United States District Court, E.D. California
ALLISON CLAIRE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
are proceeding in this action pro se. This matter was
accordingly referred to the undersigned by E.D. Cal. R.
(“Local Rule”) 302(c)(21). Plaintiff Clinton
Ransom has requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. ECF No. 2. The request
will be denied because (1) plaintiff's IFP affidavit
fails to establish that he cannot afford the filing fee, and
(2) the complaint, in its current form, is frivolous.
INSUFFICIENT INFORMATION IN THE IFP APPLICATION
Clinton Ransom filed an application to proceed IFP that is
entirely blank. ECF No. 2. To prevail on a motion to proceed
IFP, plaintiff need not demonstrate that he is completely
destitute, but he must show that because of his poverty, he
“cannot pay the court costs and still afford the
necessities of life.” Escobedo v. Applebees,
787 F.3d 1226, 1234 (9th Cir. 2015) (citing Adkins v.
E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339-40
(1948)). In addition, plaintiff “must allege poverty
‘with some particularity, definiteness and
certainty.'” Id. (quoting United States v.
McQuade, 647 F.2d 938, 940 (9th Cir.1981)).
plaintiff Ransom filed a blank application, plaintiff's
application fails to establish that he is entitled to
prosecute this case without paying the required fees. The
application will therefore be denied.
“plaintiff's claim appears to be frivolous on the
face of the complaint, ” the district court may
“deny plaintiff leave to file in forma
pauperis.” O'Loughlin v. Doe, 920
F.2d 614, 617 (9th Cir. 1990). Where, as here, the facially
frivolous action has already been filed, the court is
“authorized to deny leave to proceed in forma
pauperis.” Reece v. State of Wash., 310 F.2d
139, 140 (9th Cir. 1962).
is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989). In reviewing a complaint under this
standard, the court will (1) accept as true all of the
factual allegations contained in the complaint, unless they
are clearly baseless or fanciful, (2) construe those
allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and
(3) resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's favor. See
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327; Erickson v. Pardus,
551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Von Saher v. Norton Simon Museum
of Art at Pasadena, 592 F.3d 954, 960 (9th Cir. 2010),
cert. denied, 564 U.S. 1037 (2011); Hebbe v.
Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 340 (9th Cir. 2010). However, the
court need not accept as true, legal conclusions cast in the
form of factual allegations, or allegations that contradict
matters properly subject to judicial notice. See Western
Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir.
1981); Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d
979, 988 (9th Cir.), as amended, 275 F.3d 1187
pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those
drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520 (1972). Pro se complaints are construed liberally and may
only be dismissed if it appears beyond doubt that the
plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim
which would entitle him to relief. Nordstrom v.
Ryan, 762 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir. 2014). A pro se
litigant is entitled to notice of the deficiencies in the
complaint and an opportunity to amend, unless the
complaint's deficiencies could not be cured by amendment.
See Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir.
complaint appears to be brought on behalf of four plaintiffs:
Clinton Ransom, R.E.R., Robert Lopez, Lorene Thomas, and R.L.
ECF No. 1 at 1. The complaint was filed by plaintiff Clinton
Ransom. Id. At the top of the complaint plaintiff
wrote the word “class.” Id. Under
“Basis for Jurisdiction” plaintiff checked the
box labeled “Federal question.” Id. at
3. When asked to list the specific federal statutes, federal
treaties, and/or provisions of the United States Constitution
at issue, plaintiff wrote: “limited warranty in
habitable, breach of contract, fraud, assaults and batteries,
real property liability, provisional negligence, retaliation,
business tort, intentional distress, unsecured mailbox, gov.
extortion.” Id. at 4. Under “Statement
of Claim” plaintiff alleges that “the
property” is roach and bedbug infested and otherwise
uninhabitable, and that the owners and staff violate tenants
and filed false criminal reports, engaged in illegal
evictions and tenant violations, and disregard tenant safety
while taking government money. Id. at 6.
preliminary matter, the word “class” written at
the top of the complaint indicates that plaintiff is
attempting to bring a class action. Plaintiff, however, is a
non-lawyer proceeding without counsel. It is well established
that a layperson cannot ordinarily represent the interests of
a class. See McShane v. United States, 366 F.2d 286
(9th Cir. 1966). This rule becomes almost absolute when, as
here, the putative class representative is incarcerated and
proceeding pro se. Oxendine v. Williams, 509 F.2d
1405, 1407 (4th Cir. 1975). In direct terms, plaintiff cannot
“fairly and adequately protect the interests of the
class, ” as required by Rule 23(a)(4) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. See Martin v. Middendorf,
420 F.Supp. 779 (D.D.C. 1976). This action, therefore, will
not be construed as a class action and instead will be
construed as an individual civil suit brought by Clinton
Ransom as sole plaintiff.
complaint does not contain a “short and plain”
statement setting forth the basis for federal jurisdiction
(that is, why the lawsuit is filed in this federal court
rather than a state court), or plaintiff's claims (that
is, who did what to plaintiff and how he was harmed), even
though those things are required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1),
(a)(2). None of the allegations plaintiff has made rely
appear to rely on federal ...