United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
SHEILA M. EYAJAN, Plaintiff
STATE OF OHIO, et al, Defendants.
PARADISE BAXTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
here is Plaintiffs motion seeking leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. ECF No. 1. On May 31, 2019, Plaintiff Sheila
Eyajan, acting pro se, moved for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis along with a complaint. ECF No. 1. As part of the
screening process on a motion for in forma pauperis status,
the Court must review the complaint.
Order dated June 21, 2019, this Court directed Ms. Eyajan to
file an Amended Complaint by July 10, 2019 to cure several
deficiencies in the original complaint. ECF No. 2. When Ms.
Eyajan failed to comply, this Court issued an order directing
Ms. Eyajan to show cause for her failure. ECF No. 3. Ms.
Eyajan responded and this Court directed her to file an
Amended Complaint by August 12, 2019 or risk dismissal for
failure to prosecute. ECF No. 6.
August 12, 2019, Ms. Eyajan filed an Amended Complaint [ECF
No. 8] and ten days later, she filed a motion for leave to
file another amended complaint seeking to add details and
further information. ECF No. 9. By Order dated September 23,
2019, this Court granted Ms. Eyajan's motion and
instructed her to file a single all-inclusive Second Amended
Complaint before October 15, 2019. ECF No. 10.
October 17, 2019, Ms. Eyajan filed the Second Amended
Complaint. ECF No. 12.
Court has discretion to dismiss frivolous or malicious in
forma pauperis complaints under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d).
Wilson v. Rachn M, 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 v,
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989). 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.
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 forma
pauperis] status is granted. [... ] in that situation, the
District Court must first rule on the [in forma pauperis]
application and, only if it grants the application, proceed
to determine whether the complaint should be dismissed under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).").
legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to
state a claim pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is
identical to the legal standard used when ruling on a motion
to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). See Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236,
240 (3d Cir. 1999). However, before dismissing a complaint or
claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted pursuant to the screening provisions of either of
these two statutes, a court must grant the plaintiff leave to
amend his complaint, unless amendment would be inequitable or
futile. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d
103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002).
reviewing a pro se plaintiffs complaint, the court must
accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and
take them in the light most favorable to the pro se
plaintiff. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93
(2007); Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d
224, 229 (3d Cir. 2008). A complaint must be dismissed if it
does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 556 (2007). The court need not
accept inferences drawn by the plaintiff if they are
unsupported by the facts as set forth in the complaint.
See California Pub. Employee Ret. Sys. v. The Chubb
Corp., 394 F.3d 126, 143 (3d Cir. 2004) (internal
a court must employ less stringent standards when considering
pro se pleadings than when judging the work product of an
attorney. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-521
(1972). When presented with a pro se complaint, the court
should construe the complaint liberally and draw fair
inferences from what is not alleged as well as from what is
alleged. Dluhos v. Strasberg, 321 F.3d 365, 369 (3d
Cir. 2003). See also Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65
(3d Cir. 1996) ("Since this is a § 1983 action, the
[pro se] plaintiffs are entitled to relief if their complaint
sufficiently alleges deprivation of any right secured by the
Constitution."). Despite this liberality, pro se
litigants are not relieved of their obligation to allege
sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal claim.
of Plaintiffs motion for leave to proceed in forma
motion, Plaintiff states that she is unable to pay the filing
fee associated with this case. Based upon this averment, I
find that Plaintiff is without sufficient funds to pay the
costs and fees of the proceedings, and accordingly, her
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis will be
of Plaintiff s ...