United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. Nye Chief U.S. District Court Judge.
before the Court is Plaintiff Alma Rosales' 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 Rosales' 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). Because she is filing to proceed
in forma pauperis, the Court must also undertake an initial
review of Rosales' Complaint to ensure it meets the
minimum required standards.
reasons explained below, the Court will GRANT Rosales'
application to proceed in forma pauperis and will allow her
to pay the filing fee over time. Further, the Court finds
Rosales' Complaint legally sufficient to survive initial
APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
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 she possesses and indicates that she is unable to pay
the fee required. The affidavit is sufficient if it states
that the plaintiff, because of her poverty, cannot “pay
or give security for the costs” and still be able to
provide for herself 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 and citation omitted).
Court has examined Rosales' application to proceed in
forma pauperis and finds it does not conclusively establish
her indigence. Rosales lists her monthly income as $1, 338,
which is the sum of the $1, 221 she receives in social
security disability benefits and the $117 she receives in
food stamps. Rosales' monthly expenses, which she lists
at $1, 707, exceed her monthly income, yet she does not
explain how she accounts for this difference of nearly $500.
Further, there is some ambiguity when it comes to her assets.
Rosales lists her house as an asset she owns worth $142, 000,
yet she states that she pays $800 a month towards rent or a
mortgage on that house. The Court is uncertain whether
Rosales has $142, 000 in equity in the house or she has no
equity and is instead renting a property worth $142, 000, or
if the answer lies with some other interpretation. Based upon
this ambiguity, the Court is unable to make an informed
decision as to Rosales' application to proceed in forma
Rosales' Complaint-as well as her motion for a Temporary
Restraining Order-state that the Idaho Department of Human
Welfare (“IDHW”) and Molina Healthcare have
recently denied her Medicaid/Medicare benefits and have also
lowered her food stamp budget. If these allegations are true,
then Rosales' income would be lower, likely making it
very difficult for her to meet her basic needs and pay the
filing fee for this case.
these reasons, the Court finds Rosales has not sufficiently
proved her indigence under 28 U.S.C. §1915 and may not
proceed without the prepayment of the requisite filing fees.
That said, the Court will allow Rosales to pay this fee over
time to reduce any financial burden. Rosales must pay the fee
in $50 monthly installments.
SUFFICIENCY OF COMPLAINT
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
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).
the Complaint states that IDHW lowered Rosales' food
stamp benefits due to a change in Rosales' expenses, but
Rosales alleges that she never reported to IDHW any such
changes because her expenses in fact never changed. IDHW
followed up by stating that the federal guidelines for food
stamps were changing, which is presumably why IDHW lowered
Rosales' food stamp benefits, though it does not explain
why it originally cited her expenses as the cause of change
of Rosales' benefits.
confused, Rosales elected to utilize the IDHW's
“fair hearing” process, which generally allows a
recipient to challenge an IDHW decision. Though Rosales
requested a fair hearing numerous times over the course of a
few months, one was never set. Even if one had been, though,
Rosales alleges that these fair hearings would not be
impartial because the hearing officers ...