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Albanese v. Regional Transportation Commision of Southern Nevada

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 24, 2017

GRACE ALBANESE, Plaintiff,
v.
REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION OF SOUTHERN NEVDA, Defendant.

          ORDER (IFP Application - ECF No. 1)

          PEGGY LEEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the court on Plaintiff Grace Albanese's Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and LSR 1-1 of the Local Rules of Practice. This Application is referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and LR IB 1-3 of the Local Rules of Practice.

         I. In Forma Pauperis Application

         Ms. Albanese is proceeding in this action pro se, which means that she is not represented by an attorney. See LSR 2-1. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and LSR 1-1, any person who is unable to prepay the fees in a civil case may apply to the court for authority to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”), meaning without prepaying the full $400 filing fee. Here, Albanese has requested authority to proceed IFP and submitted the affidavit required by § 1915(a) showing that she is unable to prepay fees and costs or give security for them. Accordingly, her request to proceed IFP will be granted and the court will review the complaint (ECF No. 1-1).

         II. Screening the Complaint

         Pursuant to § 1915(e), federal courts must screen all IFP complaints prior to a responsive pleading. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (§ 1915(e) applies to “all in forma pauperis complaints”). If the court determines that the complaint states a valid claim for relief, the court will direct the Clerk of the Court to issue summons to the defendant(s) and the plaintiff must then serve the summons and complaint within 90 days. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m). If the court determines that the complaint fails to state an actionable claim, the complaint is dismissed and the plaintiff is ordinarily given leave to amend with directions as to curing the pleading deficiencies, unless it is clear from the face of the complaint that the deficiencies could not be cured by amendment. Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995).

         Allegations in a pro se complaint are held to less stringent standards than formal pleading drafted by lawyers. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 n.7 (9th Cir. 2010). 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. Ghazali v. Moran, 46 F.3d 52, 54 (9th Cir. 1995).

         A. Ms. Albanese's Factual Allegations and Claims for Relief

         The complaint names the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (“RTC”) as the defendant and states that this action is based on a violation of Title VI's antidiscrimination law. Ms. Albanese alleges that on August 5, 2016, a bus driver told her to go to a different bus stop and board a different bus. The bus driver refused to allow her to board the bus and yelled at her. The bus driver was very angry that Albanese did not want to comply with those instructions. Albanese exited the bus and boarded another bus at a different bus stop. Ms. Albanese states that she suffered a humiliating sense of rejection and demands one million dollars for her psychological damage.

         For the reasons discussed below, the court finds that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         B. Legal Standard

         Federal courts are required to dismiss an IFP action if the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, is legally “frivolous or malicious, ” or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The standard for determining whether a plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under § 1915 is the same as the standard under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure[1] for failure to state a claim. Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012). A district court may dismiss a plaintiff's complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Review under Rule 12(b)(6) is essentially a ruling on a question of law. N. Star Intern. v. Ariz. Corp. Comm'n, 720 F.2d 578, 580 (9th Cir. 1983).

         A properly pled complaint must provide “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); accord Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The simplified pleading standard set forth in Rule 8(a) applies to all civil actions with limited exceptions. Alvarez v. Hill, 518 F.3d 1152, 1159 (9th Cir. 2008). Although Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, it demands “more than labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted). This requires a plaintiff to state “enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence” of the allegations charged. Cafasso, United States ex rel. v. General Dynamics C4 Systems, Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1055 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Mere recitals of the elements of a cause of action supported only by conclusory allegations do not suffice. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679-80. A complaint “must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively.” Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). Where the claims in the complaint have not crossed the line from plausible to conceivable, the complaint should be dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Stated differently, the factual allegations “must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief, such that it is not unfair to require the opposing party to be subjected to the expense of discovery and continued litigation.” Starr, 652 F.3d at 1216.

         C. ...


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