Campos v. Saul

Filing 5

ORDER granting 2 Plaintiff's in forma pauperis motion. Signed by Magistrate Judge Andrew G. Schopler on 4/27/2021. (jpp)

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1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 3 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA Richard C., Case No.: 21-cv-802-AGS 4 ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S IN FORMA PAUPERIS STATUS (ECF 2) Plaintiff, 5 v. 6 Andrew M. SAUL, 7 Defendant. 8 9 Plaintiff moves to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). Plaintiff qualifies to proceed 10 without paying the initial filing fee, and his complaint states a claim for relief. So, the Court 11 grants plaintiff’s motion. 12 Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis 13 Typically, parties instituting a civil action in a United States district court must pay 14 a filing fee of $402. 1 See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). But if granted the right to proceed in forma 15 pauperis, a plaintiff can proceed without paying the fee. Rodriguez v. Cook, 169 F.3d 1176, 16 1177 (9th Cir. 1999). 17 Here, plaintiff owns no assets and receives $200 in food stamps and $676 in 18 unemployment each month, for a total of $876. (ECF 2, at 2-3.) Plaintiff’s household 19 expenses are $1,563.99. (Id. at 4-5.) Because his unemployment does not cover his 20 expenses, plaintiff’s “mother helps [him] with the things [he] can not pay.” (Id. at 3.) The 21 Court finds that plaintiff has sufficiently shown an inability to pay the initial $402 fee. 22 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) Screening 23 When reviewing an IFP motion, the court must screen the complaint and dismiss it 24 if it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant 25 26 27 28 1 In addition to the $350 statutory fee, civil litigants must pay an administrative fee of $52. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a); District Court Misc. Fee Schedule, § 14 (effective Dec. 1, 2020). 1 21-cv-802-AGS 1 immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 2 (9th Cir. 2000). In the Social Security context, a plaintiff’s complaint must set forth 3 sufficient facts to support the legal conclusion that the Commissioner’s decision was 4 incorrect. “[T]o survive the Court’s § 1915(e) screening,” a plaintiff must (1) “establish 5 that she has exhausted her administrative remedies pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), and that 6 the civil action was commenced within sixty days after notice of a final decision,” (2) 7 “indicate the judicial district in which the plaintiff resides,” (3) “state the nature of 8 plaintiff’s disability and when the plaintiff claims she became disabled,” and (4) “identify[] 9 the nature of the plaintiff’s disagreement with the determination made by the Social 10 Security Administration and show that plaintiff is entitled to relief.” Varao v. Berryhill, 11 No. 17-cv-02463-LAB-JLB, 2018 WL 4373697, at *2 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 31, 2018) (alteration 12 and citation omitted). 13 Plaintiff meets all four elements to survive a § 1915(e) screening. First, plaintiff 14 “exhausted all administrative remedies by seeking review with the Appeals Council,” 15 which denied his request on March 3, 2021. (ECF 1, at 4.) At that time, the ALJ’s decision 16 became the Commissioner’s final decision. See Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 107 (2000). 17 Next, plaintiff claims to reside in Santee, CA “within the jurisdictional boundaries of this 18 Court.” (Id. at 1.) The complaint also states the nature of plaintiff’s disability: 19 “degenerative disc disease of the thoracic and lumbar spine; arthritis of the left knee; major 20 depressive disorder; and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” which “rendered him 21 disabled since August 15, 2015.” (Id. at 3.) Finally, plaintiff identifies the nature of his 22 disagreement with the Social Security Administration’s determination, arguing that the 23 ALJ “improperly identified . . . occupations . . . which require abilities” that run contrary 24 to plaintiff’s residual functional capacity. (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff also claims that the ALJ 25 “improperly reject[ed plaintiff’s] testimony regarding pain, symptom, and limitation.” (Id.) 26 Based on these allegations, plaintiff’s complaint is sufficient to survive the “low threshold” 27 for proceeding past the § 1915(e) screening. Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1123 28 (9th Cir. 2012). 2 21-cv-802-AGS 1 2 3 Conclusion For the reasons set forth above, the Court grants plaintiff’s IFP motion. Dated: April 27, 2021 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 3 21-cv-802-AGS

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