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Jeffrey L. Cogburn v. Michael J. Astrue

September 18, 2012

JEFFREY L. COGBURN,
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

SCREENING ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S PRO SE COMPLAINT (Document 1)

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Jeffrey L. Cogburn filed this action on September 14, 2012. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff seeks to challenge a denial of Social Security benefits. 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

"Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid," the Court shall dismiss a case at any time if it determines that the action or appeal is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). See also Omar v. Sea-Land Service, Inc., 813 F.2d 986, 991 (9th Cir. 1987); Wong v. Bell, 642 F.2d 359, 361-62 (9th Cir. 1981).

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, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 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.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (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 states he has "been thru two S.S. Hearings and was denied S.S.I." He further contends an appeal was unsuccessful. He claims he has been unable to work since July 2003 after being "sent home by [his] employer, Northrup Grumman" following "five separate work related injuries." A physician associated with the workers' compensation proceedings found he was "unable to ever return to [his] past work due to [his] restrictions, depression, and 24/7 chronic pain." Further, he contends that during the hearings before the Social Security Administration "it was stated that due to [his] injuries and restrictions [he was] unable to work and [was] not qualified for any jobs . . .."

C. Analysis of Plaintiff's Claims

1. Rule 8(a)

As Rule 8(a) states that a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim." The rule expresses the principle of notice-pleading, whereby the pleader need only give the opposing party fair notice of a claim. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. at 45-46. Rule 8(a) does not require an elaborate recitation of every fact a plaintiff may ultimately rely upon at trial, but only a statement sufficient to "give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Id. at 47. As noted above, 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, 556 U.S. at 678.

In this instance, it is clear that Plaintiff believes that his health conditions prevent him from working. However, other than stating that his Social Security application was denied, referencing a physician's finding from another proceeding, and vaguely referring to "restrictions," depression and pain, Plaintiff has failed to identify with ...


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