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Spagnolo v. Watson

June 30, 2008

NICK SPAGNOLO, PLAINTIFF
v.
JOHN WATSON, D.D.S., DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Kane

MEMORANDUM

Before the Court is Plaintiff Nick Spagnolo's complaint (Doc. No. 1) and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. No. 2). In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant John Watson, D.D.S., "caus[ed] extreme damage" to his teeth and that Defendant "refuse[d] to perform dental repairs for [him]." (Doc. No. 1, at 1.) For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss his complaint for failure to state a claim.

I. DISCUSSION

A. Proceedings In Forma Pauperis

The federal in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, "is designed to ensure that indigent litigants have meaningful access to the federal courts." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989) (citation omitted). In the courts of this circuit, leave to proceed in forma pauperis is based upon a showing of indigence. Deutsch v. United States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1085 n.5 (3d Cir. 1995) (citing Roman v. Jeffes, 904 F.2d 192, 194 n.1 (3d Cir. 1990)).

A plaintiff seeking leave must file an affidavit of poverty with the court, disclosing every source of income, financial account, and valuable property, as well as the amount of any financial support of dependent persons. The court then conducts a thorough review of the affidavit and, provided it is satisfied that the plaintiff is without sufficient resources to pay the costs and fees of the proceeding, grants leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Id.

In his affidavit, Plaintiff indicates that he is presently unemployed, has only $300 in cash, and owns an automobile worth $2,000. His listed monthly expenses for food, rent, medical care, and car repairs are $450, $0-600, $20, and $20-$100, respectively. Based upon these figures, the Court finds that Plaintiff is without sufficient resources to pay the costs and fees of the proceeding. Accordingly, the Court will grant Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

B. Merits Analysis Under 1915(e)(2)

Having determined that Plaintiff is entitled to proceed in forma pauperis, the court is next required to assess the sufficiency Plaintiff's complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) before service of process. Section 1915(e)(2) states:

Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that-

(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or

(B) the action or appeal-

(i) is frivolous or malicious;

(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may ...


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