Williams v. Berryhill

Filing 4

ORDER granting 3 Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. The Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis, but sua sponte DISMISSES the Complaint WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Plaintiff may file an amended complaint curing the deficiencies noted herein within twenty-one days of this order's issuance. Failure to do so will result in dismissal of this case with prejudice. Signed by Judge Anthony J. Battaglia on 2/28/2017. (acc)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 10 LOUIS WILLIAMS, Case No.: 3:17-CV-00226-AJB-JMA Plaintiff, 11 12 13 ORDER: v. NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security 14 15 (1) GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS; AND (Doc. No. 3) Defendant. 16 (2) SUA SPONTE DISMISSING COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (Doc. No. 1) 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 On February 6, 2017, Plaintiff Louis Williams (“Plaintiff”), a non-prisoner, commenced this action against Nancy A. Berryhill (“Defendant”), to review Defendant’s decision denying Plaintiff’s claims for disability benefits. (Doc. No. 1.) Both Defendant and an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) reviewed and denied Plaintiff’s application for benefits, and the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff’s request to review the ALJ’s decision. (Id. ¶¶ 6-8.) Plaintiff requests this Court to review and reverse Defendant’s decision, or in the alternative remand this matter for a new hearing. (Id. at 3.) 28 1 3:17-CV-00226-AJB-JMA 1 Plaintiff filed the instant motion to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”), pursuant to 2 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), with his Complaint. (Doc. No. 3.) For the reasons stated herein, the 3 Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion to proceed IFP, but sua sponte DISMISSES the action 4 for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 5 6 DISCUSSION I. Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis 7 All parties instituting any civil action, suit, or proceeding in a district court whether 8 by original process, removal or otherwise, except an application for writ of habeas corpus, 9 must pay a filing fee of $350. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). However, an action may proceed 10 despite failure to pay the filing fee if the plaintiff submits an affidavit demonstrating that 11 he should be granted in forma pauperis status. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a); see also Rodriguez 12 v. Cook, 169 F.3d 1176, 1177 (9th Cir. 1999). Such affidavit must include a complete 13 statement of the plaintiff’s personal assets. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). 14 Here, Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit in support of his IFP motion indicating that 15 he has been homeless since 2009. (Doc. No. 3 at 5.) Plaintiff also states that his only form 16 of income is $194 a month in public-assistance, and that he has no savings or assets. (Id. at 17 1-3.) Accordingly, the Court finds that Plaintiff meets the § 1915(a) requirements and 18 GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion to proceed IFP. 19 II. Failure to State a Claim 20 After granting in forma pauperis status, the Court must dismiss the case if the 21 complaint “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 22 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126–27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en 23 banc) (noting that 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) “not only permits but requires” the court to dismiss 24 an in forma pauperis complaint that fails to state a claim). A court “may dismiss a 25 complaint as a matter of law for (1) lack of cognizable legal theory or (2) insufficient facts 26 under a cognizable legal claim.” SmileCare Dental Grp. v. Delta Dental Plan of Cal., 88 27 F.3d 780, 783 (9th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted). A complaint will survive a motion to 28 2 3:17-CV-00226-AJB-JMA 1 dismiss if it contains “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” 2 Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). 3 In alleging disability, the movant must prove an “inability to engage in any 4 substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental 5 impairment . . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). Specifically, a “‘physical or mental 6 impairment’ is an impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or psychological 7 abnormalities which are demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory 8 diagnostic techniques.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(3) (emphasis added). 9 Here, Plaintiff generally contends that he is disabled, but fails to allege one particular 10 impairment or provide the Court with any medical documentation. (Doc. No. 1 ¶ 5, 9.) The 11 Plaintiff further fails to allege any specific findings by the ALJ that are challenged or 12 ascribed as in error. Thus, the Court finds Plaintiff’s Complaint is wholly insufficient. As 13 a result, as Plaintiff has not presented a sufficient basis for a cognizable claim on which 14 relief may be granted, pursuant to § 1915(e)(2), the Court DISMISSES the Complaint. 15 CONCLUSION 16 Accordingly, for the reasons set forth above, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion 17 to proceed in forma pauperis, but sua sponte DISMISSES the Complaint WITHOUT 18 PREJUDICE. Plaintiff may file an amended complaint curing the deficiencies noted 19 herein within twenty-one days of this order’s issuance. Failure to do so will result in 20 dismissal of this case with prejudice. 21 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. 23 Dated: February 28, 2017 24 25 26 27 28 3 3:17-CV-00226-AJB-JMA

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