The opinion of the court was delivered by: Yvette Kane, Chief Judge United States District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania
Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Victor Sidorov's application to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. No. 2), motion for appointment of counsel (Doc. No. 4), and motion to waive his filing fee (Doc. No. 9). The Court will address each motion in turn.
I. Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
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). 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 owed to 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 (Doc. No. 2), Plaintiff avers that he is presently unemployed at the institution where he is being held. He indicates that he does not own any real or personal property. Plaintiff avers he has no cash assets and no monthly compensation.*fn1 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 of 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 be granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). In considering whether to dismiss a case under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a claim, courts apply the same standards as they would for a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Tourscher v. McCollough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999). Rule 12(b)(6) permits a court to dismiss all or part of an action for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Those claims that meet the pleading standard are allowed to proceed, while those that do not are dismissed. In addition, pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Pro se litigants are to be granted leave to amend, unless such an amendment would be inequitable or futile. Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229, 235 (3d Cir. ...