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Middleton v. Omely Telecom Corp.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 14, 2017

ERVIN MIDDLETON, Plaintiff,
v.
OMELY TELECOM CORP., Defendant.

         Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 1) and Screening of Complaint (ECF No. 1-2)

          ORDER

          GEORGE FOLEY, JR. United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 1), filed on June 16, 2016.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brings this action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. §§ 227(a)(iii) and 227(b)(1). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated the TCPA by calling Plaintiff's home phone thirty-two (32) times and leaving thirty-two (32) recorded messages using an automatic telephone dialing system without his permission. Plaintiff represents that after receiving four (4) of the aforementioned calls, Plaintiff requested that Defendant stop calling his number and additionally to mail a copy of Defendant's “Do Not Call” policy to him. Plaintiff represents that by failing to comply with both requests, Defendant demonstrated willful or knowing non-compliance with 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(1)(B). As a result, Plaintiff now seeks injunctive relief and damages pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(3).

         DISCUSSION

          I. Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

          Plaintiff filed this instant action and attached a financial affidavit to his application and complaint as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Reviewing Plaintiff's financial affidavit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the Court finds that he is unable to pre-pay the filing fee. As a result, Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis in federal court is granted.

         II. Screening the Complaint

         Upon granting a request to proceed in forma pauperis, a court must additionally screen a complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). Specifically, federal courts are given the authority to dismiss a case if the action is legally “frivolous or malicious, ” fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant/third party plaintiff who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). A complaint, or portion thereof, should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted “if it appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claims that would entitle him to relief.” Buckey v. Los Angeles, 968 F.2d 791, 794 (9th Cir. 1992). A complaint may be dismissed as frivolous if it is premised on a nonexistent legal interest or delusional factual scenario. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989). Moreover, “a finding of factual frivolousness is appropriate when the facts alleged rise to the level of the irrational or the wholly incredible, whether or not there are judicially noticeable facts available to contradict them.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992). When a 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).

         III. Instant Complaint

         A. Telephone Consumer Protection Act

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant has violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The TCPA prohibits any person, absent the prior express consent from the telephone call recipient, from making “any call... using any automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice... to any telephone number assigned to... any service for which the called party is charged for the call.” 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(1)(A)(iii). A person or entity may bring an action based on a violation of the TCPA, codified in 47 U.S.C. § 227, to enjoin such action and/or to recover monetary loss or $500 in damages for each such violation. 27 U.S.C. § 227(b)(3). Further, if the court finds that the defendant willfully or knowingly violated the Act, the court may, in its discretion, triple the amount of the award. Id. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Omely Telecom willfully or knowingly failed to comply with the TCPA when it proceeded to call and leave recorded messages using an automatic telephone dialing system or artificial or prerecorded voices on Plaintiff's home phone without Plaintiff's consent, disregarding Plaintiff's express request that he not receive such calls. Therefore, Plaintiff has sufficiently pled a claim under the TCPA.

         Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis is granted. Plaintiff shall not be required to pre-pay the ...


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