United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division
OPINION & ORDER
AIKEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Chad Johnson seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis
("IFP") in this action. ECF No. 2. For the reasons
set forth below, the Complaint, ECF No. 1, is DISMISSED with
leave to amend. The Court shall defer ruling on Plaintiffs
IFP petition pending submission of an amended complaint.
all parties instituting any civil action in United States
District Court must pay a statutory filing fee. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1914(a). However, the federal IFP statute, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(1), provides indigent litigants an opportunity
for meaningful access to federal courts despite their
inability to pay the costs and fees associated with that
access. To authorize a litigant to proceed IFP, a court must
make two determinations. First, a court must determine
whether the litigant is unable to pay the costs of commencing
the action. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Second, it must
assess whether the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune to such
relief. 28U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
regard to the second of these determinations, district courts
have the power under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) to screen
complaints even before service of the complaint on the
defendants, and must dismiss a complaint if it fails to state
a claim. Courts apply the same standard under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) as when addressing a motion to dismiss
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Watison
v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012). To
survive a motion to dismiss under the federal pleading
standards, the complaint must include a short and plain
statement of the claim and "contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim for relief
that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl
Corp. v. Twombfy, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged. The plausibility standard ., . asks for more than a
sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully." Id. The court is not required to
accept legal conclusions, unsupported by alleged facts, as
se pleadings are held to less stringent standards than
pleadings by attorneys. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519, 520-21 (1972). That is, the court should construe
pleadings by pro se plaintiffs liberally and afford the
plaintiffs the benefit of any doubt. Karim-Panahi v. Los
Angeles Police Dep't, 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir.
1988). Additionally, a pro se litigant is entitled
to notice of the deficiencies in the complaint and the
opportunity to amend, unless the complaint's deficiencies
cannot be cured by amendment. Id.
Chad Johnson alleges that Defendant Marci Crawford denied his
right to representation and due process. Although the
Complaint does not say precisely who Crawford is, the Court
infers that she is employed in some capacity by the Oregon
Department of Human Services and is somehow involved in a
juvenile dependency action involving Johnson's son.
Complaint in this case is disjointed and
unclear. From what the Court can understand, the
Oregon Department of Human Services took custody of
Johnson's son following allegations of misconduct by
Johnson. Johnson denies the allegations and it appears that a
court case of some kind was opened and subsequently closed.
It also appears that DHS does not permit Johnson to have
custody of his son. As to Crawford, Johnson alleges that she
"has failed to comply with *1 and your honor."
Compl. 5. The Court is at a loss concerning this allegation,
both because this Court has never issued any directions to
Crawford and because Johnson does not explain what he means
by "*1." Johnson also asks that this Court
preemptively deprive Crawford of the assistance of counsel,
apparently as a punitive measure. The Court finds this
ill-considered request to be both frivolous and malicious.
The only other factual basis for a claim that Johnson
advances is the following:
Marci stated to my lawyer that I could not record our
assessement [sic], Marci Crawford then stated that she would
meet with my self [sic], Michael Bertholf for my assessment
to keep her written answers honest[.] She failed to keep that
appointment of [F]riday nor returned his calls to confirm a
fails to explain how either the prohibition on recording the
unexplained assessment or the missed appointment constitutes
a violation of his due process rights. The Complaint contains
scattered and disconnected references to other constitutional
rights, including equal protection, double jeopardy, and the
right to counsel, but Johnson does not clearly explain how
Crawford infringed any of those rights.
light of the Complaint's internal contradictions and
factual deficiencies, the Court concludes the Johnson has
failed to state a claim. The Complaint will therefore be
DISMISSED with leave to amend. As the Court explained in its
Orders dismissing Johnson's previous pro se
cases, Johnson must bear in mind that the Court does not know
anything about the facts of his case, other than what he
chooses to include in the amended complaint. Johnson should
carefully explain what has happened, who has done what, how