United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER DIRECTING U.S. MARSHAL SERVICE (ECF No.
Janis L. Sammartino United States District Judge.
August 16, 2017, the Court granted Plaintiff Nubia Elena
Jamma's Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
(“IFP”), but dismissed Plaintiff's complaint
for failure to survive the sua sponte screening
required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). (ECF No. 4.)
Specifically, Plaintiff merely provided recitations of law
without any factual allegations. (Id. at 4.)
Plaintiff has now filed a First Amended Complaint
(“FAC”) that purportedly addresses these
deficiencies. (ECF No. 5.)
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) &
Court must screen every civil action brought pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a) and dismiss any case it finds
“frivolous or malicious, ” “fails to state
a claim on which relief may be granted, ” or
“seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B);
see also Calhoun v. Stahl, 254 F.3d 845, 845 (9th
Cir. 2001) (“[T]he provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) are not limited to prisoners.”);
Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir.
2000) (en banc) (noting that 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)
“not only permits but requires a district court to
dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint that fails to state a
amended by the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) mandates
that the court reviewing an action filed pursuant to the IFP
provisions of § 1915 make and rule on its own motion to
dismiss before directing the Marshal to effect service
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(c)(3).
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3); Navarette v.
Pioneer Med. Ctr., No. 12-cv-0629-WQH (DHB), 2013 WL
139925, at *1 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 9, 2013).
complaints 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 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 555
(2007)). “[D]etermining whether a complaint states a
plausible claim is context-specific, requiring the reviewing
court to draw on its experience and common sense.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663-64 (citing Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556).
there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should
assume their veracity, and then determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement of relief.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. “[W]hen determining
whether a complaint states a claim, a court must accept as
true all allegations of material fact and must construe those
facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.”
Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000);
see also Andrews v. King, 393 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th
Cir. 2005); Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193,
1194 (9th Cir. 1998) (“The language of §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) parallels the language of Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).”).
factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions
are not.” Hoagland v. Astrue, No.
1:12-cv-00973-SMS, 2012 WL 2521753, at *3 (E.D. Cal. June 28,
2012) (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Courts cannot
accept legal conclusions set forth in a complaint if the
plaintiff has not supported her contentions with facts.
Id. (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679).
social security appeals, a complaint challenging the denial
of benefits “must provide a statement identifying the
basis of the plaintiff's disagreement with the Social
Security Administration's determination and must make a
showing that the plaintiff is entitled to relief.”
Montoya v. Colvin, No. 2:16-cv-00454-RFB-NJK, 2016
WL 890922, at *2 (D. Nev. Mar. 8, 2016) (collecting cases)
(finding that the plaintiff failed to state a claim for
relief where the complaint merely alleged that the
Commissioner's decision to deny benefits was wrong
without explaining why, and instead simply recited the
general standards governing review of that
decision). “The purpose of the complaint is to
briefly and plainly allege facts supporting the legal
conclusion that the Commissioner's decision was
wrong.” Hoagland, 2012 WL 2521753, at *3
(citing Brown v. Astrue, No. 11-cv-056-JL, 2011 WL
3664429, at *3 (D.N.H. Aug. 19, 2011)).
present case Plaintiff seeks review of her Social Security
Act (“SSA”) benefits denial. (See
generally FAC.) Plaintiff alleges that there is no
substantial evidence in the record to support the SSA
Commissioner's decision, (id. ¶¶
9(a)-(b)), and that the evidence in the record supports only
the finding that Plaintiff is and has been continuously
disabled as defined in the Social Security Act, (id.
¶ 9(c)). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that she was
found to have severe impairments of a depressive disorder and
cognitive disorder, yet the ALJ found that she had the
residual functional capacity to perform her past relevant
work. (Id. ¶¶ 9(d)-(f).) Plaintiff
maintains that the ALJ failed to properly evaluate the
medical evidence and subjective complaints in making this
finding. (Id. ¶ 9(f).) The Court finds that the
allegations in Plaintiff's FAC are sufficient to survive
the sua sponte screening required by 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2). Cf. Harris v. Colvin, No. SACV
14-0383-GW (RNB), 2014 WL 1095941, at *4 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 17,
2014) (concluding that the plaintiff had failed to state a
claim for relief where the complaint did not specify why the
ALJ's findings were not supported by substantial evidence
or the reasons why the proper legal standards were not
applied); Montoya, 2016 WL 890922, at *2 (dismissing
for failure to state a claim under screening duty and
explaining that “Plaintiff fails to state the nature of
his disability or when it commenced, alleging only that
‘[Plaintiff] is, and at all times relevant to this
action, disabled as that term is defined in the Social
Security Act.' . . . . Moreover, Plaintiff alleges merely
that the Commissioner's decision to deny her benefits was
wrong without any indication as to why it was wrong other
than a recitation of the general standards that govern this
Court's review of that decision” (first alteration
is therefore entitled to U.S. Marshal service on her behalf.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(d) (“The officers of the court
shall issue and serve all process, and perform all duties in
[IFP] cases.”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(c)(3) (“[T]he
court may order that service be made by a United States
marshal or deputy marshal . . . if the plaintiff is
authorized to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915.”). Plaintiff is cautioned, however, that
“the sua sponte screening and dismissal
procedure is cumulative of, and not a substitute for, any
subsequent Rule 12(b)(6) motion that [a defendant] may choose
to bring.” Teahan v. Wilhelm, 481 F.Supp.2d
1115, 1119 (S.D. Cal. 2007).
cause appearing, IT IS ORDERED that:
Clerk is DIRECTED to issue a summons as to
Plaintiff's FAC (ECF No. 5) upon Defendant and forward it
to Plaintiff along with a blank U.S. Marshal Form 285 for the
named Defendant. In addition, the Clerk is
DIRECTED to provide Plaintiff with a
certified copy of this Order and a certified copy of her
Complaint (ECF No. 1) and the summons so that he may serve
the named Defendant. Upon receipt of this “IFP Package,
” Plaintiff is DIRECTED to complete
the Form 285 as completely and accurately as possible, ...