United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
case comes before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b) and the Rules of this Court for consideration
of Plaintiff's Motion and Application To Proceed In
Forma Pauperis, which has been filed in the above case
on September 29, 2016. The undersigned files this Report and
Recommendation for the District Judge to whom this case is
assigned. For the reasons more fully stated below, the Court
finds that the Plaintiff should be allowed to file her
Complaint without prepayment of costs, but the Court
RECOMMENDS that the Complaint be DISMISSED for jurisdictional
deficiencies and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
FILINGS AND ALLEGATIONS
Plaintiff has filed an application to proceed in forma
pauperis, with the required detailing of her financial
condition. The application demonstrates that the Plaintiff
has little income and no assets.
Complaint, filed on September 29, 2016, the Plaintiff alleges
that a medical doctor at Cherokee Health Systems
“failed to notify” her of a decrease in her
thyroid medication prescription. She claims that this alleged
failure violates “HIPPA”. Plaintiff's demand for
relief is (1) additional testing and (2) “give patient
reason why drastic decease and cancer screening.” There
is no claim for monetary relief.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Congress has
conferred upon this Court, and other federal courts, the
jurisdiction to hear only two types of civil cases: those
arising under the United States Constitution and the laws and
treaties of the United States, see 28 U.S.C. §
1331, and those cases in which the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000.00 and the parties are diverse, see
28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Plaintiff has alleged a cause of action arising out of a law
of the United States, HIPAA, although as explained below, she
has not stated a claim.
Indigency and Failure to State a Claim
addition to federal jurisdiction standards, applications to
proceed in forma pauperis are governed by 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915. The purpose of 28 U.S.C. § 1915 is to
ensure that indigent litigants have meaningful access to the
courts. Adkins v. W.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co.,
335 U.S. 331, 342 (1948); Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 324, 109 S.Ct. 1827 (1989). To accomplish this end,
a court must evaluate the litigant's indigence, but
notwithstanding indigence, a court may sua sponte
dismiss a matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 if the
litigation is frivolous and malicious or fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.
Court will address the indigence and merits components of 28
U.S.C. § 1915 in turn.
1915 allows a litigant to commence a civil or criminal action
in federal court without paying the administrative costs of
the lawsuit. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25
(1992). The court's review of an in forma
pauperis application is normally based solely on the
affidavit of indigence. See Gibson v. R.G. Smith
Co., 915 F.2d 260, 262-63 (6th Cir. 1990). The threshold
requirement which must be met in order to proceed in
forma pauperis is that the petitioner show, by
affidavit, the inability to pay court fees and costs. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a). However, one need not be absolutely
destitute to enjoy the benefit of proceeding in forma
pauperis. Adkins, 335 U.S. at 342. An affidavit
to proceed in forma pauperis is sufficient if it
states that the petitioner cannot because of poverty, afford
to pay for the costs of litigation and still pay for the
necessities of life. Id. at 339.
present case, the Plaintiff's Application to Proceed
Without Prepayment of Fees and Plaintiff's economic
status has been considered in making the decision of whether
to grant leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and it
appears that Plaintiff's application sets forth grounds
for so proceeding. The Application to Proceed In ...