Brogdan v. State of Washington et al

Filing 13

ORDER denying 1 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis; plaintiff has 30 days to file an amended complaint or pay the filing fee, or this matter will be dismissed; signed by Judge Ronald B. Leighton.(DN) Modified on 3/1/2017 (DN). (cc to pltf)

Download PDF
1 HONORABLE RONALD B. LEIGHTON 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 7 8 JUNE ELIZABETH BROGDAN, CASE NO. C16-6017-RBL 9 Plaintiff, 10 ORDER DENYING IFP STATUS WITH LEAVE TO AMEND v. 11 STATE OF WASHINGTON, DKT. #1, 7 12 Defendant. 13 14 THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff June Brogdan’s Motion to Proceed In 15 Forma Pauperis [Dkt. #1, 7]. Brogdan sues Defendants Washington State Department of Social 16 and Health Services Children’s Administration, the Vancouver Police Department, and the State 17 of Washington under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the wrongful termination of her parental rights. She 18 asks to proceed in forma pauperis, claiming she is unemployed with no savings. She resides in 19 Clark County and depends on food and housing assistance. Brogdan asks the Court “to dismiss 20 [her] case at the Children’s Administration,” to clear her record of child abuse, to restore her 21 parental rights, and for $400,000,000 in damages. Dkt. #1 (Complaint) at 3. 22 A district court may permit indigent litigants to proceed in forma pauperis upon 23 completion of a proper affidavit of indigency. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). The court has broad 24 ORDER DENYING IFP STATUS WITH LEAVE TO AMEND - 1 1 discretion in resolving the application, but “the privilege of proceeding in forma pauperis in civil 2 actions for damages should be sparingly granted.” Weller v. Dickson, 314 F.2d 598, 600 (9th Cir. 3 1963), cert. denied 375 U.S. 845 (1963). Moreover, a court should “deny leave to proceed in 4 forma pauperis at the outset if it appears from the face of the proposed complaint that the action 5 is frivolous or without merit.” Tripati v. First Nat’l Bank & Trust, 821 F.2d 1368, 1369 (9th Cir. 6 1987) (citations omitted); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). An in forma pauperis complaint 7 is frivolous if “it ha[s] no arguable substance in law or fact.” Id. (citing Rizzo v. Dawson, 778 8 F.2d 527, 529 (9th Cir. 1985); see also Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1228 (9th Cir. 1984). 9 A pro se Plaintiff’s complaint is to be construed liberally, but like any other complaint it 10 must nevertheless contain factual assertions sufficient to support a facially plausible claim for 11 relief. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citing 12 Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). A 13 claim for relief is facially plausible when “the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the 14 court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” 15 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. 16 Brogdan has demonstrated her indigency but not a lack of frivolity. She provided the 17 Court with a letter from DSHS describing her receipt of food assistance. Her inability to pay the 18 filing fee is clear; however, the facial plausibility of her claims is less evident. Brogdan has not 19 set forth enough connection between the facts alleged and the legal basis for her claim that this 20 Court can infer how the Defendants may have contributed to the wrongful termination of her 21 parental rights in such a way that it could grant her relief. It is unclear whether Brogdan attempts 22 to assert a new, federal claim for relief, or whether she attempts to re-litigate an issue decided by 23 the state courts. She supplied a single page excerpt of the Washington State Supreme Court’s 24 DKT. #1, 7 - 2 1 denial of her petition for review of an appellate court’s conclusion that she had waived her right 2 to have counsel present during the proceedings governing her parental rights: 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 See, e.g., Dkt. #11, Exhibit at 2. If Brogdan wants to re-litigate or overturn a matter already 16 decided by the state courts, a Section 1983 motion is not the proper vehicle, and this Court lacks 17 jurisdiction. Because the Court cannot readily discern the legal basis for Brogdan’s claims, and 18 therefore its jurisdiction, Brogdan is ineligible to proceed in forma pauperis at this time. 19 Brogdan’s Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis [Dkt. #1, 7] is DENIED. She shall file 20 an amended complaint or pay the filing fee within 30 days of this Order, or her case will be 21 DISMISSED. Any amended complaint should address the basis for this Court’s jurisdiction over 22 the claims and the parties. It should articulate the “who, what, when, where, and why” of 23 Brogdan’s claim by identifying its factual and legal basis (such as how her substantive due 24 DKT. #1, 7 - 3 1 process rights were violated in a way not already adjudicated), the measure and nature of 2 damages claimed, and the source of the legal right to those damages. 3 IT IS SO ORDERED. 4 Dated this 1st day of March, 2017. 6 A 7 Ronald B. Leighton United States District Judge 5 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 DKT. #1, 7 - 4

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?