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Camarena-Revis v. Stoneberg

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division

June 11, 2019

JEANNE CAMARENA-REVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
DONNA STONEBERG; FARMERS INSURANCE; and JODI KARRICK, Adjuster, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          ANN AIKEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Jeanne Camarena-Revis seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP") in this action. (Doc. 2) For the reasons set forth below, the Amended Complaint (doc. 17) is DISMISSED with leave to amend, plaintiffs IFP petition (doc. 2) and Motion for Protective Order (doc. 6) are DENIED with leave to refile, and plaintiffs Motion for Appointment of Pro Bono Counsel (doc. 10) is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was rear-ended by defendant Donna Stoneberg on February 22, 2017, Plaintiff alleges that before the accident, she did not have neck pain or any known degenerative diseases. As a result of the accident, she requires continuing medical care and suffers from emotional distress. After the accident, plaintiff was diagnosed with whiplash, evaluated or treated by a psychiatrist, and examined by a radiologist. Now, plaintiff has six unpaid medical bills.

         Plaintiff filed a claim for those medical bills with defendant, Farmers Insurance ("Farmers"), which insures Stoneberg. Jodi Karrick, a claim adjuster for Farmers, was assigned to plaintiffs claim.

         On November 5, 2018, Karrick emailed plaintiff stating that Farmers would likely not pay for plaintiffs ongoing medical treatment. In a letter dated April 26, 2019, Karrick informed plaintiff that Famers had reviewed plaintiffs medical records and believed that her injuries were degenerative in nature, rather than a result of the accident. Nevertheless, the letter stated that Farmers was willing to extend a settlement offer of $6, 000 as a compromise. Amend. Compl. Ex I.

         Plaintiff initially field an action against Farmers on January 23, 2019, along with an IPF petition. She alleged that Farmers was liable for the payment of her medical bills. On March 28, 2019, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the Court dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Court also ordered a limited term appointment of pro bono counsel, not to exceed three hours in length, for the purpose of reviewing the case with plaintiff and discussing options for how to proceed.

         After meeting with pro bono counsel, plaintiff filed her Amended Complaint. In the Amended Complaint, plaintiff added defendants Stoneberg and Karrick and included a three-page letter explaining plaintiffs claims, medical information from an examining radiologist, a letter from Farmers, and an email thread with Karrick.

         Plaintiff alleges that Stoneberg, Karrick, and Farmers are liable for the payment of her medical bills. She alleges that her pain is not degenerative in nature and is a result of the accident with Stoneberg. Plaintiff seeks $775, 000 in damages. Am. Compl. at 4.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         When a plaintiff seeks to proceed IFP, district courts have the power under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) to screen complaints even before service of the complaint on 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. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The court is not required to accept legal conclusions, unsupported by alleged facts, as true. Id.,

         Pro se pleadings are held to less stringent standards than pleadings by attorneys. Haines u. 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 he cured by amendment. Id.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Amen ...


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