Goldblatt v. Berryhill

Filing 5

ORDERED that Mr. Goldblatt's ECF No. 1 IFP application is GRANTED. Clerk shall file the complaint (ECF No. 1 -2) and serve the SSA by sending a copy of the summons and Complaint (ECF No. 1 -2) by certified mail to: (1) the Attorney General and (2) The Regional Chief Counsel. (Cert. Mail Nos. 7013 1710 0001 6894 1917 and 7013 1710 0001 6894 1924) (Mailed 8/25/2016.) Clerk shall issue summons to the AUSA and deliver the summons and Complaint (ECF No. 1 -2) to USM for service. FURTHER ORDERED that henceforth, Mr. Goldblatt must serve Ds or Ds, attorney a copy of every pleading submitted for consideration together with a certificate of service. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach on 8/25/2017. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - DRM)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 1 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 2 *** 3 HAL GOLDBLATT, Case No. 2:17-cv-02193-MMD-VCF 4 Plaintiff, ORDER 5 vs. 6 NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, 7 8 APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS (EFC NO. 1) AND COMPLAINT (EFC NO. 1-2) Defendant. 9 This matter concerns Plaintiff Hal Goldblatt’s (“Mr. Goldblatt’s”) civil action against Nancy A. 10 Berryhill, the acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. See ECF No. 1-2. Before the 11 12 13 14 15 Court are Mr. Goldblatt’s application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 1) and complaint (ECF No. 1-2). Mr. Goldblatt’s application to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. For the reasons stated below, Mr. Goldblatt’s complaint is allowed to proceed. I. In Forma Pauperis Application 16 The standard governing in forma pauperis eligibility under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) is “unable to 17 pay such fees or give security therefor.” This means that an IFP applicant must demonstrate by means of 18 19 20 a financial affidavit that he or she cannot afford court fees without undue hardship—that is, paying for the costs of the suit would require the applicant to give up the basic necessities of life. See Adkins v. E.I. 21 DuPont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948) (“[A]n affidavit is sufficient which states that one 22 cannot because of his poverty ‘pay or give security for the costs … and still be able to provide[] himself 23 and dependents []with the necessities of life.[]”). An IFP applicant need not be “absolutely destitute” to 24 qualify for IFP status. Id. Of course, “the same even-handed care must be employed to assure that federal 25 1 funds are not squandered to underwrite, at public expense … the remonstrances of a suitor who is 1 2 3 financially able, in whole or in material part, to pull his own oar.” See Temple v. Ellerthorpe, 586 F. Supp. 848, 850 (D.R.I. 1984). 4 Mr. Goldblatt has submitted the affidavit required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) showing an inability to 5 prepay fees and costs or give security for them. See ECF No. 1. Mr. Goldblatt’s IFP application states 6 that he is unemployed and has no monthly income other than $750 of employment income from his spouse. 7 Id. at 1. Mr. Goldblatt’s net assets are limited. Id. Mr. Goldblatt has adequately shown his inability to 8 pay fees and costs. The request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted under § 1915(a). The Court 9 will now review Mr. Goldblatt’s Complaint. 10 II. Screening the Complaint Under § 1915(e) 11 12 13 14 15 A. Legal Standards Upon granting a request to proceed in forma pauperis, courts must screen the complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000) (“[S]ection 1915(e) applies to all in forma pauperis complaints.”) (emphasis added). Specifically, courts may dismiss a case if the 16 action is legally frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks 17 18 19 monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. The purpose of this screening process is to “discourage the filing of, and waste of judicial and private resources upon, baseless lawsuits 20 that paying litigants generally do not initiate because of the cost of bringing suit.” See Neitzke v. Williams, 21 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989). Indeed, the statutory benefit to proceed in forma pauperis is conferred as a 22 privilege only, not as a matter of right. See Williams v. Field, 394 F.2d 329, 332 (9th Cir. 1968). 23 When a plaintiff seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, courts require that the plaintiff’s complaint 24 provide sufficient notice of the basis of the claims presented and state a claim for relief. See, e.g., Watison 25 2 v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a complaint 1 2 must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” 3 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009). Detailed factual allegations are not required. Id. But 4 “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell 5 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). All material allegations in the complaint are accepted 6 as true and are to be construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Russell v. Landrieu, 621 F.2d 7 1037, 1039 (9th Cir. 1980). Where the claims in a complaint fail to cross the line from conceivable to 8 plausible, they should be dismissed. 9 10 See Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570. When a court dismisses a complaint under § 1915(e), however, the plaintiff should be given leave to amend the complaint with directions as to curing its deficiencies, unless it is clear from the face of the complaint that the deficiencies 11 could not be cured by amendment. Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995) (citation 12 omitted). 13 14 B. The Complaint States a Claim Upon Which Relief may be Granted 15 Mr. Goldblatt’s Complaint arises from an unfavorable decision by the Commissioner of the Social 16 Security Administration (hereinafter “Commissioner”). See EFC No. 1-2. Mr. Goldblatt asserts that she 17 is disabled as that term is defined in the Social Security Act. Id. at 2. Mr. Goldblatt alleges that he filed 18 an application for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act. Id. According to 19 Mr. Goldblatt, the Commissioner denied his claim for benefits on February 9, 2016. Id. Mr. Goldblatt 20 21 22 23 24 25 alleges that he has timely appealed the decision of the Commissioner to this Court, and requests that this Court reverse the Commissioner’s decision or, in the alternative, remand the action for a new hearing. Id. at 3. In particular, Mr. Goldblatt objects to the Commissioner’s decision on the following grounds: The ALJ erred by failing to include all of the limitations opined by the experts whose opinions he adopted in the RFC finding; as a result, the findings at the subsequent steps of the sequential evaluation based on the 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 deficient RFC are in error. SSR 96-8p; Reddick v. Chater, 157 F.3d 715, 725 (9th Cir. 1998). The ALJ failed, contrary to Agency policy and Ninth Circuit precedent, to appropriately and adequately evaluate the opinions of Plaintiff’s treating sources, which establish work-related limitations far greater than those identified in the ALJ’s residual functional capacity finding (RFC). 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527; Garrison v. Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 1012 (9th Cir. 2014); Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104 (9th Cir. 2012); Bayliss v. Barnhart, 427 F.3d 1211 (9th Cir. 2005); Lester v. Chater, 81 F.3d 821, 830 (9th Cir. 1995). The ALJ failed in his duty to “develop the record for and against awarding benefits.” Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 110 (2000); Mayes v. Massanari, 276 F.3d 453, 459 (9th Cir. 2001). See EFC No. 1-2 at 2-3. The Court finds that Mr. Goldblatt has asserted a claim upon which relief can be granted. The 11 Complaint also establishes that Mr. Goldblatt has exhausted his administrative remedies and that the civil 12 action was timely commenced. Under Title II of the Social Security Act, the Court has jurisdiction over 13 14 15 16 this matter. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-433. Construing the allegations in a light most favorable to Mr. Goldblatt, the Court finds that Mr. Goldblatt’s Complaint has asserted a claim upon which relief can be granted for initial screening purposes under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. 17 ACCORDINGLY, 18 IT IS ORDERED that Mr. Goldblatt’s application to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. 19 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Mr. Goldblatt is permitted to maintain the action to its 20 conclusion without the necessity of prepayment of any additional fees, costs, or security. This order 21 22 granting in forma pauperis status does not extend to the issuance of subpoenas at government expense. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court file the complaint (ECF No. 1-2) and 23 serve the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration by sending a copy of the summons and 24 Complaint (ECF No. 1-2) by certified mail to: (1) the Attorney General of the United States, Department 25 4 of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Room 4400, Washington, D.C. 20530; and (2) Office of the 1 2 3 Regional Chief Counsel, Region IX, Social Security Administration, 160 Spear St., Suite 899, San Francisco, CA 94105-1545. 4 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court issue summons to the United States 5 Attorney for the District of Nevada and deliver the summons and Complaint (ECF No. 1-2) to the U.S. 6 Marshal for service. 7 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that from this point forward, Mr. Goldblatt must serve upon 8 defendant, or defendant’s attorney if she has retained one, a copy of every pleading, motion, or other 9 10 11 document submitted for consideration by the Court. Mr. Goldblatt must include with the original paper submitted for filing a certificate stating the date that a true and correct copy of the document was mailed to the defendant or defendant’s counsel. The Court may disregard any paper received by a district judge, 12 magistrate judge, or the Clerk which fails to include a certificate of service. 13 14 DATED this 25th day of August, 2017. 15 _________________________ 16 CAM FERENBACH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 5

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