Loper v. Help Me Grow, No. 1:2016cv02768 - Document 3 (N.D. Ohio 2017)

Court Description: Opinion & Order signed by Judge James S. Gwin on 2/9/17 granting plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis and dismissing this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The Court further certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith. (Related Doc. 2 ) (D,MA)
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Loper v. Help Me Grow Doc. 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO LATASHA LOPER, et al., Plaintiff, v. HELP ME GROW, Defendant. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) CASE NO. 1:16 CV 2768 JUDGE JAMES S. GWIN OPINION & ORDER On November 14, 2016, Plaintiff pro se Latasha Loper filed this in forma pauperis action on behalf of herself and her minor children, P.B. and P.L., against Defendant Help Me Grown (“HMG”). Plaintiff alleges in the Complaint that HMG provides early intervention services for developmentally delayed infants and toddlers. She further alleges HMG “discriminated” against her minor children by not providing services to them. Plaintiff seeks $2 million in damages and an order reprimanding or removing HMG staff who denied her children services. Although pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), the district court is required to dismiss an action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989); Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196 (6th Cir. 1990); Sistrunk v. City of Strongsville, 99 F.3d 194, 197 (6th Cir. 1996). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. Dockets.Justia.com 1937, 1949 (2009). The pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require “detailed factual allegations,” but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. Id. A pleading that offers “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertion devoid of further factual enhancement. Id. It must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement,” but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Id. Where a complaint pleads facts that are “merely consistent with” a defendant's liability, it “stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to relief.’ ” Id. Principles requiring generous construction of pro se pleadings are not without limits. Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th Cir. 1985). A complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements of some viable legal theory to satisfy federal notice pleading requirements. See Schied v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 437 (6th Cir. 1988). District courts are not required to conjure up questions never squarely presented to them or to construct full blown claims from sentence fragments. Beaudette, 775 F.2d at 1278. To do so would "require ...[the courts] to explore exhaustively all potential claims of a pro se plaintiff, ... [and] would...transform the district court from its legitimate advisory role to the improper role of an advocate seeking out the strongest arguments and most successful strategies for a party." Id. As a threshold matter, while Rule 17(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a parent to bring suit on behalf of her minor child, it does not allow a non-lawyer parent to represent her child in federal court. Shepherd v. Wellman, 313 F.3d 963, 970 (6th Cir. 2002) (“parents cannot appear pro se on behalf of their minor children because a minor's personal cause -2- of action is [his] own and does not belong to [his] parent or representative”); Matthews v. Craige, Civ. No. 1:16-CV-11680, 2016 WL 3522320, at *2 (E.D. Mich. June 28, 2016) (“Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se in this action and is not a licensed attorney, he may not bring claims on behalf of his minor children.”). There is no indication that Ms. Loper is an attorney. Further, even construing the Complaint liberally in a light most favorable to the Plaintiff, Brand v. Motley, 526 F.3d 921, 924 (6th Cir. 2008), it does not contain allegations reasonably suggesting she might have a valid federal claim. See, Lillard v. Shelby County Bd. of Educ,, 76 F.3d 716 (6th Cir. 1996)(court not required to accept summary allegations or unwarranted legal conclusions in determining whether complaint states a claim for relief). Accordingly, the request to proceed in forma pauperis is granted, and this action is dismissed under section 1915(e). Further, the Court certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: February 9, 2017 s/ James S. Gwin JAMES S. GWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE -3-