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Gordon v. City of Henderson

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 2, 2019

STEPHANIE GORDON, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF HENDERSON, HENDERSON POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants.

          ORDER APPLICATION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS [ECF NO. 1] AND COMPLAINT [ECF NO. 1-1]

          CAM FERENBACH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Stephanie Gordon's Application for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 1) and Complaint (ECF No. 1-1). Plaintiff demonstrates an inability to pay her filing fee, but she does not state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Therefore, the Court grants her application to proceed in forma pauperis and orders that her complaint be dismissed without prejudice.

         IN FORMA PAUPERIS APPLICATION

         Every potential plaintiff must pay a filling fee to commence a civil action in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). The Court may allow a plaintiff to proceed in forma pauperis, without prepayment of the filing fee, if the plaintiff can demonstrate an inability to pay or give security for the fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). The presiding judge has discretion to determine whether the plaintiff is unable to pay or give security. Lasko v. Hampton & Hampton Collections, LLC, No. 2:15-cv-01110-APG-VCF, 2015 WL 5009787, at *1 (D. Nev. Aug. 21, 2015). The judge bases this determination on the information submitted by the plaintiff. Id.

         Plaintiff Gordon's in forma pauperis application states she has been unemployed since 2016 and homeless since February 13, 2018. (ECF No. 1 at 1). Plaintiff reports financial aid from the College of Southern Nevada. (Id.). She receives $3047 for each academic semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer). (Id.). Plaintiff claims she spent most of her financial aid from the Summer 2019 session on her late brother's funeral expenses. (Id.). In expenses, Plaintiff claims student loans, which she will start paying after graduation. (Id.). She also claims outstanding tickets from the City of Henderson in the amount of $1557, not including damages. (Id. at 2). In assets, Plaintiff claims a 2009 Ford Escape, which she uses for shelter. (Id.). Overall, Plaintiff claims no monthly income other than her financial aid, which is intended for the expenses of education such as buying books. Because of Plaintiff's homeless status, her lack of employment, and her school expenses, this Court finds she has demonstrated an inability to pay the filing fee. Therefore, her application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 1) is granted.

         SECTION 1915(e) SCREENING

         When the Court grants an in forma pauperis application, it must screen the case. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The Court must dismiss a case if the action is legally frivolous or malicious, seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Relief can be granted on a claim if it contains sufficient facts that, when accepted as true, make the claim plausible. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In making this determination, the presiding judge accepts all material allegations in the complaint as true and construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Russell v. Landrieu, 621 F.2d 1037, 1039-42 (9th Cir. 1980).

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Gordon's Complaint arises from a series of citations issued to her by the Henderson Police Department and other alleged interactions with police. (ECF No. 1-1 at 4, 5). Plaintiff alleges that in late February or early March 2019 a female officer erroneously issued Plaintiff a trespassing warning while Plaintiff was sleeping in her Ford. (Id. at 5). Plaintiff claims that on March 20, the same female officer erroneously issued her a ticket (reasons unspecified) when Plaintiff attempted to speak with a group of officers in a church parking lot. (Id.). On March 23rd, Plaintiff alleges someone tried to run her over in the parking lot of a gas station. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that more vehicles tried to hit her a few days later as she “was siting perfectly still.” (Id.). Plaintiff received two more traffic tickets (reasons unspecified) within a week of these incidents. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges these tickets were a result of the Henderson Police putting Plaintiff “on the[ir] radar, ” after her contacts with the unnamed female officer. (See id.).

         This Court has jurisdiction over this case because it arises under federal law. Federal courts have jurisdiction if the action arises under federal law. The District Court of Nevada is the correct venue because all the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred in the judicial District of Nevada. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(3).

         II. Legal Claims

         Plaintiff alleges violations of:

1. Article 4, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution;
2. 42 U.S.C. ยง 1985, Conspiracy to Interfere with Civil ...

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