United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON MOTION FOR IN FORMA PAUPERIS STATUS AND
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON 28 U.S.C. § 1915(E)(2)
H. Rich III John H. Rich III United States Magistrate Judge.
pro se plaintiff, Jake Geyer Waterman, seeks in
forma pauperis status in connection with his complaint
against his former employer, defendant Paul G. White Interior
Solutions (“Paul White Interior”), for violation
of his rights pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act
(“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.,
and for defamation. Complaint for a Civil Case
(“Complaint”) (ECF No. 1) at Page ID ## 4, 9;
Application To Proceed in District Court without Prepaying
Fees or Costs (“IFP Application”) (ECF No. 4). I
grant the plaintiff's request for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis and recommend, following review pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), that the court permit this
case to proceed.
Application To Proceed in Forma Pauperis
forma pauperis status is available under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(1). In his motion to proceed in forma
pauperis, the plaintiff declares under penalty of
perjury that he has take-home pay of $78 weekly, has had no
other income for the past 12 months, has $250 in cash or in a
checking or savings account, has nothing of value, and has
$9, 910 in overdue bills. See IFP Application. These
financial circumstances entitle him to proceed in forma
Section 1915(e)(2)(B) Review
Applicable Legal Standard
federal in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. §
1915, is designed to ensure meaningful access to the federal
courts for those persons unable to pay the costs of bringing
an action. When a party is proceeding in forma
pauperis, however, “the court shall dismiss the
case at any time if the court determines[, ]” inter
alia, that the action is “frivolous or
malicious” or “fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted” or “seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
[under § 1915] are often made sua sponte prior
to the issuance of process, so as to spare prospective
defendants the inconvenience and expense of answering such
complaints.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 324 (1989); see also Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court
S.D. Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 307-08 (1989) (“Section
1915(d), for example, authorizes courts to dismiss a
‘frivolous or malicious' action, but there is
little doubt they would have power to do so even in the
absence of this statutory provision.”).
considering whether a complaint states a claim for which
relief may be granted, a court must assume the truth of all
well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all
reasonable inferences therefrom. Ocasio-Hernández
v. Fortuño-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir.
2011). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
a pro se plaintiff's complaint is subject to
“less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted
by lawyers, ” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520 (1972), this is “not to say that pro se plaintiffs
are not required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a
claim[, ]” Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888,
890 (1st Cir. 1980). To allege a civil action in federal
court, it is not enough for a plaintiff merely to allege that
a defendant acted unlawfully; a plaintiff must affirmatively
allege facts that identify the manner in which the defendant
subjected the plaintiff to a harm for which the law affords a
remedy. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
As noted, the statute that provides for waiver of the filing
fee also requires the court to determine whether the
plaintiff's case may proceed. In other words, the
plaintiff's complaint must be dismissed if the court
finds it to be frivolous or malicious, seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B). In this regard, a pro se
plaintiff's complaint must be read liberally. Donovan
v. Me., 276 F.3d 87, 94 (1st Cir. 2002).
plaintiff alleges the following:
Paul White Interior fired him for taking five working days
off to care for his father, who had a medical emergency (a
terminal illness). See Complaint at Page ID # 5.
plaintiff's father suffers from degenerative bone
disease, polythycemia blood disease, and a ruptured aorta.
See id. at 7. The plaintiff's stepmother
received a call from the doctor stating that if his father
“did not ...