United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER: 1) GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA
PAUPERIS [DOC. NO. 2] AND 3) DISMISSING COMPLAINT FOR FAILING
TO STATE A CLAIM PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(E)(2)
WILLIAM Q. HAYES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Thomas Goolsby is a state inmate who was temporarily housed
in the San Diego Central Jail ("SDCJ") at the time
he initiated this action. Plaintiff filed a Complaint pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a request for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis ("IFP"). (ECF Nos. 1, 2). Because
Plaintiff s Motion to Proceed IFP complies with 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(2), the Court grants him leave to proceed
without full prepayment of the civil filing fees required by
28 U.S.C. § 1914(a) and dismisses some of the claims in
his Complaint for failing to state a claim pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and§ 1915A(b).
claims that he has been placed in solitary confinement
without due process in addition to being subjected to
constant cell illumination and deprived of outdoor exercise
in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. (See
ECF No. 1 at 16-17.) He seeks injunctive relief along with
$100, 000 in compensatory damages and $250, 000 in punitive
damages from each named Defendant. (Id. at 18.)
Plaintiffs IFP Motion
parties instituting any civil action, suit, or proceeding in
a district court of the United States, except an application
for writ of habeas corpus, must pay a filing fee of
$400. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). The
action may proceed despite a plaintiffs failure to prepay the
entire fee only if he is granted leave to proceed IFP
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). See Andrews v.
Cervantes, 493 F.3d 1047, 1051 (9th Cir. 2007);
Rodriguez v. Cook, 169 F.3d 1176, 1177 (9th Cir.
1999). However, a prisoner who is granted leave to proceed
IFP remains obligated to pay the entire fee in
"increments" or "installments, "
Bruce v. Samuels, 136 S.Ct. 627, 629 (2016);
Williams v. Paramo, 775 F.3d 1182, 1185 (9th Cir.
2015), and regardless of whether his action is ultimately
dismissed. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) &
(2); Taylor v. Delatoore, 281 F.3d 844, 847 (9th
1915(a)(2) requires prisoners seeking leave to proceed IFP to
submit a "certified copy of the trust fund account
statement (or institutional equivalent) for ... the 6-month
period immediately preceding the filing of the
complaint." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2); Andrews v.
King, 398 F.3d 1113, 1119 (9th Cir. 2005). From the
certified trust account statement, the Court assesses an
initial payment of 20% of (a) the average monthly deposits in
the account for the past six months, or (b) the average
monthly balance in the account for the past six months,
whichever is greater, unless the prisoner has no assets. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4). The
institution having custody of the prisoner then collects
subsequent payments, assessed at 20% of the preceding
month's income, in any month in which his account exceeds
$10, and forwards those payments to the Court until the
entire filing fee is paid. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(2); Bruce, 136 S.Ct. at 629.
support of his IFP motion, Plaintiff has submitted a copy of
his San Diego Central Jail prison certificate. ECF No. 2 at
5; see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2); S.D. Cal. CivLR 3.2;
Andrews, 398 F.3d at 1119. This certificate shows
that while he has had monthly deposits to his account
preceding the filing of his Complaint, his current available
balance is $0.51 (ECF No. 2 at 5), and it appears Plaintiff
is unable to pay any initial fee at this time. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(4) (providing that "[i]n no event shall a
prisoner be prohibited from bringing a civil action or
appealing a civil action or criminal judgment for the reason
that the prisoner has no assets and no means by which to pay
[a] initial partial filing fee"); Bruce, 136
S.Ct. at 630; Taylor, 281 F.3d at 850 (finding that
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4) acts as a
"safety-valve" preventing dismissal of a
prisoner's IFP case based solely on a "failure to
pay . . . due to the lack of funds available to him when
payment is ordered").
the Court grants Plaintiff leave to proceed IFP, declines to
"exact" any initial filing fee because his trust
account statement shows he "has no means to pay it,
" Bruce, 136 S.Ct. at 629, and directs the
Watch Commander at the San Diego Central Jail to collect the
entire $350 balance of the filing fees required by 28 U.S.C.
§ 1914 and forward them to the Clerk of the Court
pursuant to the installment payment provisions set forth in
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
Legal Standards for Screening Complaint Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b)
Plaintiff is a prisoner and is proceeding IFP, his complaint
requires a pre-answer screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(b). Under these statutes, the
Court must sua sponte dismiss a prisoner's IFP complaint,
or any portion of it, which is frivolous, malicious, fails to
state a claim, or seeks damages from defendants who are
immune. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27
(9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (discussing 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)); Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004
(9th Cir. 2010) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)).
"The purpose of [screening] is 'to ensure that the
targets of frivolous or malicious suits need not bear the
expense of responding.'" Nordstrom v. Ryan,
762 F.3d 903, 920 n.l (9th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted).
standard for determining whether a plaintiff has failed to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted under §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as the Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) standard for failure to state a
claim." Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3dll08, 1112
(9th Cir. 2012); see also Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680
F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (noting that screening
pursuant to § 1915A "incorporates the familiar
standard applied in the context of failure to state a claim
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)"). Rule
12(b)(6) requires a complaint "contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation
marks omitted); Wilhelm, 680 F.3d at 1121.
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."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. "Determining whether a
complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] ... a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense."
Id. The "mere possibility of misconduct"
or "unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed me
accusation[s]" fall short of meeting ...