Obrecht v. City of Tacoma

Filing 2

ORDER denying 1 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis without prejudice; plaintiff has 30 days to amend his complaint; signed by Judge Ronald B. Leighton.(DN) Modified on 7/20/2017 (DN). (cc to pltf)

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HONORABLE RONALD B. LEIGHTON 1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 7 8 BRIAN D. OLBRECHT, CASE NO. 3:17-CV-5534 RBL 9 Plaintiff, 10 11 12 v. ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IFP WITH LEAVE TO AMEND CITY OF TACOMA, Defendant. 13 14 THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Olbrecht’s Motion for Leave to Proceed 15 in Forma Pauperis [Dkt. #1]. Olbrecht is homeless and claims the City of Tacoma has enacted 16 an ordinance that targets the homeless by limiting where they may camp. 17 A district court may permit indigent litigants to proceed in forma pauperis upon 18 completion of a proper affidavit of indigency. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). The court has broad 19 discretion in resolving the application, but “the privilege of proceeding in forma pauperis in civil 20 actions for damages should be sparingly granted.” Weller v. Dickson, 314 F.2d 598, 600 (9th Cir. 21 1963), cert. denied 375 U.S. 845 (1963). A court should “deny leave to proceed in forma 22 pauperis at the outset if it appears from the face of the proposed complaint that the action is 23 frivolous or without merit.” Tripati v. First Nat’l Bank & Trust, 821 F.2d 1368, 1369 (9th Cir. 24 ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IFP WITH LEAVE TO AMEND - 1 1 1987) (citations omitted); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). An in forma pauperis complaint 2 is frivolous if “it ha[s] no arguable substance in law or fact.” Id. (citing Rizzo v. Dawson, 778 3 F.2d 527, 529 (9th Cir. 1985); see also Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1228 (9th Cir. 1984). 4 Olbrecht has sufficiently demonstrated his indigency. He resides in Tacoma and only 5 receives $855.00 for disability, unemployment, workers compensation, or public assistance each 6 month. He avers that he has no savings or property, and only $1,000 in cash. 7 The Court cannot assess the frivolity (or lack thereof) of Olbrecht’s claims, however, 8 because his complaint lacks sufficient detail to put the Court and the City of Tacoma on notice of 9 his claims and grounds for relief. Olbrecht’s allegation that the City is targeting the homeless 10 might warrant judicial review and intervention, but he neglects to describe his legal claim for 11 relief. See e.g., Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8. He should amend his complaint to include a short and plain 12 statement of the grounds for this Court’s jurisdiction and to develop the “who what when where 13 and why” of his facts more fully. 14 Olbrecht’s application as it stands is DENIED, without prejudice. He shall have 30 days 15 to amend his complaint to articulate a (proper) basis for this Court’s subject matter jurisdiction. 16 IT IS SO ORDERED. 17 Dated this 20th day of July, 2017. 19 A 20 Ronald B. Leighton United States District Judge 18 21 22 23 24 ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IFP WITH LEAVE TO AMEND - 2

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