United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER DENYING IFP
B. Leighton, United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's Application to
Proceed In Forma Pauperis [Dkt. 1]. Cook has attached to his
application a proposed complaint against Defendant Federated
Mutual Insurance Company (FMIC) seeking $15 million in
damages [Dkt. 1-1]. Because Cook's proposed complaint is
frivolous, his application to proceed in forma
pauperis is DENIED and his complaint is
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
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);
see also Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1228
(9th Cir. 1984).
pro se Plaintiff's complaint is to be construed
liberally, but like any other complaint it must nevertheless
contain factual assertions sufficient to support a facially
plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citing
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570,
127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). A claim for relief
is facially plausible when “the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
complaint does not meet this standard. Cook is a notorious
fraudster who has previously been identified on the
Washington State Insurance Commissioner's
“Insurance Fraud Most Wanted” list. See
(last visited Oct. 13, 2017). Cook has multiple fraud-related
convictions and is currently in custody awaiting trial in
Pierce County Superior Court on eighteen counts of identity
theft, theft, and forgery. See State of Washington v.
Cook, Crim. Case No. 17-1-01283-3; see also Cook v.
Washington State Ins. Comm'n, No. 3:17-cv-05793-JRC
(W.D. Wash. 2017), Dkt. 1-1 at 7-10.
alleged claims against FMIC appear to relate to an insurance
fraud scheme stemming from a 2013 car accident, in which Cook
submitted fraudulent claims for lost wages and Cook's
nephew falsely claimed that he was a passenger in Cook's
vehicle. The gravamen of Cook's complaint is that FMIC
was responsible for instigating criminal charges against him
after learning that Cook had submitted false insurance claims
related to the 2013 car accident. See Dkt. 1-1. Cook
Id. at ¶9. Cook seeks a total of $15 million in
damages from FMIC, essentially claiming that FMIC is
responsible for his misfortune because they reported his
fraudulent insurance claims. Cook's complaint seeks $10
million in punitive damages from FMIC for pain and suffering
resulting from the death of his wife and mother-in-law who
died in a traffic accident in 2015. Id. at 5.
proposed complaint fails to articulate any plausible theory
as to how FMIC's reporting of his fraudulent insurance
claims, conduct which Cook pled guilty to, makes FMIC liable
for the tragic but unrelated passing of Cook's family
members in a traffic accident. See State of Washington v.
David Arnold Cook, Crim. Case No. 15-1-02875-0. The
Court concludes that Cook's complaint is frivolous
because it has no arguable substance in law or fact and the
Court can draw no reasonable inference that FMIC is liable
for the misconduct Cook alleges.
abovementioned reasons, the Application to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis [Dkt. 1] is DENIED. The Court
determines that granting Cook leave to amend his complaint
would be futile as no additional factual assertions would
support a plausible cause of action or claim for relief
against FMIC. See AmerisourceBergen Corp. v. Dialysist