United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA
B. LEIGHTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on pro se Plaintiff Peterson's
Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis,
supported by his proposed complaint. Peterson (on behalf of
himself and his minor daughter, RP) is attempting to sue the
State of Washington and the Grays Harbor Superior court for
“many malices.” The gist appears to be
Peterson's claim that RP was raped by a third party, and
he is apparently unhappy with the way the state court handled
either his custody case or the case arising out of the rape.
He also seems to blame his ex-girlfriend, Sheena, who, he
claims, lied about him in state court and abuses drugs.
Peterson's handwritten complaint is very difficult to
read or comprehend.
case recites some of the same facts as another case Peterson
recently sought to file here, Peterson v Quinault Beach
Resort, Cause No. 17-5604. His IFP application in that
case was denied because he claimed he had “money for
lawyers.” He has revised his claim in that case, though
his complaint in this case continues to allege that he is
employed and is a successful musician.
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.
the Court will permit pro se litigants an opportunity to
amend their complaint in order to state a plausible claim.
See United States v. Corinthian Colleges, 655 F.3d
984, 995 (9th Cir. 2011) (“Dismissal without leave to
amend is improper unless it is clear, upon de novo review,
that the complaint could not be saved by any
amendment.”) Where the facts are not in dispute, and
the sole issue is whether there is liability as a matter of
substantive law, the court may deny leave to amend.
Albrecht v. Lund, 845 F.2d 193, 195-96 (9th Cir.
a federal court may dismiss a claim sua sponte under
Fed.R.Civ..P. 12(b)(6) when it is clear that the plaintiff
cannot state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
See Omar v. Sea-Land Serv., Inc., 813 F.2d 986, 991
(9th Cir.1987) (“A trial court may dismiss a claim
sua sponte under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Such a
dismissal may be made without notice where the claimant
cannot possibly win relief.”). See also Mallard v.
United States Dist. Court, 490 U.S. 296, 307-08 (1989)
(there is little doubt a federal court would have the power
to dismiss frivolous complaint sua sponte, even in
absence of an express statutory provision). A complaint is
frivolous when it has no arguable basis in law or fact.
Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1228 (9th Cir.
not clear exactly who Peterson seeks to sue, or for what, or
why this Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter or
the parties. Even assuming that he is indigent,
Peterson's complaint does not specify what law or statute
or duty the defendant allegedly violated, or how, or even
when. But it is clear that he cannot sue the state court for
decisions it made in some other proceeding.
Court cannot and will not review or reverse decisions made in
state court. The Rooker-Feldman doctrine precludes
“cases brought by state-court losers complaining of
injuries caused by state-court judgments . . . and inviting
district court review and rejection of those
judgments.” Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus.
Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284, 125 S.Ct. 1517, 1521, 161
L.Ed.2d 454 (2005). [W]hen a losing plaintiff in state court
brings a suit in federal district court asserting as legal
wrongs the allegedly erroneous legal rulings of the state
court and seeks to vacate or set aside the judgment of that
court, the federal suit is a forbidden de facto
appeal. Noel v. Hall, 341 F.3d 1148, 1156 (9th Cir.
2003); Carmona v. Carmona, 603 F.3d 1041, 1050 (9th
cannot state a plausible claim against the superior court for
its actions or decisions in the prior case. It would be
futile to permit him to amend his complaint in an attempt to
also clear that Peterson cannot represent anyone or any
entity other than himself as a pro se litigant.
Although a non-attorney may appear in propria
persona in his own behalf, that privilege is personal to
him. McShane v. United States, 366 F.2d 286, 288
(9th Cir. 1966). He has no authority to appear as an attorney
for others than himself. Russell v. United States,
308 F.2d 78, 79 (9th Cir. 1962); Collins v.
O'Brien, 208 F.2d 44, 45 (D.C.Cir.1953), cert.
denied, 347 U.S. 944, 74 S.Ct. 640, 98 L.Ed. 1092
(1954). The real party in interest must be the person who
“by substantive law has the right to be
enforced.” See C.E. Pope Equity Trust v.
United States, 818 F.2d 696, 697 (9th Cir. 1987);
see also McShane v. United States, 366 F.2d 286, 288
(9th Cir.1966) (the privilege to represent oneself pro
se provided by section 1654 is personal to the litigant
and does not extend to other parties or entities). A
non-lawyer representative cannot litigate claims that are not
personal to him.
cannot represent his daughter-who appears to be the real
party in interest-in this or any other case, and it would be
futile for him to amend his complaint to assert different
facts in an attempt to do so.
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED. He
will not be permitted to amend his complaint. ...