United States District Court, D. Nevada
ORDER APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS (EFC
NO. 1) AND COMPLAINT (EFC NO. 1-2).
Ferenbach, United States Magistrate Judge.
matter concerns Plaintiff Hal Goldblatt's (“Mr.
Goldblatt's”) civil action against Nancy A.
Berryhill, the acting Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration. See ECF No. 1-2. Before the Court
are Mr. Goldblatt's application to proceed in forma
pauperis (ECF No. 1) and complaint (ECF No. 1-2). Mr.
Goldblatt's application to proceed in forma
pauperis is granted. For the reasons stated below, Mr.
Goldblatt's complaint is allowed to proceed.
In Forma Pauperis Application
standard governing in forma pauperis eligibility
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) is “unable to pay
such fees or give security therefor.” This means that
an IFP applicant must demonstrate by means of a financial
affidavit that he or she cannot afford court fees without
undue hardship-that is, paying for the costs of the suit
would require the applicant to give up the basic necessities
of life. See Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours &
Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948) (“[A]n affidavit is
sufficient which states that one cannot because of his
poverty ‘pay or give security for the costs …
and still be able to provide himself and dependents with
the necessities of life.”). An IFP applicant need not
be “absolutely destitute” to qualify for IFP
status. Id. Of course, “the same even-handed
care must be employed to assure that federal funds are not
squandered to underwrite, at public expense … the
remonstrances of a suitor who is financially able, in whole
or in material part, to pull his own oar.” See
Temple v. Ellerthorpe, 586 F.Supp. 848, 850 (D.R.I.
Goldblatt has submitted the affidavit required by 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a) showing an inability to prepay fees and costs
or give security for them. See ECF No. 1. Mr.
Goldblatt's IFP application states that he is unemployed
and has no monthly income other than $750 of employment
income from his spouse. Id. at 1. Mr.
Goldblatt's net assets are limited. Id. Mr.
Goldblatt has adequately shown his inability to pay fees and
costs. The request to proceed in forma pauperis will
be granted under § 1915(a). The Court will now review
Mr. Goldblatt's Complaint.
Screening the Complaint Under § 1915(e)
granting a request to proceed in forma pauperis,
courts must screen the complaint. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d
1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000) (“[S]ection 1915(e) applies
to all in forma pauperis complaints.”)
(emphasis added). Specifically, courts may 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 who is immune from such relief.
Id. The purpose of this screening process is to
“discourage the filing of, and waste of judicial and
private resources upon, baseless lawsuits that paying
litigants generally do not initiate because of the cost of
bringing suit.” See Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 327 (1989). Indeed, the statutory benefit to
proceed in forma pauperis is conferred as a
privilege only, not as a matter of right. See Williams v.
Field, 394 F.2d 329, 332 (9th Cir. 1968).
plaintiff seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, courts
require that the plaintiff's complaint provide sufficient
notice of the basis of the claims presented and state a claim
for relief. See, e.g., Watison v.
Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012). Under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a complaint must contain a
“short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009). Detailed factual
allegations are not required. Id. But “labels
and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007). All material allegations in the complaint are
accepted as true and are to be construed in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. Russell v. Landrieu, 621
F.2d 1037, 1039 (9th Cir. 1980). Where the claims in a
complaint fail to cross the line from conceivable to
plausible, they should be dismissed. See Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570. When a court dismisses a complaint under
§ 1915(e), however, 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. Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106
(9th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted).
The Complaint States a Claim Upon Which Relief may be
Goldblatt's Complaint arises from an unfavorable decision
by the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(hereinafter “Commissioner”). See EFC
No. 1-2. Mr. Goldblatt asserts that she is disabled as that
term is defined in the Social Security Act. Id. at
2. Mr. Goldblatt alleges that he filed an application for
disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social
Security Act. Id. According to Mr. Goldblatt, the
Commissioner denied his claim for benefits on February 9,
2016. Id. Mr. Goldblatt alleges that he has timely
appealed the decision of the Commissioner to this Court, and
requests that this Court reverse the Commissioner's
decision or, in the alternative, remand the action for a new
hearing. Id. at 3. In particular, Mr. Goldblatt
objects to the Commissioner's decision on the following
The ALJ erred by failing to include all of the limitations
opined by the experts whose opinions he adopted in the RFC
finding; as a result, the findings at the subsequent steps of
the sequential evaluation based on the deficient RFC are in
error. SSR 96-8p; Reddick v. Chater, 157 F.3d 715,
725 (9th Cir. 1998).
The ALJ failed, contrary to Agency policy and Ninth Circuit
precedent, to appropriately and adequately evaluate the
opinions of Plaintiff's treating sources, which establish
work-related limitations far greater than those identified in
the ALJ's residual functional capacity finding (RFC). 20
C.F.R. § 404.1527; Garrison v. Colvin, 759 F.3d
995, 1012 (9th Cir. 2014); Molina v. Astrue, 674
F.3d 1104 (9th Cir. 2012); Bayliss v. Barnhart, 427
F.3d 1211 (9th Cir. 2005); Lester v. Chater, 81 F.3d
821, 830 (9th Cir. 1995).
The ALJ failed in his duty to “develop the record for
and against awarding benefits.” Sims v. Apfel,
530 U.S. 103, 110 (2000); Mayes v. Massanari, ...