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 Plaintiff Roberts and Plaintiff
Williams ap0plications for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis, supported by their proposed complaint [Dkt. #s 1
and 2]. The complaint is very difficult to read or
comprehend. There seems to be a suggestion that the
plaihntiffs' children have been taken and placed in
foster care. Plaintiffs also attach a letter from
“Kevin Silverman” that discusses parenting styles
and actions that the Tumwater Police have taken against him,
which appear to be entirely unrelated to the plaintiffs.
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). This generally
includes incarcerated individuals with no assets and persons
who are unemployed and dependent on government assistance.
See, e.g., Ilagan v. McDonald, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
79889, at *2 (D. Nev. June 16, 2016) (granting petition based
on unemployment and zero income); Reed v. Martinez,
2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80629, at *1, 2015 WL 3821514 (D. Nev.
June 19, 2015) (granting petition for incarcerated individual
on condition that applicant provides monthly payments towards
filing fee). It does not include those whose access to the
court system is not blocked by their financial constraints,
but rather are in a position of having to weigh the financial
constraints pursuing a case imposes. See Sears, Roebuck
& Co. v. Charles W. Sears Real Estate, Inc., 686
F.Supp. 385, 388 (N.D. N.Y.), aff'd, 865 F.2d 22 (2d Cir.
1988) (denying petition to proceed IFP because petitioner and
his wife had a combined annual income of between $34, 000 and
$37, 000). Judd appears to have met the indigency component
of the in forma pauperis standard.
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 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.”)
plaintiffs have established their indigency, but their
complaint does not meet the standard for in forma pauperis
status. They list several defendants, and they broadly claim
violations of their fourth and fourteenth amendment rights
based on unlawful search and seixure (and violations of due
process) but there is no attempt to link any event or
defendant to any search; the children are not even mentioned.
There is no narrative description of what happened, to whom,
when, where or why, how it violated anyone's rights, or
who was involved. There is no plausible story and no
plausible claim contained in the Plaintiffs' filing.
Motions for Leave to proceed in forma pauperis are therefore
DENIED, and the Plaintiffs shall pay the
filing fee or file a proposed amended complaint
within 21 days. Any proposed amended
complaint should address and resolve the issues described
above. It must set forth the “who what when where and
why” of a plausible, viable claim against a defendant
over whom this Court has jurisdiction: what did each
defendant do, and why is it ...