United States District Court, D. Arizona
Victor O. Dema, Plaintiff,
Arizona Department of Economic Security, et al., Defendants.
JOHN Z. BOYLE, Magistrate Judge.
Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Victor Dema's ("Dema") Application for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (Doc. 2), which the Court will grant. However, as detailed below, the Court will dismiss Dema's Complaint (Doc. 1) for failure to comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court will allow Dema leave to file an amended complaint.
I. Application for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
In Dema's Application for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, he declares under penalty of perjury that he is unable to pay the filing fee and other costs associated with this case. Dema has presented financial information to support his Application. Given Dema's lack of significant income and assets, the Court will grant his Application.
II. Screening of In Forma Pauperis Complaint
A. Legal Standards
i. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)
For cases proceeding in forma pauperis, Congress provided that a district court "shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines" that the "allegation of poverty is untrue" or that the "action or appeal" is "frivolous or malicious, " "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); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126 n.7 (9th Cir. 2000) (noting that section 1915(e) applies to all in forma pauperis complaints, not merely those filed by prisoners). Accordingly, "section 1915(e) not only permits but requires a district court to dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint that fails to state a claim." Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1127.
ii. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that to state a claim for relief, a complaint must contain (1) "a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, " (2) "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " and (3) "a demand for the relief sought." The complaint also must contain "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to 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)).
Further, "[e]ach allegation must be simple, concise, and direct." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). "In order to assist litigants to understand" this requirement, "Rule 84 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides samples in an Appendix of Forms, which are intended to indicate the simplicity and brevity of statements which the rules contemplate.'" Kennedy v. Andrews, CV-05-2692-PHX-NVW, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32518, at *2-3 (D. Ariz. Dec. 8, 2005) ( quoting McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177 (9th Cir.1996)). Examples of different types of claims are contained in Forms 10 through 21.
The complaint must also provide each defendant with a fair opportunity to frame a responsive pleading. McHenry, 84 F.3d at 1176. Even where a complaint has the factual elements of a cause of action present but scattered throughout and not organized into a "short and plain statement of the claim, " the Court may dismiss the complaint for failure to satisfy Rule 8. Sparling v. Hoffman Constr. Co., 864 F.2d 635, 640 (9th Cir. 1988). Dismissal of the complaint is appropriate if it is so "verbose, confused, and redundant that its true substance, if any, is well disguised." Gillibeau v. City of Richmond, 417 F.2d 426, 431 (9th Cir. 1969).
B. Dema's Complaint
Although unclear, it appears that Dema's Complaint challenges previous termination proceedings brought against him by the State of Arizona related to his minor child. Dema also asserts several allegations against his ex-wife, who was at some point a part of the state termination proceedings, although she is not named as a defendant in this action. Dema further alleges that the Arizona Department of Economic Security, its psychologist, and other case workers have otherwise committed various violations of state law and other torts in pursing the termination of his parental rights. Additionally, Dema appears to bring claims against the ...