Beeunas v. Berryhill

Filing 6

ORDER Denying 5 Without Prejudice 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 filing fee. Signed by Judge Janis L. Sammartino on 9/5/2017. (mpl)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 COURTNEY LAINE BEEUNAS, Case No.: 17cv1521-JLS (AGS) Plaintiff, 12 13 14 ORDER DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS v. NANCY A. BERRYHILLL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, 15 16 (ECF No. 5) Defendant. 17 18 Presently before the Court is Plaintiff Courtney Beeunas’s Motion to Amend/Correct 19 In Forma Pauperis (“IFP Mot.”) (ECF No. 5), which the Court construes as Plaintiff’s 20 Amended Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. Plaintiff has filed an action requesting 21 that this Court review and reverse the Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) denial of 22 benefits. (Compl. 1, ECF No. 1.) 23 IFP MOTION 24 All parties instituting any civil action, suit, or proceeding in a district court of the 25 United States, except an application for writ of habeas corpus, must pay a filing fee of 26 $400. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). An action may proceed despite a plaintiff’s failure to prepay 27 the entire fee only if he is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 28 § 1915(a). See Rodriguez v. Cook, 169 F.3d 1176, 1177 (9th Cir. 1999). A federal court 1 17cv1521-JLS (AGS) 1 may authorize the commencement of an action without the prepayment of fees if the party 2 submits an affidavit, including a statement of assets, showing that she is unable to pay the 3 required filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). 4 In Plaintiff’s first Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 2), 5 Plaintiff submitted an affidavit indicating she makes no monthly income but that she has 6 two dependent children–aged twelve and ten–and that she has monthly expenses totaling 7 $1,070.00. (ECF No. 2, at 4–5.) The Court denied Plaintiff’s Motion because it was unclear 8 how Plaintiff supported her children and paid her average monthly expenses without any 9 income. (See ECF 4, at 2.) 10 In Plaintiff’s Amended Motion (ECF No. 5), she submitted an affidavit indicating 11 her total monthly income is $2,211.00, consisting of funds from child support, public 12 assistance, and her husband (from whom she is separated). (IFP Mot. 1–2.) However, 13 Plaintiff also indicates her monthly expenses total $2,719.00. (Id. at 5.) It is still unclear to 14 the Court how Plaintiff pays her average monthly expenses, which are over $500 greater 15 than her monthly income. Given this, as well as the additional discrepancy between 16 Plaintiff’s monthly expenses listed on both of her motions (such as why Plaintiff’s monthly 17 rent increased by exactly $1,000 since the filing of her last motion), the Court is unable to 18 determine whether Plaintiff’s affidavit is credible and thus cannot accurately assess her 19 ability to pay the $400 civil filing fee. Accordingly, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion 20 to Proceed IFP. 21 22 CONCLUSION Given the foregoing, the Court DENIES WITHOUT PREJUDICE Plaintiff’s 23 Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 5). Plaintiff—within thirty days of the 24 date on which this Order is electronically docketed—may either (1) file a new Motion to 25 26 27 28 2 17cv1521-JLS (AGS) 1 Proceed In Forma Pauperis addressing the Court’s above-mentioned concerns, or (2) pay 2 the $400 filing fee.1 3 4 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: September 5, 2017 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 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)). 3 17cv1521-JLS (AGS)

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