Spreadburg v. Saint Alphonsus Behavioral Health
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER. Spreadbury's Application for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Dkt. 1 ) is GRANTED. Spreadbury's Complaint (Dkt. 2 ) is deficient as she has not provided any supporting facts to her claims. Her Complaint i s therefore DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Court grants Spreadbury leave to file an Amended Complaint in substantial compliance with the Court's analysis above. Spreadbury must file her Amended Complaint within sixty (60) days of the issuance of this Order. Failure to file an Amended Complaint within the ordered timeframe will result in the full dismissal of this case WITH PREJUDICE and without further notice. Signed by Judge David C. Nye. (caused to be mailed to non Registered Participants at the addresses listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) by (alw)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF IDAHO
ANDREA IRENE LEAH
Case No. 1:19-cv-00236-DCN
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND
SAINT ALPHONSUS BEHAVIORAL
Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Andrea Spreadbury’s1 Complaint (Dkt. 2) and
Application for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (Dkt. 1). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915,
the Court must review Spreadbury’s request to determine whether she is entitled to proceed
in forma pauperis—which permits civil litigants to proceed without prepayment of the
filing fee or to pay the filing fee over time. Rice v. City of Boise City, No. 1:13-CV-00441CWD, 2013 WL 6385657, at *1 (D. Idaho Dec. 6, 2013). The Court must also undertake
an initial review of Spreadbury’s Complaint to ensure it meets the minimum required
For the reasons explained below, the Court will GRANT Spreadbury’s application
The case caption originally read “Spreadburg” instead of “Spreadbury.” Plaintiff’s correct last name is
“Spreadbury,” but due to a misinterpretation of Plaintiff’s handwriting, the last letter was deemed to be a
“g” instead of a “y.” Dkt. 4. This clerical error has now been corrected.
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to proceed in forma pauperis. After review of the Complaint, however, the Court must
DISMISS the case WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Court will allow Spreadbury an
opportunity to amend her Complaint.
II. APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
“[A]ny court of the United States may authorize the commencement, prosecution or
defense of any suit, action or proceeding, civil or criminal, . . . without prepayment of fees
or security therefor.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). In order to qualify for in forma pauperis
status, a plaintiff must submit an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets he
possesses and indicates that he is unable to pay the fee required. The affidavit is sufficient
if it states that the plaintiff, because of his poverty, cannot “pay or give security for the
costs” and still be able to provide for himself and dependents “with necessities of life.”
Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Numours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948). The affidavit must
“state the facts as to affiant’s poverty with some particularity, definiteness and certainty.”
United States v. McQuade, 647 F.2d 938, 940 (9th Cir. 1981) (internal quotation marks
The Court has examined Spreadbury’s application to proceed in forma pauperis and
finds it establishes her indigence. To begin, Spreadbury swears or affirms under penalty of
perjury that she is unable to pay the filing fee at the time of filing as a result of her poverty.
Dkt. 1. Spreadbury’s indicates her only source of income is from disability, her only asset
a checking account containing $73.00, and her expenses for the basic necessities of food,
shelter, and clothing nearly equates to her limited income. Id. Thus, Spreadbury qualifies
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for in forma pauperis status and her application is GRANTED. Spreadbury need not pay
the filing fee in order to proceed.
As will be explained in the next section, though, the Court must dismiss this case
for the time being due to Spreadbury’s inadequate allegations. The Court next turns to its
initial review of Spreadbury’s Complaint.
III. SUFFICIENCY OF COMPLAINT
The Court is required to screen complaints that are brought by litigants who seek in
forma pauperis status. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The Court must dismiss a plaintiff’s
complaint, or any portion thereof, if it: (1) is frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i-iii). To state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, a plaintiff’s complaint must include facts sufficient to show a
plausible claim for relief. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009).
During this initial review, courts generally construe pro se pleadings liberally,
giving pro se plaintiffs the benefit of any doubt. See Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443,447
(9th Cir. 2000). Even so, plaintiffs—whether represented or not—have the burden of
articulating their claims clearly and alleging facts sufficient to support review of each
claim. Pena v. Gardner, 976 F.2d 469, 471 (9th Cir. 1992). Additionally, if amending the
complaint would remedy the deficiencies, plaintiffs should be notified and provided an
opportunity to amend. See Jackson v. Carey, 353 F.3d 750, 758 (9th Cir. 2003).
Here, the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In fact,
it makes no allegations whatsoever. Spreadbury names herself and the defendant but
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provides no other information. The cover sheet for her Complaint gives a bit more
information by indicating she is suing under “1983” for “violation of 8th and 11th
Amendments,” which the Court construes as a civil rights violation pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
Outside of her pleadings, Spreadbury included some information in a letter she filed
shortly after she filed her Complaint. Dkt. 4. In this letter, Spreadbury indicates the proper
spelling of her last name and states that she was improperly incarcerated at St. Alphonsus
Medical Hospital. This information is a step in the right direction, but still falls woefully
short of making a plausible claim for relief. Further, this information—and much more—
must be included in a complaint, not in a letter.
In sum, the Court must dismiss a complaint if there are no facts alleged in the
Complaint for the Court to review. Spreadbury’s Complaint contains no claims or facts at
all and therefore must be dismissed.
If amending a complaint would remedy its deficiencies, then courts should provide
plaintiffs an opportunity to do so. See Jackson v. Carey, 353 F.3d 750, 758 (9th Cir. 2003).
Here, because Spreadbury may be able to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,
the Court will allow her an opportunity to amend her Complaint to remedy its deficiencies.
Namely, Spreadbury must detail the factual background giving rise to her claim under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and the 8th and 11th Amendments. Though these laws provide the Court
with guidance as to subject matter jurisdiction and the types of claims being made, they
must be supported with facts.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER - 4
Spreadbury’s application to proceed in forma pauperis establishes her indigency.
However, the Court finds that Spreadbury has not sufficiently supported her claims with
facts and must amend her Complaint.
Spreadbury’s Application for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Dkt. 1)
Spreadbury’s Complaint (Dkt. 2) is deficient as she has not provided any
supporting facts to her claims. Her Complaint is therefore DISMISSED
WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Court grants Spreadbury leave to file an
Amended Complaint in substantial compliance with the Court’s analysis
above. Spreadbury must file her Amended Complaint within sixty (60) days
of the issuance of this Order.
Failure to file an Amended Complaint within the ordered timeframe will
result in the full dismissal of this case WITH PREJUDICE and without
DATED: October 9, 2019
David C. Nye
Chief U.S. District Court Judge
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER - 5
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