United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
November 28, 2005.
In re: Hubert Hudson Litigation.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: GARY LANCASTER, District Judge
Before the court are plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis and pro se complaint. For the reasons
that follow, plaintiff's motion will be granted, and his
A. Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
We first address plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in
Congress has authorized the federal courts to allow a party to
proceed with the commencement, prosecution, or defense of an
action in forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (a). In doing
so, Congress recognized the public policy concern that persons
who are unable to pay fees or give security should be permitted
to prosecute or defend actions that affect their legal rights. Because it appears that plaintiff is unable to pay the costs
associated with commencing this action, we will grant him leave
to proceed in forma pauperis.
Next, we turn to plaintiff's complaint.
In enacting section 1915, Congress granted the courts an extra
measure of authority when evaluating an in forma pauperis
action. Under that section, the court shall dismiss such an
action if it determines that the action is frivolous, or fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted. Id. at §§ 1915
(e) (2) (b) (I), (ii). If it so finds, the court may dismiss a
claim sua sponte, even before the summons issues. Johnstone
v. United States, 980 F. Supp. 148, 150 (E.D. Pa. 1997).
A complaint is frivolous if it is "based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory," or sets forth "clearly baseless" factual
contentions. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989).
Moreover, a complaint fails to state a claim if, with all
well-pleaded allegations taken as true, and viewed in the light
most favorable to plaintiff, it does not state any valid claim
for relief. See ALA, Inc. v. CCAIR, Inc., 29 F.3d 855, 859
(3d Cir. 1994). Plaintiff's handwritten complaint quite frankly is
indecipherable. We recognize that we are to afford pro se
litigants greater range of latitude in their pleadings and to
review their pleadings liberally. However, even a pro se
litigant is required to put forth a complaint containing a ". . .
short and plain statement of the claim . . ." so that the court
and the parties can understand what it is he is complaining
about. Finally, a court should dismiss the case pursuant to Rule
8(a), "if a pro se complaint is so confusing or
unintelligible that no party could possibly understand or reply
to it." Cole v. Commonwealth Federal, 1994 WL 618464, *1 (E.D.
Pa.); citing King v. Fayette County, 92 F.R.D. 457, 458(W.D.
Pa. 1981); Brown v. Califano, 75 F.R.D. 497 (1977). This is
clearly such a complaint.
For the foregoing reasons, the court will grant plaintiff's
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, but will
dismiss his complaint.
An appropriate order follows. ORDER
AND NOW, this 28th day of November, 2005, upon consideration of
plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis,
said motion is hereby GRANTED. It is FURTHER ORDERED that
plaintiff's complaint is hereby DISMISSED, with prejudice.
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