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Vlachos v. Marinos

September 21, 2010

VICTOR VLACHOS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DOUGLAS M. MARINOS AND ASSOCIATES, P.C. AND DOUGLAS M. MARINOS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Presently before the Court is theplaintiff's complaint and application to proceed in forma pauperis. (Docs. 1, 2.) Because the plaintiff is indigent, he meets the requirements for in forma pauperis status. However, because the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, it will be dismissed and his motion will be denied as moot.

Background

The plaintiff, Victor Vlachos, brings suit against Douglas M. Marinos and Associates, P.C. and Douglas M. Marinos. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 2.)

The plaintiff's application describes his financial status as follows: he has been unemployed for the past six months, he has not received any money from any other source in the past twelve months, he has no cash or checking or savings accounts, and he owns nothing of value.

Analysis

An application to proceed in forma pauperis is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This section provides,*fn1 in pertinent part:

(a)(1) Subject to subsection (b), any court of the Untied States may authorize the commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit, action or proceeding, civil or criminal, or appeal therein, without prepayment of fees or security therefor, by a person who submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets such prisoner possesses that the person is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor. Such affidavit shall state the nature of the action, defense or appeal and affiant's belief that the person is entitled to redress.

. . . . (e)(2) 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.

This statute, enacted in 1892, was "designed to ensure that indigent litigants have meaningful access to the federal courts." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989) (citing Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 342--43 (1948)).

To effectuate § 1915, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has established a two-step process for reviewing in forma pauperis applications. See Deutsch v. United States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1084 & n.5 (3d Cir. 1995) (internal citations omitted). Leave to proceed is based on a showing that the litigant is unable to pay court costs and filing fees. Id. After in forma pauperis status is granted, the court determines whether the complaint should be dismissed for frivolity or malice under § 1915(e). See id.

I. In Forma Pauperis Status is Appropriate

Here, the plaintiff appears to be unable to afford counsel, and thus this Court finds that he is indigent and thus meets the requirements for in forma pauperis status. Thus, in accordance with 1915(e), the court evaluates whether the complaint should be dismissed based on ...


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