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Terrie Lee Cook v. Michael J. Astrue

March 9, 2012

TERRIE LEE COOK,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING IN FORMA PAUPERIS APPLICATION (Document 2)
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (Document 1)

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Terrie Lee Cook ("Plaintiff") filed the instant action on March 8, 2012. Plaintiff also filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis on that same date. Having reviewed the request to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee, this Court GRANTS Plaintiff's in forma pauperis application.

Plaintiff appears to be challenging a denial of her application for disability benefits under Titles II and/or XVI of the Social Security Act. As discussed below, Plaintiff's complaint will be dismissed because it fails to state a claim. However, Plaintiff will be granted leave to file an amended complaint.

DISCUSSION

A. Screening Standard

Pursuant to Title 28 of the United States Code section 1915(e)(2), the court must conduct an initial review of the complaint for sufficiency to state a claim. The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the court determines that the action is legally "frivolous or malicious," fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). If the court determines that the complaint fails to state a claim, leave to amend may be granted to the extent that the deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by amendment.

A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . .." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusion are not. Id.

A complaint, or portion thereof, should only be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it appears beyond doubt that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claim or claims that would entitle him to relief. See Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984), citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); see also Palmer v. Roosevelt Lake Log Owners Ass'n, 651 F.2d 1289, 1294 (9th Cir. 1981). In reviewing a complaint under this standard, the court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question (Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Trustees of Rex Hospital, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976)), construe the pro se pleadings liberally in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff (Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000)), and resolve all doubts in the Plaintiff's favor (Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969)).

B. Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff's complaint indicates she suffers from several medical conditions, including chronic back and neck pain with bulging discs, osteoporosis, migraines, asthma, incontinence, kidney problems, insomnia and high cholesterol. (Doc. 1 at 1-2.) Plaintiff references the fact that during her "last hearing," an occupational expert testified that an individual with her limitations would be unable to work as no jobs would be available. According to Plaintiff, despite this testimony, the ALJ denied benefits. (Doc. 1 at 2.) Plaintiff believes "important or crucial information about [her] medical condition was either overlooked or discounted," and thus she believes the denial of benefits was improper. (Doc. 1 at 2.) Plaintiff's complaint does not refer to any dates or relevant time periods.

C. Analysis of ...


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