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Virginia Park Community Coalition v. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

January 30, 2015

VIRGINIA PARK COMMUNITY COALITION, and JOYCE MOORE, and CITIZENS OF THE CITY OF DETROIT, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, and CITY OF DETROIT MAYOR MIKE DUGGAN, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER DIMISSING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1915(E)(2)(B) (DKT. 1)

TERRENCE G. BERG, District Judge.

Plaintiff Joyce Moore, proceeding pro se, filed this instant lawsuit along with an application to proceed in forma pauperis filed on December 17, 2014, (Dkt. 1; Dkt. 2). For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED and her complaint is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

I. Plaintiff's Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

Plaintiff has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis, or without the prepayment of fees. 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (a)(1) provides that:

Any court of the United States may authorize the commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit, action or proceeding... without prepayment of fees or security therefor, by a person who submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets... [and] that the person is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor.

If an application to proceed in forma pauperis is filed along with a facially sufficient affidavit, the court should permit the complaint to be filed. See Gibson v. R.G. Smith Co., 915 F.2d 260, 261 (6th Cir. 1990). Once the complaint has been filed, it is then tested to determine whether it is frivolous or if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See id. at 261. The Court finds Plaintiff's financial affidavit to be facially sufficient; therefore, the Court will GRANT Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis.

II. Dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)

The Supreme Court has recognized that Congress, in enacting the federal in forma pauperis statute, "intended to guarantee that no citizen shall be denied an opportunity to commence, prosecute, or defend an action, civil or criminal, in any court of the United States, solely because... poverty makes it impossible... to pay or secure the costs of litigation." Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31, 112 S.Ct. 1728, 118 L.Ed.2d 340 (1992) (quoting Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 342, 69 S.Ct. 85, 93 L.Ed. 43 (1948)). At the same time, however, "Congress recognized that a litigant whose filing fees and court costs are assumed by the public, unlike a paying litigant, lacks an economic incentive to refrain from filing frivolous, malicious, or repetitive lawsuits.'" Denton, 504 U.S. at 31 (quoting Neitzke v. Wiliams, 490 U.S. 319, 324, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989)). Responding to this concern, Congress provided § 1915(e)(2) which establishes that a court "shall dismiss the case" if the court finds 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.

When a plaintiff proceeds without the assistance of counsel, a court is required to liberally construe documents and hold them to a less stringent standard than similar pleadings drafted by an attorney. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972). Nevertheless, a complaint must contain more than legal labels, conclusions, and a recitation of the elements of a cause of action. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 ...


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