Mallard v. Commissioner of Social Security

Filing 4

ORDER GRANTING Plaintiff's 3 Motion to Proceed IFP; ORDER DIRECTING Clerk to Issue Summons, Social Security Case Documents, and Scheduling Order; ORDER DIRECTING Service of the Complaint signed by Magistrate Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on 9/11/2017. (Sant Agata, S)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 HAROLD WAYNE MALLARD, Plaintiff, 12 v. 13 14 NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, 15 Defendant. 16 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Case No.: 1:17-cv-01212-JLT ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTIONS TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS (Doc. 3) ORDER DIRECTING CLERK TO ISSUE SUMMONS, SOCIAL SECURITY CASE DOCUMENTS, AND SCHEDULING ORDER ORDER DIRECTING SERVICE OF THE COMPLAINT 17 Amanda Lopez-Frausto seeks to proceed in forma pauperis with an action for judicial review of 18 19 the administrative decision denying an application for Social Security benefits. Pending before the 20 Court are the complaint and the motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (Docs. 2, 3) For the following 21 reasons, the Court finds service of the complaint is appropriate. 22 I. Proceeding in forma pauperis The Court may authorize the commencement of an action without prepayment of fees “by a 23 24 person who submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets such person . . . possesses [and] 25 that the person is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). The Court 26 reviewed the financial status affidavit (Doc. 3), and finds the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) are 27 satisfied. Therefore, Plaintiff’s request to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. 28 /// 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 13 include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). 14 A complaint must give fair notice and state the elements of the plaintiff’s claim in a plain and 15 succinct manner. Jones v. Cmty. Redevelopment Agency, 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984). The 16 purpose of the complaint is to give the defendant fair notice of the claims against him, and the grounds 17 upon which the complaint stands. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002). The 18 Supreme Court noted, 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). Vague 23 and conclusory allegations do not support a cause of action. Ivey v. Board of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 24 268 (9th Cir. 1982). The Court clarified further, 19 20 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 2 the line between possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to relief.’ 1 2 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citations omitted). When factual allegations are well-pled, a court should 3 assume their truth and determine whether the facts would make the plaintiff entitled to relief; legal 4 conclusions are not entitled to the same assumption of truth. Id. The Court may grant leave to amend a 5 complaint to the extent deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by an amendment. Lopez v. Smith, 6 203 F.3d 1122, 1127-28 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). 7 IV. Plaintiff seeks review of a decision by the Commissioner of Social Security denying disability 8 9 Discussion and Analysis benefits. (Doc. 2) The Court may have jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), which provides: 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. 10 11 12 13 14 15 Id. Except as provided by statute, “[n]o findings of fact or decision of the Commissioner shall be 16 reviewed by any person, tribunal, or governmental agency.” 42 U.S.C. § 405(h). Plaintiff alleges the Appeals Council denied a request for review of the decision denying 17 18 benefits on July 12, 2017, at which time the decision of the administrative law judge became the final 19 decision of the Commissioner. (Doc. 2 at 2) Plaintiff’s request for judicial review was due within 65 20 days of the date of Appeals Council’s notice, or no later than September 15, 2017. See 42 U.S.C. 21 §405(g) (noting a claimant is “presumed” to have received the notice of denial within “5 days after the 22 date of such notice”). Because Plaintiff filed the complaint on September 8, 2017, the request for 23 judicial review of the decision is timely, and the Court has jurisdiction over the matter pursuant to 42 24 U.S.C. § 405(g). 25 V. 26 27 28 Conclusion and Order Plaintiff’s complaint states a cognizable claim for review of the administrative decision denying Social Security benefits. Based upon the foregoing, the Court ORDERS: 1. Plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 3) is GRANTED; 3 1 2. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; 2 3 The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to issue summons as to the defendant, Nancy 3. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to issue and serve Plaintiff with Social Security Case 4 Documents, including the Scheduling Order, Order regarding Consent, the Consent 5 Form, and USM-285 Forms; and 6 4. The U.S. Marshal is DIRECTED to serve a copy of the complaint, summons, and this order upon the defendant as directed by Plaintiff in the USM Forms. 7 8 9 10 11 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: September 11, 2017 /s/ Jennifer L. Thurston UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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