West v. Stackley

Filing 3

ORDER denying 1 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis; signed by Judge Ronald B. Leighton.(DN) Modified on 6/12/2017 (DN). (cc to pltf)

Download PDF
HONORABLE RONALD B. LEIGHTON 1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 7 8 CASE NO. C17-5367RBL JOE ANN WEST, 9 Plaintiff, 10 CASE NO. C17-5368RBL v. 11 SEAN J STACKLEY, Secretary of the Navy, ORDER DENYING MOTIONS TO PROCEED IFP 12 Defendant. 13 14 15 16 17 THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff West’s application to proceed in forma pauperis, supported by her proposed complaint [Dkt. #1]. These cases are two of at least six1 she has filed in this district this year, all of which appear to be substantially similar to each other and to two putative class action cases she filed last year, West v. Mabus, Cause Nos. C16-5191RBL 18 19 20 1 21 22 23 The six pending case are: West v Stackley, C17-5246RJB (filing fee paid), West v. Stackley, C17-5273RBL (filing fee paid), West v. Stackley, C17-5366BHS, (filing fee paid), West v. Stackley, C17-5367RBL (ifp pending), West v. Stackley, C17-5368RBL (ifp pending), West v. Sessions, C17-5426RBL (filing fee paid). 24 CASE NO. C17-5368RBL - 1 1 and C16-5204RBL. The latter two were dismissed because West is not an attorney and cannot 2 represent a class. West has paid the filing fee in four of her current cases, but seeks to proceed in forma 3 4 pauperis in two: West v. Stackley, C17-5367RBL and West v. Stackley, C17-5368RBL. 5 A district court may permit indigent litigants to proceed in forma pauperis upon 6 completion of a proper affidavit of indigency. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). The Court has broad 7 discretion in resolving the application, but “the privilege of proceeding in forma pauperis in civil 8 actions for damages should be sparingly granted.” Weller v. Dickson, 314 F.2d 598, 600 (9th Cir. 9 1963), cert. denied 375 U.S. 845 (1963). Moreover, a court should “deny leave to proceed in 10 forma pauperis at the outset if it appears from the face of the proposed complaint that the action 11 is frivolous or without merit.” Tripati v. First Nat’l Bank & Trust, 821 F.2d 1368, 1369 (9th Cir. 12 1987) (citations omitted); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). An in forma pauperis complaint 13 is frivolous if “it ha[s] no arguable substance in law or fact.” Id. (citing Rizzo v. Dawson, 778 14 F.2d 527, 529 (9th Cir. 1985); see also Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1228 (9th Cir. 1984). 15 A pro se plaintiff’s complaint is to be construed liberally, but like any other complaint it 16 must nevertheless contain factual assertions sufficient to support a facially plausible claim for 17 relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citing Bell 18 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). A 19 claim for relief is facially plausible when “the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the 20 court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” 21 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. 22 23 24 -2 Each of West’s pending proposed complaints appear to arise out of the same facts, 1 2 though it is not at all clear what those facts are. She seeks to sue the Secretary of the Navy, but 3 each of her complaints allege that an EEOC ALJ is violating West’s rights and perhaps engaging 4 some sort of misconduct. Cause No. C17-5367RBL complains about Virginia MaGee, while 5 Cause No. C17-5368RBL asserts the exact same complaints about Robert Barnhart: 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 [Cause No. C17-5367RBL, Dkt. #1] 21 These allegations do not meet the in forma pauperis standard. First, it is not clear who 22 West is suing, or why. It appears that there is some ongoing EEOC process that she does not like, 23 but there is no indication that this is an appeal of some underlying decision, or that the 24 -3 1 administrative process that is a prerequisite for suing here is complete. Furthermore, and in any 2 event, the complaint is largely a list of statutes and conclusory allegations. There is no coherent 3 set of facts that support a plausible claim for relief against any party, much less the only named 4 party. The Motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis in West v. Stackley, C17-5367RBL 5 6 and West v. Stackley, C17-5368RBL is DENIED. 7 Ordinarily, the Court would permit the plaintiff an opportunity to amend her complaint to 8 cure these defects and articulate a plausible claim, even if it unlikely that she could do so. Here, 9 however, all six of West’s current cases in the District are essentially identical, and West has 10 articulated no basis for trying six identical lawsuits over one set of facts. These two cases are 11 redundant, as well as fatally deficient. 12 West v. Stackley, C17-5367RBL and West v. Stackley, C17-5368RBL are therefore 13 DISMISSED without prejudice to asset the claims in them in one of the remaining cases. 14 IT IS SO ORDERED. 15 Dated this 12th day of June, 2017. 17 A 18 Ronald B. Leighton United States District Judge 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 -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?