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Scott v. Harrah's LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 9, 2017

DONALD A. SCOTT JR., Plaintiff,
HARRAH'S LLC, Defendant.



         This matter involves Plaintiff Donald A. Scott Jr.'s disability discrimination action against Defendant Harrah's LLC. Before the Court is Scott's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 1[1]) and Complaint (ECF No. 1-1). For the reasons stated below, Scott's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis is granted. Scott's Complaint should be dismissed with prejudice.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Donald A. Scott Jr. alleges that he worked at Harrah's Hotel & Casino from October 2006 to December 2015-a period of about 9 years. See ECF No. 1-1 at 6. In 2014, Scott asserts that he informed Harrah's management that he suffered from drug use/addiction. Id. Scott claims that he voluntarily sought treatment and rehab services. Id. According to Scott, Harrah's accommodated his drug treatment by adjusting his work schedule. Id. Scott alleges that Harrah's management “suspected [Scott] to be under the influence and spoke to [him] on multiple occasions.” Id. But after each time, Scott returned to his work. Id. In November 2015, Scott returned to rehab. Id. at 7. According to Scott, Harrah's management was aware of his return to rehab. Id. On December 7, 2015, Harrah's randomly drug tested Scott, suspending him without pay pending the results. Id. The results came back positive. Id. Scott acknowledges that he “used marijuana approximately 2 to 3 weeks before the drug test.” Id. at 8. Harrah's management allegedly told Scott that he was not taking his rehab and treatment program seriously. Id. On the day before Christmas, Harrah's fired Scott.

         Scott brings claims for disability discrimination, wrongful termination, and retaliation against Harrah's. ECF No. 1-1 at 4.

         II. Discussion

         Scott's filings present two questions for this Court: (1) whether Scott may proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) and (2) whether Scott's complaint states a plausible claim for relief.

         A. In Forma Pauperis

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a), a filing fee is required to commence a civil action in federal court. The Court may authorize the commencement of an action without prepayment of fees and costs or security therefor, by a person who submits an affidavit that includes a statement showing the person is unable to pay such costs. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). The standard governing in forma pauperis eligibility under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) is “unable to pay such fees or give security therefor.” Determination of what constitutes “unable to pay” or unable to “give security therefor” and, therefore whether to allow a plaintiff to proceed in forma pauperis, is left to the discretion of the presiding judge, based on the information submitted by the plaintiff or plaintiffs. See, e.g., Fridman v. City of New York, 195 F.Supp.2d 534, 536 (S.D.N.Y.), aff'd, 52 Fed.Appx. 157 (2nd Cir. 2002).

         Scott asserts in his application to proceed in forma pauperis that he does not earn any income. ECF No. 1 at 1. He previously worked as a dice dealer at Tuscany Suites and Casino making minimum wage plus tips for about a year until March 2017. Id. He is living with his family and has no savings. Id. at 2. Scott has monthly expenses of about $565, including $75 for rent, $40 for his cell phone, and $450 for child support. Id. Scott took out multiple cash loans totaling $500. Id. The Court grants Scott's application to proceed in forma pauperis.

         B. Screening the Complaint

         a. Legal Standard

         After a court grants a plaintiff in-forma-pauperis status, it must review the operative complaint to determine whether it is “frivolous or malicious, ” fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). This review is guided by two legal standards: (1) Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 and (2) the Supreme Court's decision in Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a) provides that a complaint “that states a claim for relief must contain … a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the [plaintiff] is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The Supreme Court's decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal states that in order to satisfy Rule 8's requirements a complaint's allegations must cross “the line from conceivable to plausible.” 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950-51 (2009). The Court's decisions in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. ...

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