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Albanese v. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 25, 2017




         Before the Court are Albanese's application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 1) and complaint (ECF No. 1-1). For the reasons stated below, the Court recommends that Albanese's complaint be dismissed.

         I. Discussion

         A. In Forma Pauperis

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a), a filing fee is required to commence a civil action in federal court. Courts 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.” Id. Determining 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 courts, based on the information submitted by the plaintiff. See, e.g., Dillard v. Liberty Loan Corp., 626 F.2d 363, 364 (4th Cir. 1980) (“A district court has discretion to grant or deny an in forma pauperis petition filed under s 1915.”); 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).

         Albanese has requested authority to proceed in forma pauperis and submitted the required affidavit. See ECF No. 1. Other than the small amount Albanese brings in from “panhandling, ” she has no income or assets. Id. The Court finds that she is unable to pay fees and costs or give security for them. Based on Albanese's state of penury, the Court grants her application to proceed in forma pauperis.

         B. Screening the Complaint Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)

         Upon granting a request to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court must screen a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Federal courts are given the authority to dismiss a case if the action (1) is legally “frivolous or malicious, ” (2) fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or (3) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Section 1915 was enacted to conserve judicial resources by empowering courts to dismiss actions, “which fall somewhere between the frivolous and the farcical and so foster disrespect for our laws.” Crawford-El v. Britton, 523 U.S. 574, 601 (1998) (Kennedy, J., concurring).

         Where a pro se litigant is involved, however, courts are directed to hold the litigant to “less stringent standards.” See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). “Such litigants often lack the resources and freedom necessary to comply with the technical rules of modern litigation.” Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 244-45 (3d Cir. 2013) (citing Moore v. Florida, 703 F.2d 516, 520 (11th Cir. 1983)).

         If the court dismisses a complaint under § 1915(e), the plaintiff should be given leave to amend the complaint with directions as to curing its deficiencies, unless it is clear from the face of the complaint that the deficiencies could not be cured by amendment. See Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted). However, pro se litigants “should not be treated more favorably than parties with attorneys of record, ” Jacobsen v. Filler, 790 F.2d 1362, 1364 (9th Cir. 1986); rather, they must follow the same rules of procedure that govern other litigants. See Ghazali v. Moran, 46 F.3d 52, 54 (9th Cir. 1995).

         The Complaint in this matter is a one-page document naming the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (“Metro”) as the defendant. See ECF No. 1-1. Albanese claims a violation of her civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, obstruction of justice, and a denial of equal protection under the law. Id. Albanese's complaint states in its entirety the following:

Denying me equal protection under the law by not informing me 1107 E-Desert Inn # 3 and 9 are observing me in my room. And that listening device is being use by them to spy on me. Obstruction of justice by not informing law enforcement that Apts. 3 and 9 are observing me in my room and that Apt 3 has hacked into my phone.

Id. She seeks $500, 000 in damages. Id. For the reasons discussed below, the Court finds that Albanese's complaint should be dismissed as frivolous because its claims are duplicative of the claims in Albanese's other pending actions.

         Courts are not required to entertain duplicative or redundant lawsuits and may dismiss them as frivolous or malicious under § 1915(e). See Cato, 70 F.3d at 1105 n. 2 (noting that courts may dismiss under § 1915 a complaint that merely repeats pending or previously litigated claims); see also Aziz v. Burrows, 976 F.2d 1158, 1158 (8th Cir. 1992) (“district courts may dismiss a duplicative complaint raising issues directly related to issues in another pending action brought by the same party”); Adams v. Cal. Dep't of Health Servs., 487 F.3d 684, 688 (9th Cir. 2007) (“Plaintiffs generally have ‘no right to maintain two separate actions involving the same subject matter at the same time in the same court and against the same defendant.”), overruled in ...

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