Brogdan v. State of Washington et al
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)
HONORABLE RONALD B. LEIGHTON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
JUNE ELIZABETH BROGDAN,
CASE NO. C16-6017-RBL
ORDER DENYING IFP STATUS
WITH LEAVE TO AMEND
STATE OF WASHINGTON,
DKT. #1, 7
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.
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
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).
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.
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
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:
See, e.g., Dkt. #11, Exhibit at 2. If Brogdan wants to re-litigate or overturn a matter already
decided by the state courts, a Section 1983 motion is not the proper vehicle, and this Court lacks
jurisdiction. Because the Court cannot readily discern the legal basis for Brogdan’s claims, and
therefore its jurisdiction, Brogdan is ineligible to proceed in forma pauperis at this time.
Brogdan’s Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis [Dkt. #1, 7] is DENIED. She shall file
an amended complaint or pay the filing fee within 30 days of this Order, or her case will be
DISMISSED. Any amended complaint should address the basis for this Court’s jurisdiction over
the claims and the parties. It should articulate the “who, what, when, where, and why” of
Brogdan’s claim by identifying its factual and legal basis (such as how her substantive due
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.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated this 1st day of March, 2017.
Ronald B. Leighton
United States District Judge
DKT. #1, 7 - 4
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