United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ON MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
B. Leighton, United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiffs’ third Motion
to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. Dkt. # 17. Although
the Court acknowledged that Plaintiffs had demonstrated
indigency, the Court denied their last motion to proceed
in forma pauperis because Plaintiff’s 81-page
proposed amended complaint did not state a plausible claim.
Dkt. # 15. Plaintiffs’ have now submitted another
proposed amended complaint, the body of which has been
trimmed down to a svelte 70 pages. Dkt. # 16. The heart of
Plaintiffs’ case concerns a determination by Child
Protective Services to remove Plaintiff Nohemi
Estrada’s son, Josiah, from her custody. That decision,
which was premised on Josiah’s malnutrition and
Nohemi’s supposed failure to address Josiah’s
mental health concerns, was ultimately reversed by an
administrative law judge for lack of supporting evidence.
See Dkt. # 16, Ex. 1, at 12.
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.
person is eligible to proceed in forma pauperis if
they are unable to pay the costs of filing and still provide
the necessities of life. See Rowland v. Cal. Men's
Colony, Unit II Men’s Advisory Council, 506 U.S.
194, 203 (1993) (internal quotations omitted). However, 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.
15(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). A 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.
latest complaint alleges seven causes of action for §
1983 violation of constitutional rights, Monell
liability under § 1983, “violation of civil
rights, ” intentional infliction of emotional distress,
abuse of process, invasion of privacy, and negligence.
Plaintiffs have also sued fourteen named defendants, all of
which work for either the Washington Department of Social and
Health Services (DSHS), the Clark County Juvenile Justice
Center (JJC), and the Washington Office of Public Defense
(OPD). Plaintiffs have also sued all three of those
departments themselves and 50 fictitious Doe defendants.
apparently ignored the Court’s advice that there is
“no need for an 81-page complaint, and there is no need
for any sort of detailed legal analysis.” Dkt. # 15 at
5. Their complaint is exceedingly long and includes myriad
inconsequential details. But the clutter of Plaintiffs’
complaint obscures any concrete, understandable explanation
of what discrete act, or acts, underlie their claims.
Instead, Plaintiffs seem to believe that every government
actor they have encountered (in addition to 50 that they
cannot even name or describe) have violated their rights and
are in collusion against them. Many of the allegations in the
complaint have to do with various Defendants making comments
that Plaintiffs disliked or failing to prevent other
Defendants from doing certain things. However, it is unclear
which of these acts amount to violations of law.
may be a plausible claim lurking somewhere within
Plaintiffs’ complaint, but the Court cannot discern it
among Plaintiffs’ rambling allegations and unfounded
clumping of defendants in conspiratorial groups. Rule 8
requires that “a claim for relief must contain: . . . a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2) (emphasis added). That requirement has not been met
here. Under these circumstances, the Court will not use its
discretion to grant in forma pauperis ...