United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
Magistrate Judge Schwab
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
PARADISE BAXTER United States Magistrate Judge
hereby recommended that the motion for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis [ECF No. 1] be GRANTED.
further recommended that this action be dismissed as legally
frivolous in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The
Clerk of Courts should be directed to close this case.
civil rights action was received in this Court on February
15, 2018. Plaintiff filed a motion seeking leave to proceed
in forma pauperis, but did not include the requisite
institutional account statement.
Order dated February 26, 2018, this Court closed the case and
directed that Plaintiff could reopen the matter by either pay
the filing and administrative fees or filing a motion seeking
leave to proceed in forma pauperis along with the
institutional account statement. ECF No. 2.
has submitted an institutional account statement in support
of his original motion seeking leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. ECF No. 3; ECF No. 4. The Clerk of Courts reopened
this case. Presently pending before this Court is
Plaintiff's motion seeking leave to proceed in forma
Standards of Review
The Prison Litigation Reform Act
April 23, 1996, the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(hereinafter, “Act”), Pub.L.No. 104-134, was
enacted to amend 28 U.S.C. §1915, which establishes the
criteria for allowing an action to proceed without payment of
costs. Section 1915(e) as amended, states in relevant part:
“The court shall dismiss the case at any time if the
court determines that -- ... (B) the action or appeal --(i)
is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted...” A claim is frivolous if
it: 1) is based upon an indisputably meritless legal theory
and/or, 2) contains factual contentions that are clearly
baseless. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327
(1989). A plaintiff has failed to allege a § 1983 claim
if the court is satisfied “that no relief could be
granted under any set of facts that could be proved
consistent with the allegation.” Hishon v. King
& Spaulding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984). This Court has
discretion to dismiss frivolous or malicious in forma
pauperis complaints under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d).
Wilson v. Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir.
1989). The U.S. Supreme Court has instructed that § 1915
provides the Court with the authority “... to dismiss a
claim based on an indisputably meritless theory, but also the
unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint's
factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual
contentions are clearly baseless.” Neitzke,
490 U.S. at 327. In fact, the statute not only empowers the
court to screen out frivolous cases before the complaint is
served, it actually encourages it. Roman v. Jeffes,
904 F.2d 192, 195-96 (3d Cir. 1990).
motions to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915 is a two-step process. See id. at 194
n.1. “First, the district court evaluates a
litigant's financial status and determines whether (s)he
is eligible to proceed in forma pauperis under
§ 1915(a). Second the court assesses the complaint under
[§ 1915(e)(2)] to determine whether it is
frivolous.” Id. (internal citation omitted).
Therefore, only after the district court grants the request
to proceed in forma pauperis may it dismiss the
complaint as legally frivolous. See Jackson v.
Brown, 460 Fed.Appx. 77, 79 n.2 (3d Cir. 2012)
(“As a procedural matter, therefore, the District Court
should have addressed Jackson's [ in forma
pauperis ] motion before dismissing the complaint as
frivolous, rather than deny the [ in forma pauperis
] motion as moot after dismissal.”); Spuck v.
Fredric, 414 Fed.Appx 358, 359 (3d Cir.2011)
(“When a complaint is submitted along with an [ in
forma pauperis ] application, the complaint is not
deemed filed unless and until [ in ...