United States District Court, E.D. California
DEBORAH BARNES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Ronnie Lee McDaniel is proceeding in this action pro se. This
matter was referred to the undersigned in accordance with
Local Rule 302(c)(21) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Pending
before the court are plaintiffs' complaint and plaintiff
Ronnie Lee McDaniel's motion to proceed in forma pauperis
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.)
Therein, plaintiff McDaniel alleges that the defendants
wrongfully accused him of being a child molester.
court is required to screen complaints brought by parties
proceeding in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122,
1129 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). Here, plaintiffs'
complaint is deficient. Accordingly, for the reasons stated
below, plaintiffs' complaint will be dismissed with leave
Plaintiffs' Applications to Proceed In Forma
fees must be paid unless each plaintiff applies for and is
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Here, plaintiff
RMDI Industries has not paid the applicable filing fees. Nor
can plaintiff RMDI Industries proceed in forma pauperis. In
this regard, the statute that permits a party to proceed in
forma pauperis only extends to individuals, not to artificial
entities. Rowland v. Calif. Men's Colony, 506
U.S. 194, 196 (1993).
McDaniel's in forma pauperis application does make the
financial showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).
However, a determination that a plaintiff qualifies
financially for in forma pauperis status does not complete
the inquiry required by the statute. “‘A district
court may deny leave to proceed in forma pauperis at the
outset if it appears from the face of the proposed complaint
that the action is frivolous or without merit.'”
Minetti v. Port of Seattle, 152 F.3d 1113, 1115 (9th
Cir. 1998) (quoting Tripati v. First Nat. Bank &
Trust, 821 F.2d 1368, 1370 (9th Cir. 1987)); see
also McGee v. Department of Child Support Services, 584
Fed.Appx. 638 (9th Cir. 2014) (“the district court did
not abuse its discretion by denying McGee's request to
proceed IFP because it appears from the face of the amended
complaint that McGee's action is frivolous or without
merit”); Smart v. Heinze, 347 F.2d 114, 116
(9th Cir. 1965) (“It is the duty of the District Court
to examine any application for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis to determine whether the proposed proceeding has
merit and if it appears that the proceeding is without merit,
the court is bound to deny a motion seeking leave to proceed
in forma pauperis.”).
the court must dismiss an in forma pauperis case at any time
if the allegation of poverty is found to be untrue or if it
is determined that the action is frivolous or malicious,
fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or
seeks monetary relief against an immune defendant.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). A complaint is
legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis in law or
in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
(1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28
(9th Cir. 1984). Under this standard, a court must dismiss a
complaint as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327; 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e).
state a claim on which relief may be granted, the plaintiff
must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In considering
whether a complaint states a cognizable claim, the court
accepts as true the material allegations in the complaint and
construes the allegations in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S.
69, 73 (1984); Hosp. Bldg. Co. v. Trustees of Rex
Hosp., 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976); Love v. United
States, 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 1989). Pro se
pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those
drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520 (1972). However, the court need not accept as true
conclusory allegations, unreasonable inferences, or
unwarranted deductions of fact. Western Mining Council v.
Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir. 1981).
minimum requirements for a civil complaint in federal court
are as follows:
A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief . . . shall
contain (1) a short and plain statement of the grounds upon
which the court's jurisdiction depends . . ., (2) a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, and (3) a demand for judgment for the
relief the pleader seeks.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a).
complaint asserts that this action is brought by two
plaintiffs-Ronnie Lee McDaniel and RMD Industries. However,
the complaint is Dated:ly by plaintiff McDaniel. In this
regard, the right to represent oneself pro se is personal to
the plaintiff and does not extend to other parties. Simon
v. Hartford Life, Inc., 546 F.3d 661, 664 (9th Cir.
2008); see also Russell v. United States, 308 F.2d
78, 79 (9th Cir. 1962) (“A litigant appearing in
propria persona has no authority to represent anyone other
than himself.”). A non-attorney “has no authority
to appear as an attorney for others than himself.”
C.E. Pope Equity Trust v. U.S., 818 F.2d 696, 697
(9th Cir. 1987). Individuals who are representing themselves
in this court may not delegate the litigation of their claims
to any other individual. Local Rule 183(a).
a corporation or other entity may appear only by an attorney.
See Local Rule 183(a). Unlicensed laypersons,
including the owners of companies, officers of a corporation,
partners of a partnership, and members of an association may
not represent their entities “pro se.”
Rowland, 506 U.S. at 201-02 (“It has been the
law for the better part of two centuries . . . that a
corporation may appear in the federal courts only through
licensed counsel . . . . [T]hat rule applies equally to all
artificial entities.”); United States v. High
Country Broadcasting Co., Inc., 3 F.3d 1244, 1245 (9th
Cir. 1993) (affirming district court's entry of default