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Gibbons v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Oregon

May 12, 2014

TODD ROY GIBBONS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, DONNA LEE, NATALIE Q., SEAN HAMMACK, NORMA PRITCHARD, AMY BEYER, VALENTINO PLUMMER, CHRISTINE DARBY, MRS. MARTINEZ, RICHARD ALLEY, M.D., JOSHUA BOYD, BETHANY ROBINSON, DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, CORI NAVARRO, MARIA MENDOZA, DENISE, ERICA, LLOYD E. HARTFORD, DAVID E. CLARK, DAVID R. STARR, PH.D., MICHAEL O. SANT, M.D., ELLEN F. ROSENBLUM, AGING AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, SAMARITAN HEALTH PHYSICIANS MID-VALLEY MEDICAL PLAZA, CATHOLIC HEALTH INITIATIVES, Defendants.

Todd Roy Gibbons, P.O. Box 141, Ontario, OR 97914. Pro se.

OPINION AND ORDER

MICHAEL H. SIMON, District Judge.

Plaintiff Todd Roy Gibbons ("Gibbons"), proceeding pro se, brings this action to: (1) challenge a future action of the Social Security Administration ("SSA") relating to Gibbons' application for supplemental security income ("SSI") benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act; and (2) allege claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"). Gibbons' Complaint lists as defendants: Carolyn W. Colvin, Donna Lee, Natalie Q., Sean Hammack, Norma Pritchard, Amy Beyer, Valentino Plummer, Christine Darby, Mrs. Martinez, Richard Alley, M.D., Joshua Boyd, Bethany Robinson, Department of Human Services, Cori Navarro, Maria Mendoza, Denise, Erica, Lloyd E. Hartford, David E. Clark, David R. Starr, Ph.D., Michael O. Sant, M.D., Ellen F. Rosenblum, Aging and People with Disabilities, Samaritan Health Physicians Mid-Valley Medical Plaza, and Catholic Health Initiatives (collectively "Defendants"). Id. Service of process has not yet occurred.

Gibbons also filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis, a motion to grant temporary relief, and a motion to supplement the record and amend his Complaint. For the reasons stated below, the Court: (1) grants Gibbons' motion to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF 1); (2) dismisses with prejudice Gibbons' claims against defendants Lloyd E. Hartford, David E. Clark, and Ellen F. Rosenblum (ECF 2); (3) dismisses without prejudice and with leave to amend Gibbons' claims against all remaining Defendants (ECF 2); (4) denies as moot Gibbons' motion to grant temporary relief (ECF 3); and (5) grants in part and denies in part Gibbons' motion to supplement record and amend (ECF 4).

STANDARDS

"Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction" and there is a presumption "that a cause [of action] lies outside this limited jurisdiction[.]" Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). A federal court may sua sponte dismiss a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3); see Chapman v. Pier 1 Imports (U.S.) Inc., 631 F.3d 939, 954 (9th Cir. 2011). "A Rule 12(b)(1) jurisdictional attack may be facial or factual." Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004), cert. denied, 544 U.S. 1018 (2005); see Savage v. Glendale Union High Sch., 343 F.3d 1036, 1039-40 n.2 (9th Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 541 U.S. 1009 (2004). "In a facial attack, the challenger asserts that the allegations contained in a complaint are insufficient on their face to invoke federal jurisdiction. By contrast, in a factual attack, the challenger disputes the truth of the allegations that, by themselves, would otherwise invoke federal jurisdiction." Safe Air for Everyone, 373 F.3d at 1039.

A complaint filed in forma pauperis may be dismissed at any time, including before service of process, if the court determines that:

(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or
(B) the action or appeal (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see also Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989); Jackson v. State of Arizona, 885 F.2d 881, 882 (9th Cir. 1989). A complaint is frivolous "where it lacks an arguable basis either in law or fact." Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 325; Lopez v. Dep't of Health Servs., 939 F.2d 881, 882 (9th Cir. 1991); Jackson, 885 F.2d at 640.

A court must liberally construe the filings of a pro se plaintiff and afford the plaintiff the benefit of any reasonable doubt. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). "Defective allegations of jurisdiction may be amended, upon terms, in trial or appellate courts." 28 U.S.C. § 1653. "A pro se litigant must be given leave to amend his or her complaint unless it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment.'" Karim-Panahi v. L.A. Police Dep't, 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir. 1988) (quoting Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987), superseded on other grounds by statute as recognized in Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122 (9th Cir. 2000)). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), however, every complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." This standard "does not require detailed factual allegations, '" but does demand "more than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). "A pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

BACKGROUND

Gibbons brings suit against Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the SSA ("the Commissioner"), the Oregon Department of Human Services, Administrative Law Judges Lloyd E. Hartford ("ALJ Hartford") and David E. Clark ("ALJ Clark"), Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum, and 20 organizations and individually-named defendants allegedly acting as employees or agents of the SSA.[1] In his pro se Complaint, Gibbons: (1) challenges the decision of the Commissioner to grant Gibbons SSI benefits but review that award of benefits in six to 18 months to determine whether Gibbons is still ...


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