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Carla Morgan v. Michael J. Astrue

June 19, 2012

CARLA MORGAN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, THIRTY DAYS COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND WITHIN

(Doc. 10)

Screening Order

On June 14, 2012, Plaintiff, proceeding in forma pauperis, by her Attorneys, Milam Law, filed an amended complaint. Because Plaintiff's second amended complaint continues to allege legal conclusions, rather than facts sufficient to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) requires this Court again to dismiss it.

I. Screening Requirement

The Court must screen any case in which a plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Screening is required even if a plaintiff pursues an appeal of right, such as an appeal of the Commissioner's denial of social security disability benefits. See, e.g., 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (establishing conditions under which a claimant of social security benefits may seek judicial review of the Commissioner's determination). A court must dismiss any case, regardless of the fee paid, if the action or appeal is (1) frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (e)(2)(B).

II. Cognizable Claim

In determining whether a complaint fails to state a cognizable claim, a court applies substantially the same standard applied in motions to dismiss pursuant to F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Gutierrez v. Astrue, 2011 WL 1087261 at *1 (E.D.Cal. March 23, 2011) (No. 1:11-cv-00454-GSA). "The focus of any Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal . . . . is the complaint." Schneider v. California Department of Corrections, 151 F.3d 1194, 1197 n. 1 (9th Cir. 1998). A court must dismiss a complaint, or portion of a complaint, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his or her claim(s) that would entitled the plaintiff to relief. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984). When a court reviews a complaint under this standard, it must accept as true the complaint's allegations (Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Trustees of Rex Hospital, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976)), construe the pleadings 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)).

A. Short and Plain Statement

The sufficiency of a complaint is first determined by referring to F.R.Civ.P. 8(a) which requires that a civil complaint contain:

(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;

(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief; and

(3) a demand for the relief sought which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.

"Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions." Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002). A complaint appealing the Commissioner's decision denying social security disability benefits is not exempt from the general rules of civil pleading. "While [42 U.S.C.] ยง 405(g) does not require that a complaint spell out the basis upon which relief might be granted, Rule 8(a) requires a civil plaintiff to assert the basis upon which he grounds his claim." Brown v. Astrue, 2011 WL 3664429 at *2 (D.N.H. August 19, 2011) (No. 11-cv-056-JL). The ...


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