Huot v. Montana State Department of Child and Family Services et al
OPINION AND ORDER Screening and Dismissing Case; denying as moot 2 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis; denying as moot 3 Motion to Appoint Counsel ; denying as moot 4 Motion to set aside adoption and reinstate full parental rights. Signed by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange on 8/16/2017. (JLS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH DAKOTA
AUG 1 6 2017
OPINION AND ORDER
MONTANA SUPREME COURT,
MONTANA, JUDGE RAY DAYTON, CAE
BOYAL, CINDY JOHNSON, DEER LODGE
MEDICAL CENTER, WAYNE R. MARTIN,
MD, SUSANNE M
KRAKOWKA, SUSAN DAY, PH.D ; DAVE
FENCHAK, MARY JO FORTNER, ROGER
Plaintiff, Safron Huot, has filed a pro se complaint (Doc 1), as well as a Motion for
Leave to Proceed in Forma Paupens(Doc 2), Motion to Appoint Counsel(Doc 3), and Motion
to Set Aside Adoption and Reinstate-Full Parental Rights (Doc 4). Plaintiff has filed similar
complaints in many other distncts.'
Because Plaintiff has submitted a Motion to Proceed In Forma Paupens, the court must
conduct an initial screemng of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) The screemng
IS a two-step screening process Martin-Tngona v Stewart, 691 F 2d 856, 857 (8"^ Cir. 1982),
see also. Key v Does, 217 F. Supp 3d 1006, J006 (E.D Ark 2016). First, distnct courts must
A search of "Hout, Safron" and "Huot, Safron" on PACER indicates that the plaintiff has filed in at least 40
determine whether a plaintiff is finaneially eligible to proeeed in forma paupens under 28 U S C.
§ 1915(a) Id Second, distnct courts are to determine whether the complaint should be dismissed
under 28 U S C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Id.
This court may authonze the commencement of suit without prepayment of fees when
an applicant files an affidavit stating she is unable to pay the costs of the lawsuit 28 U S C
§ 1915. Determining whether an applicant is sufficiently impovenshed to qualify to proeeed m
forma paupens under § 1915 is committed to the court's discretion Cross v Gen Motors Corp ,
721 F 2d 1152, 1157 (8"^ Cir 1983) "In forma paupens status does not require a litigant to
demonstrate absolute destitution." Lee v McDonald's Corp., 231 F 3d 456 (8'*' Cir. 2000)
Based upon her application, the sole income for Plaintiff is denved from TANF
payments of $467 per month and food stamp payments of $313 per month Including only
expenses with pnees. Plaintiffs monthly expenses are estimated to be approximately $267
Plaintiff also has one daughter currently dependent on Plaintiff for support Plaintiff does not
own any assets Considenng all the information in the financial affidavit, the Court finds that
Plaintiff has made the requisite financial showing to proceed m forma paupens.
But the inquiry does not end there Under § 1915, the court must review the claims m
the complaint to determine if they are (1) fiivolous or malicious, (2) fail to state a claim on
which relief may be granted, or(3) seek monetary relief against a defendant who has immunity.
See 28 U.S C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it does not plead
"enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face" Bell Atlantic Corp v
Twombly, 550 U S 544,570 (2007) A plaintiffs complaint "does not need detailed factual
allegations . . [but] requires more than labels and conclusions " Id At 555 "Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a nght to relief above the speculative level.."Id When
determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, this
Court "assumes as true all factual allegations m the pleadings, interpreting them most favorably
to the [pleader]" Magee v Trustees Of Hamline Umv, 747 F.3d 532,534-35 (8^^ Cir. 2014)
Plaintiff IS proceeding pro se and her complaint is therefore entitled to a liberal construction
Atkinson v Bohn, 91 F 3d 1127,1129
Cir 1996)(per cunam) Although pro se complaints
are to be construed liberally, "they must still allege facts sufficient to support the claims
advanced"Stone v Harry, 364 F 3d 912,914
Cir 2004) The court is not required to supply
additional facts for a pro se plaintiff, nor construct a legal theory that assumes facts which have
not been pleaded Id
Plaintiff asserts that federal question junsdiction is present in this matter Doc 1 She
seeks damages from the Montana State Department of Child and Family Services, the Montana
Supreme Court, the Deer Lodge County Distnct Court of Montana, and Judge Ray Dayton, as
well as attorneys, guardians ad htem, psychologists, family members, and other individuals
involved m that proceeding Doc 1. She also seeks full custody of her children.
The present case is clearly related to Huot v. Montana State Department of Child and
Family Services, et al, No 3 16-cv-01767-KI(D Oregon Sept 6, 2016) In that case, the distnct
court provided multiple reasons why subject matter junsdiction does not exist Id The distnct
court also explained venue and discussed why certain defendants could not be sued Whether the
suit IS venued m federal court m Oregon or South Dakota, the same reasons for dismissal apply
to this suit brought against Montana State agencies, employees, and others involved m a
Montana- child custody issue Because the plaintiffs factual allegations are the same, the
reasoning as set forth m Huot v Montana State Department ofchild and Family Services, et al,
Case ft 3:16-cv-01767-KI (D. Or. Sept. 13, 2016),justifies dismissal in this action for failure to
state a claim on which relief can be granted. Therefore, it is
ORDERED that PlaintifTs Complaint(Doc 1) be dismissed. It is further
ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc 2),
Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc 3), and Motion to Set Aside Adoption and Reinstate Full
Parental Rights(Doc 4)are denied as moot in light ofthe dismissal of the case.
DATED August 16, 2017.
BY THE COURT:
ROBERTO A. LANGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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