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Woods v. Franklin School Apartments

United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division

December 29, 2016

NIKITA WOODS, Plaintiff,
v.
FRANKLIN SCHOOL APARTMENTS et al, and TREVOR ALLISON, Defendants.

          ORDER

          John Johnston United States Magistrate Judge.

         SYNOPSIS

         Pending is Plaintiff Nikita Wood's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (Doc. 1) and proposed Complaint (Doc. 2.). The motion to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted. Based on the sua sponte screening required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court finds that Ms. Woods's Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Court will require Ms. Woods to file an amended complaint by February 6, 2017. If she fails to do so, her Complaint will be dismissed.

         JURISDICTION

         Ms. Woods filed this action in the Great Falls Division of the District of Montana. (Doc. 2.) Venue is proper as the defendants reside in Cascade County, Montana. Local Rule 3.2(b). The Court has personal jurisdiction over the parties, all of whom are “found” in Montana. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(k)(1)(A); Mont. R. Civ. P. 4(b). Ms. Woods attempts to allege a violation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, invoking subject matter jurisdiction. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The case was assigned to United States District Judge Brian Morris and referred to the undersigned under Local Rule 72.2(a)(1).

         I. MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

         Ms. Woods submitted an Application to Proceed in District Court without Prepaying Fees or Costs; it appears she is unemployed and does not have any income. (Doc. 1.) The Court finds this application to be sufficient to make the showing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) requires. Her request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted because it appears she lacks sufficient funds to prosecute this action.

         II. SUA SPONTE SCREENING PER 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)

         A. Standard

         A complaint filed by any person proceeding in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) is subject to a mandatory and sua sponte review and dismissal by the Court to the extent the claims are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); Calhoun v. Stahl, 254 F.3d 845, 845 (9th Cir. 2001) (“[T]he provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) are not limited to prisoners.”); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).

         A complaint is frivolous if it “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if a plaintiff fails to allege the “grounds” of her “entitlement to relief.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A complaint must set forth “more than labels and conclusions, [or] a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Id. It must “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Id.

         When a plaintiff files a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the challenged action must have taken place “under the color of state law.” Life Ins. Co. Of North America v. Recihardt, 591 F.2d 499, 501 (9th 1979). A complaint stating a claim under § 1983 against a private entity or individual must show that the State “significantly involved itself” in the alleged discriminatory action. Id. Significant involvement does not exist when the State merely regulates business conduct. Id.

         ANALYSIS

         Ms. Woods alleges that Defendants, a private entity and a private individual, violated the Equal Protection Clause by placing two different types of fire alarms in the apartment building where Ms. Woods resided: one that only requires one step to activate and another that requires two steps. Ms. Woods alleges that the two-step fire alarms are located in an area of the apartment building where the residents are predominantly ...


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