Enquist v. Conger et al

Filing 3


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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 5 6 7 GERALD D. ENQUIST, 8 Plaintiff, 9 10 v. ANDRIA SHAW CONGER, et al., 11 Defendants. CASE NO. C17-5091BHS ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS, DISMISSING COMPLAINT IN PART, AND DIRECTING THE CLERK TO SERVE DEFENDANTS 12 13 This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Gerald Enquist’s (“Enquist”) 14 motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Dkt. 1) and proposed complaint (Dkt. 1-1). 15 The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of the motion and the remainder 16 of the file and hereby rules as follows: 17 18 I. PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND On February 7, 2017, Enquist filed the instant motion and amended complaint. Id. 19 Enquist alleges that, as a result of a 1976 arrest and conviction, he must register with the 20 Pierce County Sex/Kidnapping Offender Registration Unit (“SKORU”). Id. He claims 21 that he must report on a weekly basis because he is a transient while similarly situated 22 individuals with a fixed address must only contact SKORU once or if they move to a new ORDER - 1 1 address. Id. Enquist asserts that RCW 9A.44.130 violates his constitutional right to 2 travel, due process rights, and equal protection rights. Id. 3 4 II. DISCUSSION The district court may permit indigent litigants to proceed in forma pauperis upon 5 completion of a proper affidavit of indigency. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a); W.D. Wash. 6 Local Rules LCR 3(b). However, the “privilege of pleading in forma pauperis . . . in civil 7 actions for damages should be allowed only in exceptional circumstances.” Wilborn v. 8 Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328 (9th Cir. 1986). The court has broad discretion in denying an 9 application to proceed in forma pauperis. Weller v. Dickson, 314 F.2d 598 (9th Cir. 10 1963), cert. denied 375 U.S. 845 (1963). 11 A federal court may dismiss sua sponte pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) when 12 it is clear that the plaintiff has not stated a claim upon which relief may be granted. See 13 Omar v. Sea Land Serv., Inc., 813 F.2d 986, 991 (9th Cir. 1987) (“A trial court may 14 dismiss a claim sua sponte under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) . . . . Such a dismissal may be 15 made without notice where the claimant cannot possibly win relief.”). Indeed, “1915(e) 16 not only permits but requires a district court to dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint 17 that fails to state a claim.” Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000) (citing 18 Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998)). 19 In this case, the Court concludes that Enquist has sufficiently shown indigency and 20 states a claim for relief on at least one claim. Regarding Enquist’s right to travel claim 21 and due process claim, the Ninth Circuit has held that Washington’s registration statute 22 does not violate these individual rights. Russell v. Gregoire, 124 F.3d 1079 (9th Cir. ORDER - 2 1 1997). Thus, the Court sua sponte dismisses these claims. Regarding Enquist’s equal 2 protection claim, the Court is unable to locate any authority on this issue. Accordingly, at 3 this time, the Court finds that Enquist has stated a claim for relief and is unable to afford 4 the cost of this suit. 5 6 III. ORDER Therefore, it is hereby ORDERED that Enquist’s motion to proceed in forma 7 pauperis (Dkt. 1) is GRANTED and Enquist’s claims for violation of his right to travel 8 and due process rights are DISMISSED with prejudice. 9 The Clerk is directed to send the following to Defendants by first class mail: a 10 copy of Enquist’s complaint, a copy of this order, two copies of the Notice of Lawsuit 11 and Request for Waiver of Service of Summons, a Waiver of Service of Summons, and a 12 return envelope, postage prepaid, addressed to the Clerk’s Office. 13 Dated this 9th day of February, 2017. 14 15 A BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 ORDER - 3

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