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Williams v. Bunin

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 31, 2019

MICHAEL K. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
DANIEL BUNIN, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          GEORGE FOLEY, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 1), filed on June 11, 2018.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that his court appointed counsel, Daniel Bunin, Esq., engaged in attorney misconduct and did not adequately represent him in violation of his 6th Amendment rights under the United States Constitution. He alleges that his counsel failed to communicate with him, failed to cooperate with him, and failed to adequately investigate his case in violation of the American Bar Association Rules of Professional Conduct and the Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct. Plaintiff's counsel failed to challenge his counts as “redundant.” Plaintiff further alleges that his right to a speedy trial was also violated. He alleges that the “Eighth Judicial District Court Clerk of the Courts” did not act as stewards of the Court and were deceptive. Plaintiff filed a motion to substitute and/or appoint new counsel and that the Clerks of the Court denied such motion to appoint him new counsel. . . . . . .

         DISCUSSION

         I. Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis

         Plaintiff filed this instant action and attached a financial affidavit as well as a copy of his trust fund account to his application and complaint as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). When a prisoner brings a civil action IFP, the prisoner is still required to pay the full amount of the filing fee. The court is required to assess, and when funds exist, collect an initial partial payment of 20 percent of the greater of: (A) the average monthly deposits in the prisoner's account or (B) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account for the six-month period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint. Thereafter, whenever the prisoner's account exceeds $10, the prisoner must make monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoners account until the filing fees are paid. The funds are to be forwarded by the agency having custody of the prisoner. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), (2).

         The regular filing fee is $400, consisting of the $350 filing fee and a $50 administrative fee. If an inmate does not qualify for IFP status, he must pay the full $400 filing fee. If the inmate qualifies for IFP status, the $50 administrative fee is waived, and the inmate will only pay the $350 filing fee over time. Reviewing Plaintiff's financial affidavit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the Court finds that Plaintiff 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

         Federal courts must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C.§ 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2).

         In addition to the screening requirements under § 1915A, pursuant to the PLRA, a federal court must dismiss a prisoner's claims, “if the allegation of poverty is untrue, ” or if the action “is frivolous or malicious, ” “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted is provided for in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and the Court applies the same standard under Section 1915(e)(2) when reviewing the adequacy of a complaint or amended complaint.

         Review under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) is essentially a ruling on a question of law. See Chappel v. Laboratory Corp. of America, 232 F.3d 719, 723 (9th Cir. 2000). Dismissal for failure to state a claim is proper only if it is clear that the plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of the claim that would entitle him or her to relief. See Morley v. Walker, 175 F.3d 756, 759 (9th Cir. 1999). In making this determination, the Court takes as true all allegations of material fact stated in the complaint, and the Court construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Warshaw v. Xoma Corp., 74 F.3d 955, 957 (9th Cir. 1996). Allegations in a pro se complaint are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. See Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972) (per curiam). While 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, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-1965 (2007). A formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action is insufficient. Id., See Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).

         All or part of a complaint filed by a prisoner may therefore be dismissed sua sponte if the prisoner's claims lack an arguable basis either in law or in fact. This includes claims based on legal conclusions that are untenable (e.g. claims against defendants who are immune from suit or claims of infringement of a legal interest which clearly does not exist), as well as claims based on fanciful factual allegations (e.g. fantastic or delusional scenarios). See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989); see also McKeever v. Block, 932 F.2d 795, 798 (9th Cir. 1991).

         III. ...


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