United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER: 1) GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA
PAUPERIS [ECF NO. 2] AND 2) DIRECTING U.S. MARSHAL TO EFFCECT
SERVICE OF COMPLAINT AND SUMMONS PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
1915(D) AND FED.R.CIV.P. 4(C)(3)
Cathy Ann Bencivengo, United States District Judge
Sims (“Plaintiff”), currently incarcerated at
Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (“RJD”),
and proceeding pro se, has filed a civil rights complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff did
not prepay the civil filing fee required by 28 U.S.C. §
1914(a) when he filed his Complaint; instead, he filed a
Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”)
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) (ECF No. 2), followed by
exhibits in support of his Complaint (ECF No. 5).
Motion to Proceed IFP
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 plaintiff's 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). However,
prisoners who are granted leave to proceed IFP remain
obligated to pay the entire fee in “increments”
or “installments, ” Bruce v. Samuels, __
U.S. __, 136 S.Ct. 627, 629 (2016); Williams v.
Paramo, 775 F.3d 1182, 1185 (9th Cir. 2015), and
regardless of whether their action is ultimately dismissed.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) & (2);
Taylor v. Delatoore, 281 F.3d 844, 847 (9th Cir.
1915(a)(2) also 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 CDCR
Inmate Statement Report demonstrating his trust account
activity and balances for the six-months preceding the filing
of his Complaint. See ECF No. 3 at 1-2; 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(2); S.D. Cal. CivLR 3.2; Andrews, 398
F.3d at 1119. The Court has reviewed Plaintiff's prison
certificate, but it shows that he has a current available
balance of zero. 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 the initial
partial filing fee.”); 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's Motion to
Proceed IFP (ECF No. 2) and assesses no initial partial
filing fee per 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). However, the
entire $350 balance of the filing fees mandated will be
collected by the California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) and forwarded to the
Clerk of the Court pursuant to the installment payment
provisions set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
Screening Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)
Standard of Review
Plaintiff is a prisoner and is proceeding IFP, his Complaint
also 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.1 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Wheeler v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., 689 F.3d
680, 681 (7th Cir. 2012)).
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.3d 1108, 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 this plausibility
standard. Id.; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret
Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).
in deciding whether Plaintiff has stated a plausible claim
for relief, the Court may consider exhibits attached to his
Complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(c) (“A copy
of a written instrument that is an exhibit to a pleading is a
part of the pleading for all purposes.”); Hal Roach
Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., Inc., 896
F.2d 1542, 1555 n.19 (9th Cir. 1990) (citing Amfac Mortg.
Corp. v. Ariz. Mall of Tempe, Inc., 583 F.2d 426 (9th
Cir. 1978) (“[M]aterial which is properly submitted as
part of the complaint may be considered” in ruling on a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.)).
the Court finds Plaintiff's Complaint sufficient to
survive the “low threshold” for proceeding past
the sua sponte screening required by 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b). See Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680
F.3d 1113, 1123 (9th Cir. 2012; Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678; Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105-06 (1976)
(prison officials are liable if they act with deliberate
indifferent to a prisoner's serious medical needs);
id. at 104 ...