United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (Doc.
S. Austin UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
plaintiff, Kathlene Freida Veltcamp (“Plaintiff”)
filed a complaint (the “complaint”) on April 26,
2017, challenging a denial of her Social Security Disability
Insurance Benefits. (“SSD”). (Doc. 1). As
discussed below, the complaint will be dismissed with leave
to amend because Plaintiff has not stated a claim and it is
not clear that jurisdiction is proper. Plaintiff will be
granted leave to file a first amended complaint to correct
A. Screening Standard
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court must conduct an
initial review of the complaint to determine whether it
“state[s] a claim on which relief may be granted,
” is “frivolous or malicious, ” or
“seek[s] monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” If the Court determines that
the complaint fails to state a claim, it must be dismissed.
Id. Leave to amend may be granted to the extent that
the deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by amendment.
Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir.
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 (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, 556 U.S. at 663
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual
allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusion are not.
Id. at 678.
determine whether a complaint states an actionable claim, the
Court must accept the allegations in the complaint as true,
Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Trustees of Rex Hospital, 425
U.S. 738, 740 (1976), construe 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). Pleadings of pro se
plaintiffs “must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Hebbe v.
Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (holding that
pro se complaints should continue to be liberally construed
B. Plaintiff's Allegations
complaint, Plaintiff alleges that she collected SSD from
1992-1998. She subsequently stopped receiving benefits when
she moved from Nevada to California. She applied to reinstate
her benefits in 2003, but her application was denied. (Doc.
1, pg.6). She acquired additional evidence and reapplied for
benefits again on February 12, 2013. She had a hearing on
October 14, 2015, and her application was denied by way of a
letter dated April 6, 2017. Plaintiff seeks back payment of
her SSD benefits.
8(a) states, 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. 41, 45-46 (1957). 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, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (2009).
case, although Plaintiff asserts that her applications were
wrongfully denied, she has not identified any errors in the
decision. Also, as described below, in order for this Court
to have jurisdiction, Plaintiff needed to exhaust her
administrative remedies, which includes appearing before an
administrative law judge (“ALJ”) for a hearing
and appealing any adverse decision to the Appeals Council. If
Plaintiff wishes to pursue her claim in this Court, any
pleading must identify specific errors in the ALJ's