426; amended March 2, 2012, effective April 2, 2012, 42 Pa.B. 1363. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (346197) to (346201).



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