Perez v. CSS

Filing 5

ORDER GRANTING 2 Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed Informa Pauperis; ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, signed by Magistrate Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on 2/17/2015. Amended Complaint due within 21 days. (Hall, S)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 MOLLIE CHRISTINE PEREZ, Plaintiff, 12 v. 13 14 15 CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, 16 Defendant. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Case No.: 1:15-cv-0236- JLT ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO PROCEED INFORMA PAUPERIS (Doc. 2) ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND 17 Plaintiff Mollie Christine Perez seeks to proceed in forma pauperis with an action for judicial 18 19 review of the administrative decision denying her application for Social Security benefits. Pending 20 before the Court are the complaint (Doc. 1) and motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 2) filed by 21 Plaintiff on February 12, 2015. Because Plaintiff does not provide sufficient facts for the Court to 22 determine the matter of its jurisdiction, Plaintiff’s complaint is DISMISSED with leave to amend. 23 I. 24 Proceeding in forma pauperis The Court may authorize the commencement of an action without prepayment of fees “but a 25 person who submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets such person . . . possesses [and] 26 that the person is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). The Court 27 has reviewed the application and finds Plaintiff satisfies the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). 28 Therefore, Plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. 1 1 II. Screening Requirement When an individual seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court is required to review the 2 3 complaint and shall dismiss a complaint, or portion of the complaint, if it is “frivolous, malicious or 4 fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or . . . seeks monetary relief from a defendant 5 who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). A plaintiff’s claim 6 is frivolous “when the facts alleged rise to the level of the irrational or the wholly incredible, whether or 7 not there are judicially noticeable facts available to contradict them.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 8 25, 32-33 (1992). 9 III. Pleading Standards 10 General rules for pleading complaints are governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A 11 pleading must include a statement affirming the court’s jurisdiction, “a short and plain statement of the 12 claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief; and... a demand for the relief sought, which may include 13 relief in the alternative or different types of relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). 14 A complaint must state the elements of the plaintiff’s claim in a plain and succinct manner. 15 Jones v. Cmty Redevelopment Agency, 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984). The purpose of the 16 complaint is to give the defendant fair notice of the claims against him, and the grounds upon which 17 the complaint stands. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002). The Supreme Court 18 explained, 19 20 21 Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. A pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement. 22 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). 23 Conclusory and vague allegations do not support a cause of action. Ivey v. Board of Regents, 673 F.2d 24 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982). The Court clarified further, 25 26 27 28 [A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” [Citation]. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. [Citation]. The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement,” but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. [Citation]. Where a complaint pleads facts that are “merely consistent with” a defendant’s liability, it “stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to relief.’ 2 1 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citations omitted). When factual allegations are well-pled, a court should 2 assume the truth and determine whether the facts would make the plaintiff entitled to relief; conclusions 3 in the pleading are not entitled to the same assumption of truth. Id. The Court may grant leave to 4 amend a complaint to the extent deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by amendment. Lopez v. 5 Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127-28 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). 6 IV. Discussion and Analysis 7 Plaintiff seeks review of a decision by the Commissioner of Social Security denying disability 8 benefits. (Doc. 1). The Court would have jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), which provides 9 in relevant part: 10 11 12 13 14 15 Any individual, after any final decision of the Commissioner made after a hearing to which he was a party, irrespective of the amount in controversy, may obtain a review of such decision by a civil action commenced within sixty days after the mailing to him of such decision or within such further time as the Commissioner may allow. Such action shall be brought in the district court of the United States for the judicial district in which the plaintiff resides, or has his principal place of business . . . The court shall have power to enter, upon the pleadings and transcript of the record, a judgment affirming, modifying, or reversing the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security, with or without remanding the cause for a rehearing. 16 Id. (emphasis added). Except as provided by statute, “[n]o findings of fact or decision of the 17 Commissioner shall be reviewed by any person, tribunal, or governmental agency.” 42 U.S.C. § 405(h). 18 The Supreme Court noted the purpose of the legislation was “to forestall repetitive or belated 19 litigation of stale eligibility claims.” Califano v. Sanders, 430 U.S. 99, 108 (1977). Thus, these 20 regulations “operate as a statute of limitations setting the time period in which a claimant may appeal a 21 final decision of the Commissioner.” Berrigan v. Astrue, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115390, at *4-5 22 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 29, 2010) (citing Bowen v. City of New York, 476 U.S. 467, 479 (1986); Matthews v. 23 Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 328 n. 9 (1976)). The time limit is a condition on the waiver of sovereign 24 immunity, and it must be strictly construed. Id. 25 Here, Plaintiff alleges only that she “seeks judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 405(g) of an 26 adverse decision of the defendant which has become final,” and she “has exhausted administrative 27 remedies.” (Doc. 1 at 1-2.) Plaintiff does not allege when the adminisntrative law judge issued a 28 decision on her application for benefits; if or when the Appeals Council denied a request for review; or 3 1 when the administrative decision became final. Without further information, the Court is unable to 2 find that Plaintiff’s request for judicial review was timely, or that the Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 3 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). 4 V. 5 Leave to Amend the Complaint A complaint should only be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be 6 granted if it appears beyond doubt that the Plaintiff can prove no set of facts, consistent with the 7 allegations, that would entitle her to relief. See Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984) 8 (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). Here the Court cannot find with certainty that 9 Plaintiff cannot allege facts supporting a finding that the Court has jurisdiction over the matter. The 10 Court will grant Plaintiff leave to amend the complaint to cure the deficiencies of this complaint by 11 stating the necessary information regarding when the decision of the Commissioner became final. 12 Generally, an amended complaint supersedes the original complaint. See Loux v. Rhay, 375 13 F.2d 55, 57 (9th Cir. 1967). Thus, once Plaintiff files an amended complaint, the original pleading no 14 longer serves any function in the case. The amended complaint must bear the docket number assigned 15 this case and must be labeled “First Amended Complaint.” Failure to file an amended complaint in 16 accordance with this order will be considered to be a failure to comply with an order of the Court 17 pursuant to Local Rule 110 and will result in dismissal of this action. 18 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: 19 1. Plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 2) is GRANTED; 20 2. Plaintiff’s complaint IS DISMISSED with leave to amend; and 21 3. Plaintiff is GRANTED twenty-one days from the date of service of this order to file an 22 amended complaint that complies with the requirements of the pertinent substantive 23 law, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Local Rules of Practice. 24 25 26 27 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: February 17, 2015 /s/ Jennifer L. Thurston UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 28 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

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