United States District Court, D. Nevada
HOFFMAN, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the court is plaintiff's application to proceed
in forma pauperis (ECF No. 1), filed on March 19,
In Forma Pauperis Application
has submitted the declaration required by 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a) showing an inability to prepay fees and costs or give
security for them. Accordingly, plaintiff's request to
proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.
Screening the Complaint
granting a request to proceed in forma pauperis, a
court must screen the complaint under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). In screening the complaint, a court must identify
cognizable claims and dismiss claims that are frivolous,
malicious, file to state a claim on which relief may be
granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Dismissal for failure to state a claim under §
1915(e)(2) incorporates the standard for failure to state a
claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir.
2012). To survive § 1915 review, a complaint must
“contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). The court liberally construes pro se complaints
and may only dismiss them “if it appears beyond doubt
that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of
his claim which would entitle him to relief.”
Nordstrom v. Ryan, 762 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir. 2014)
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).
considering whether the complaint is sufficient to state a
claim, all allegations of material fact are taken as true and
construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Wyler Summit P'ship v. Turner Broad. Sys. Inc.,
135 F.3d 658, 661 (9th Cir. 1998) (citation omitted).
Although the standard under Rule 12(b)(6) does not require
detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff must provide more
than mere labels and conclusions. Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action is
insufficient. Id. Unless it is clear the
complaint's deficiencies could not be cured through
amendment, a pro se plaintiff should be given leave to amend
the complaint with notice regarding the complaint's
deficiencies. Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103,
1106 (9th Cir. 1995).
plaintiff's complaint challenges a decision by the Social
Security Administration (“SSA”), before filing a
lawsuit, the plaintiff must exhaust administrative remedies.
See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); see also Bass v.
Social Sec. Admin., 872 F.2d 832, 833 (9th Cir. 1989)
(per curiam) (“Section 405(g) provides that a civil
action may be brought only after (1) the claimant has been
party to a hearing held by the Secretary, and (2) the
Secretary has made a final decision on the claim”).
Generally, if the SSA denies a claimant's application for
disability benefits, the claimant may request reconsideration
of the decision. If the claim is denied at the
reconsideration level, a claimant may request a hearing
before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”). If
the ALJ denies the claim, a claimant may request review of
the decision by the Appeals Council. If the Appeals Council
declines to review the ALJ's decision, a claimant may
then request judicial review. See generally 20
C.F.R. §§ 404, 416.
plaintiff has exhausted administrative remedies, he may
obtain judicial review of a SSA decision denying benefits by
filing suit within 60 days after notice of a final decision.
Id. An action for judicial review of a determination
by the SSA must be brought “in the district court of
the United States for the judicial district in which the
plaintiff resides.” Id. The complaint should
state the nature of plaintiff's disability, when
plaintiff claims he became disabled, and when and how he
exhausted his administrative remedies. The complaint should
also contain a plain, short, and concise statement
identifying the nature of plaintiff's disagreement with
the determination made by the Social Security Administration
and show that plaintiff is entitled to relief. A district
court can affirm, modify, reverse, or remand a decision if
plaintiff has exhausted his administrative remedies and
timely filed a civil action. However, judicial review of the
Commissioner's decision to deny benefits is limited to
determining: (a) whether there is substantial evidence in the
record as a whole to support the findings of the
Commissioner; and (b) whether the correct legal standards
were applied. Morgan v. Commissioner of the Social
Security Adm., 169 F.3d 595, 599 (9th Cir. 1999).
plaintiff alleges that on January 26, 2018, the Appeals
Council denied her request for review, and, at that time, the
ALJ's decision became the final decision of the
Commissioner. Thus, it appears Plaintiff has exhausted her
administrative remedies. However, plaintiff does not state
the nature of her disability, when she claims she became
disabled, or the nature of her disagreement with the Social
Security Administration's findings. The court therefore
will dismiss plaintiff's complaint without prejudice for
the plaintiff to file an amended complaint.
plaintiff chooses to file an amended complaint, the document
must be titled “Amended Complaint.” The amended
complaint must state the nature of plaintiff's
disability, when plaintiff claims she became disabled, and
when and how she exhausted her administrative remedies. The
amended complaint also must contain a short and plain
statement identifying the nature of plaintiff's
disagreement with the determination made by the Social
Security Administration and show that plaintiff is entitled
to relief. Although the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
adopt a flexible pleading standard, plaintiff still must give
the Commissioner of Social Security fair notice of the
reasons plaintiff is seeking review of the Commissioner's
plaintiff is advised that if she files an amended complaint,
the original complaint (ECF No. 1-1) no longer serves any
function in this case. As such, the amended complaint must be
complete in and of itself without reference to prior
pleadings or other documents. The court cannot refer to a
prior pleading or other documents to make plaintiff's
amended complaint complete.
THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiffs application for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 1) is GRANTED.
Plaintiff will not be required to pay the filing fee in this
action. Plaintiff is permitted to maintain this action to
conclusion without the necessity of prepayment of any
additional fees or costs or the giving of a security for fees
or costs. This Order ...