United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
February 18, 2014
MICHELLE GILBERT, Plaintiff,
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING IFP [Dkt. #1]
RONALD B. LEIGHTON, District Judge.
THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Gilbert's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis [Dkt. #1]. Gilbert is pro se. Her proposed Complaint is difficult to follow, but she apparently claims that the Defendants violated FOIA and the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. §552(a)) when they "willfully disclosed her son's records to her parents and their attorney." The case appears to involve a State Court custody issue regarding Gilbert's disabled son. Gilbert was determined to be in default, and an Order awarding joint custody over her son was awarded to her parents. Indeed, it appears from the Findings and Conclusions in the underlying state court action that Gilbert agreed to this arrangement. All of these events occurred in 2001 and 2002. There is no indication that Gilbert appealed the underlying decisions.
In any event, Gilbert claims that "Social Security" is paying her son's social security benefits to her parents, and not to her, based on what she claims were "fraudulent" state court decisions.
A district court may permit indigent litigants to proceed in forma pauperis upon completion of a proper affidavit of indigency. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). The court has broad discretion in resolving the application, but "the privilege of proceeding in forma pauperis in civil actions for damages should be sparingly granted." Weller v. Dickson, 314 F.2d 598, 600 (9th Cir. 1963), cert. denied 375 U.S. 845 (1963). Moreover, a court should "deny leave to proceed in forma pauperis at the outset if it appears from the face of the proposed complaint that the action is frivolous or without merit." Tripati v. First Nat'l Bank & Trust, 821 F.2d 1368, 1369 (9th Cir. 1987) (citations omitted); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). An in forma pauperis complaint is frivolous if "it ha[s] no arguable substance in law or fact." Id. (citing Rizzo v. Dawson, 778 F.2d 527, 529 (9th Cir. 1985); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1228 (9th Cir. 1984).
It is apparent from the face of Gilbert's complaint that her claims are time-barred, as they accrued more than a decade ago. It is also clear that at least some of her claims ask this Court to overturn various Clark County Superior Court decisions, the which this Court cannot do as a matter of law. These defects cannot be cured by amendment.
The Motion for Leave to Proceed IFP is DENIED. Plaintiff shall pay the filing fee within 15 days of this Order, or the matter will be dismissed.