United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
A. TSUCHIDA Chief United States Magistrate Judge.
Qian Chen, appearing pro se, filed an application to
proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) and a proposed civil
complaint. Dkt. 1. The City of Seattle is named as a
defendant in the captions, but otherwise the IFP application
and complaint are blank. The docket reflects Plaintiff
telephoned the Clerk of Court to advise that, he is visually
impaired, he does not receive written mail, and he does not
intend to file any additional documents in this case. On
August 30, 2019, the same day he filed the IFP application
and complaint in this case, Plaintiff filed similarly blank
IFP applications and complaints in six other cases.
See No. 2:19-cv-01386-RAJ-BAT Chen v. Human
Rights Commission; No. 2:19-cv-01387-RAJ-MAT Chen v.
Martinez; No. 2:19-cv-01389-JCC-MAT Chen v.
Cantwell; No. 2:19-cv-01390-MJP-MLP Chen v.
University of Washington; No. 2:19-cv-01391-JCC-MLP
Chen v. Seattle Office for Civil Rights; and
2:19-cv-01392-RAJ-MAT Chen v. Department of Services for
undersigned recommends that Plaintiff's IFP application
be denied and his complaint be
dismissed without prejudice.
he submitted a blank IFP application, Plaintiff has failed to
make the financial showing required by 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(1). Although Plaintiff indicated to the Clerk that he
is visually impaired and has difficulties accessing his mail,
the record reflects that he previously filed several IFP
applications and complaints in this District. See
No. 2:07-cv-55-RSM Chen v. University of Washington
(filed 01/12/07, closed 03/05/08); No. 2:07-cv-00514-TSZ
Chen v. United States Department of Education (filed
04/06/07, closed 06/03/08); No. 2:08-cv-00160-JLR Chen v.
University of Washington (filed 01/31/08, closed
06/03/08); No. 2:08-cv-00426-JCC Chen v. University of
Washington (filed 03/13/08, closed 05/13/08); No.
2:08-cv-00427-RSL Chen v. Martinez (filed 03/13/08,
closed 05/05/08); No. 2:11-cv-02140-EFS Chen v.
University of Washington et al (filed 12/21/11, closed
Plaintiff's complaint is blank, this provides additional
reason to deny his IFP application. “‘A district
court may 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.'” Minetti v. Port of Seattle, 152
F.3d 1113, 1115 (9th Cir. 1998) (quoting Tripati v. First
Nat. Bank & Trust, 821 F.2d 1368, 1370 (9th Cir.
1987)). In fact, the court has a duty to examine any IFP
application to determine whether the proposed proceeding has
merit and if it appears that the proceeding is without merit,
the court is bound to deny the IFP application. Smart v.
Heinze, 347 F.2d 114, 116 (9th Cir. 1965).
the court must dismiss an in forma pauperis case at
any time if the allegation of poverty is found to be untrue
or if it is determined that the action is frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief against an immune
defendant. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). A
complaint is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable
basis in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d
1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). Under this standard, a court
must dismiss a complaint as frivolous where it is based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual
contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S.
at 327; 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
complaint is clearly without basis in law or fact because it
contains no factual contentions at all. Other than naming the
City of Seattle as defendant, the complaint is blank. In
addition, while a local government unit or municipality (such
as the City of Seattle), can be sued as a
“person” under § 1983, a municipality may
only be held liable for an official's unconstitutional
conduct under § 1983 if such conduct was caused by a
city policy or custom. Monell v. Dep't of Social
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691-94, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d
611 (1978); Menotti v. City of Seattle, 409 F.3d
1113, 1147 (9th Cir.2005) (citing Monell, 436 U.S.
at 691- 94). A municipality cannot be held liable solely
because it employs a tortfeasor, under a respondeat superior
theory. Monell, 436 U.S. at 691.
plaintiff must show the identified policies or customs were
the “moving force” behind the constitutional
violation. See id. at 694-95. That is, a plaintiff
must demonstrate “a direct causal link between a
municipal policy or custom and the alleged constitutional
deprivation.” City of Canton v. Harris, 489
U.S. 378, 385, 109 S.Ct. 1197, 103 L.Ed.2d 412 (1989). Here,
Plaintiff has made no allegations of such policies or
the foregoing deficiencies, it is at least possible that
Plaintiff can file an IFP application with a sufficient
financial showing and a complaint stating a factually and
legally sufficient cause of action against a proper
defendant, as he has demonstrated an ability to do so in the
past. For this reason, the undersigned recommends that
Plaintiff's IFP application be denied,
but that his complaint be denied without
prejudice. A proposed order of dismissal accompanies
this Report and Recommendation.
objections to this Recommendation must be filed no later than
September 26, 2019. The Clerk should note
the matter for September 30, 2019, as ready
for the District Judge's consideration if no objection is
filed. Objections shall not ...