Beeunas v. Berryhill
ORDER 2 Denying Without Prejudice Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff within thirty days of the date on which this Order is electronically docketed may either (1) file a new Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis addressing the Court's above-mentioned concerns, or (2) pay the $400 filing fee. Signed by Judge Janis L. Sammartino on 8/14/2017. (mpl)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
COURTNEY LAINE BEEUNAS,
Case No.: 17cv1521-JLS (AGS)
ORDER DENYING WITHOUT
PREJUDICE MOTION TO
PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
NANCY A. BERRYHILLL, Acting
Commissioner of Social Security,
(ECF No. 2)
Presently before the Court is Plaintiff Courtney Beeunas’s Motion to Proceed In
Forma Pauperis (“IFP Mot.”). (ECF No. 2.) Plaintiff has filed an action requesting that
this Court review and reverse the Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) denial of
benefits. (Compl. 1, ECF No. 1.)
All parties instituting any civil action, suit, or proceeding in a district court of the
United States, except an application for writ of habeas corpus, must pay a filing fee of
$400. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). An action may proceed despite a plaintiff’s failure to prepay
the entire fee only if he is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a). See Rodriguez v. Cook, 169 F.3d 1176, 1177 (9th Cir. 1999). A federal court
may authorize the commencement of an action without the prepayment of fees if the party
submits an affidavit, including a statement of assets, showing that she is unable to pay the
required filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).
In the present case, Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit indicating that she makes no
monthly income and has not held a job since February, 2011. (IFP Mot. 2.) Plaintiff has
$5.00 in her saving account, $10.00 in her checking account, and a 2011 Toyota Camry
worth $5,000. (Id. at 2–3.) However, Plaintiff also notes that she has two dependent
children—aged twelve and ten respectively—and that she has monthly expenses totaling
$1,070.00. (Id. at 4–5.) This at the very least suggests that Plaintiff either has some other
source of income or has not fully explained her financial situation to the Court; how has
Plaintiff supported her children and paid her average monthly expenses without any income
for almost six years? Accordingly, the Court cannot at this time make an informed decision
regarding whether Plaintiff is able to pay the $400 filing fee to proceed in federal court.
Given the foregoing, the Court DENIES WITHOUT PREJUDICE Plaintiff’s
Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. Plaintiff—within thirty days of the date on which
this Order is electronically docketed—may either (1) file a new Motion to Proceed In
Forma Pauperis addressing the Court’s above-mentioned concerns, or (2) pay the $400
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: August 14, 2017
The Court also notes that if Plaintiff again moves for leave to proceed in forma pauperis the Court will
be required to sua sponte screen Plaintiff’s underlying Complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see also
Calhoun v. Stahl, 254 F.3d 845, 845 (9th Cir. 2001) (“[T]he provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) are
not limited to prisoners.”). And given Plaintiff’s current, cursory allegations, the underlying Complaint
would likely be subject to dismissal. See Montoya v. Colvin, No. 2:16-cv-00454-RFB-NJK, 2016 WL
890922, at *2 (D. Nev. Mar. 8, 2016) (collecting cases) (finding that the plaintiff failed to state a claim
for relief where the complaint merely alleged that the Commissioner’s decision to deny benefits was
wrong without explaining why or providing facts regarding claimant’s disability, and instead simply
recited the general standards governing review of that decision); see also Hoagland v. Astrue, No. 1:12CV-00973-SMS, 2012 WL 2521753, at *1 (E.D. Cal. June 28, 2012) (“The purpose of the complaint is to
briefly and plainly allege facts supporting the legal conclusion that the Commissioner’s decision was
wrong.” (citing Brown v. Astrue, No. 11-cv-056-JL, 2011 WL 3664429, at *3 (D.N.H. Aug. 19, 2011)).
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