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Spreadbury v. Saint Alphonsus Behavioral Health

United States District Court, D. Idaho

October 9, 2019

ANDREA IRENE LEAH SPREADBURY, Plaintiff,
v.
SAINT ALPHONSUS BEHAVIORAL HEALTH, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          David C. Nye Chief U.S. District Court Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Andrea Spreadbury's[1] Complaint (Dkt. 2) and Application for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (Dkt. 1). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915, the Court must review Spreadbury's request to determine whether she is entitled to proceed in forma pauperis-which permits civil litigants to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee or to pay the filing fee over time. Rice v. City of Boise City, No. 1:13-CV-00441-CWD, 2013 WL 6385657, at *1 (D. Idaho Dec. 6, 2013). The Court must also undertake an initial review of Spreadbury's Complaint to ensure it meets the minimum required standards.

         For the reasons explained below, the Court will GRANT Spreadbury's application to proceed in forma pauperis. After review of the Complaint, however, the Court must DISMISS the case WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Court will allow Spreadbury an opportunity to amend her Complaint.

         II. APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

         “[A]ny court of the United States may authorize the commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit, action or proceeding, civil or criminal, . . . without prepayment of fees or security therefor.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). In order to qualify for in forma pauperis status, a plaintiff must submit an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets he possesses and indicates that he is unable to pay the fee required. The affidavit is sufficient if it states that the plaintiff, because of his poverty, cannot “pay or give security for the costs” and still be able to provide for himself and dependents “with necessities of life.” Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Numours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948). The affidavit must “state the facts as to affiant's poverty with some particularity, definiteness and certainty.” United States v. McQuade, 647 F.2d 938, 940 (9th Cir. 1981) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         The Court has examined Spreadbury's application to proceed in forma pauperis and finds it establishes her indigence. To begin, Spreadbury swears or affirms under penalty of perjury that she is unable to pay the filing fee at the time of filing as a result of her poverty. Dkt. 1. Spreadbury's indicates her only source of income is from disability, her only asset a checking account containing $73.00, and her expenses for the basic necessities of food, shelter, and clothing nearly equates to her limited income. Id. Thus, Spreadbury qualifies for in forma pauperis status and her application is GRANTED. Spreadbury need not pay the filing fee in order to proceed.

         As will be explained in the next section, though, the Court must dismiss this case for the time being due to Spreadbury's inadequate allegations. The Court next turns to its initial review of Spreadbury's Complaint.

         III. SUFFICIENCY OF COMPLAINT

         The Court is required to screen complaints that are brought by litigants who seek in forma pauperis status. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The Court must dismiss a plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, if it: (1) is frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i-iii). To state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a plaintiff's complaint must include facts sufficient to show a plausible claim for relief. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009).

         During this initial review, courts generally construe pro se pleadings liberally, giving pro se plaintiffs the benefit of any doubt. See Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000). Even so, plaintiffs-whether represented or not-have the burden of articulating their claims clearly and alleging facts sufficient to support review of each claim. Pena v. Gardner, 976 F.2d 469, 471 (9th Cir. 1992). Additionally, if amending the complaint would remedy the deficiencies, plaintiffs should be notified and provided an opportunity to amend. See Jackson v. Carey, 353 F.3d 750, 758 (9th Cir. 2003).

         Here, the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In fact, it makes no allegations whatsoever. Spreadbury names herself and the defendant but provides no other information. The cover sheet for her Complaint gives a bit more information by indicating she is suing under “1983” for “violation of 8th and 11th Amendments, ” which the Court construes as a civil rights violation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         Outside of her pleadings, Spreadbury included some information in a letter she filed shortly after she filed her Complaint. Dkt. 4. In this letter, Spreadbury indicates the proper spelling of her last name and states that she was improperly incarcerated at St. Alphonsus Medical Hospital. This information is a step in the right direction, but still falls woefully short of making a plausible claim for relief. Further, this information-and much more- must be included in a complaint, not in a letter.

         In sum, the Court must dismiss a complaint if there are no facts alleged in the Complaint for the Court to review. Spreadbury's Complaint contains no claims ...


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