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Guntrup v. Washoe County Jail

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 15, 2019

KEVIN PATRICK GUNTRUP, Plaintiff
v.
WASHOE COUNTY JAIL, et. al., Defendants

          ORDER

          William G. Cobb United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) (ECF No. 1) and has now filed his third amended complaint (ECF No. 7).

         I. APPLICATION TO PROCEED IFP

         A person may be granted permission to proceed IFP if the person “submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets such [person] possesses [and] that the person is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor. Such affidavit shall state the nature of the action, defense or appeal and affiant's belief that the person is entitled to redress.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (stating that 28 U.S.C. § 1915 applies to all actions filed IFP, not just prisoner actions).

         The Local Rules of Practice for the District of Nevada provide: “Any person who is unable to prepay the fees in a civil case may apply to the court for authority to proceed [IFP]. The application must be made on the form provided by the court and must include a financial affidavit disclosing the applicant's income, assets, expenses, and liabilities.” LSR 1-1.

         “[T]he supporting affidavits [must] state the facts as to [the] affiant's poverty with some particularity, definiteness and certainty.” U.S. v. McQuade, 647 F.2d 938, 940 (9th Cir. 1981) (quotation marks and citation omitted). A litigant need not “be absolutely destitute to enjoy the benefits of the statute.” Adkins v. E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948).

         When Plaintiff originally submitted this action for filing, he included an application to proceed in forma pauperis for an inmate. (ECF No. 1.) An inmate is required to submit a financial certificate from the institution where he is confined that sets forth his average monthly account balance and deposits for the past six months. Plaintiff did so, but it was not signed by any authorized officer on behalf of the institution. Plaintiff then filed an amended complaint, which the court directed Plaintiff to file a new amended complaint because the amended complaint was too light to be legible. Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint on March 20, 2019, and then a third amended complaint (TAC) on April 1, 2019. Since that time, he has changed addresses twice, and it now appears he is out of custody. (See ECF No. 9.)

         Therefore, the Clerk shall send Plaintiff the instructions and form for an application to proceed IFP for a non-inmate, and Plaintiff shall complete and file that form within 30 days.

         II. SCREENING

         For plaintiffs proceeding IFP, the court is required to screen the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), which requires dismissal of a case that is frivolous or malicious; fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(A), (B)(i)-(iii).

         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 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) tracks that language. As such, when reviewing the adequacy of a complaint under this statute, the court applies the same standard as is applied under Rule 12(b)(6). See e.g. Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012) (“The standard for determining whether a plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standard for failure to state a claim.”). Review under Rule 12(b)(6) is essentially a ruling on a question of law. See Chappel v. Lab. Corp. of America, 232 F.3d 719, 723 (9th Cir. 2000) (citation omitted).

         The court must accept as true the allegations, construe the pleadings in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969) (citations omitted). Allegations in pro se complaints are “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers[.]” Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         A complaint must contain more than a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, ” it must contain factual allegations sufficient to “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “The pleading must contain something more … than … a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action.” Id. (citation and quotation marks omitted). At a minimum, a plaintiff should include “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570; see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         A dismissal should not be without leave to amend unless it is clear from the face of the complaint that the action is frivolous and could not be amended to state a federal claim, or the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the action. See Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, ...


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