United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
B. Leighton United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Petitioner (or Plaintiff)
O'Hagan's Motion for Leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. O'Hagen claims he makes $24, 0000 per year and
has assets of $100, 000. It does not appear that he is in
custody, at least not anymore. Nevertheless, attached to his
application is a “Proposed Petition for Relief from
Bondage” addressed to this Court, the Washington
Supreme Court, and the Pacific County Superior Court.
O'Hagen also attaches what appears to be a prior
“Third Habeas petition” filed in the Supreme
Court, a 2002 Bankruptcy Order regarding a debtor against
whom O'Hagen apparently had a claim (Kelley), and a
transcript of a bankruptcy hearing in that adversary
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
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
proposed filing does not meet this standard. First, it does
not appear that he is indigent, he has assets and the ability
to borrow capital to operate his farm. More importantly,
O'Hagen has filed to state a plausible claim against any
defendant, for anything. His filings relate to long-since
complete bankruptcy proceeding, and two efforts to obtain
habeas or similar relief in the form of release from prison.
But O'Hagen has already been released. If he is seeking
to file what would apparently be a fourth habeas petition, he
would have to obtain permission from the 9th Circuit.
is seeking to sue some person or entity for something, he
must identify the defendant(s), what they did, the claim, the
basis for this Court's jurisdiction over the claim and
the parties, and describe a factual story-the “who,
what, when, where, why, and how”- supporting a
plausible claim for relief in this Court. O'Hagen's
current filing does none of these things, and his Motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED. He shall pay
the filing fee or file a proposed amended complaint within 21
days of this Order, or the matter will be dismissed without
further notice. Any revised filing should address first,
whether O'Hagen is indigent as described above. Any