United States District Court, D. Hawaii
MO'I KAPU, fka JON ELEU FREEMAN SANTOS, aka JON SANTOS, Plaintiff,
ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE OF HAWAII, et al., Defendants.
ORDER (1) GRANTING APPLICATION TO PROCEED WITHOUT
PREPAYMENT OF FEES OR COSTS; AND (2) DISMISSING COMPLAINT
WITH LEAVE TO AMEND
Derrick K. Watson United States District Judge.
4, 2017, Plaintiff King Kamehameha VII, Ni‘i Loa
Mo‘i Kapu (“Mo'i Kapu”), formerly known
as John Freeman Eleu Santos, proceeding pro se, filed an
Application to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP
Application”) in a closed civil matter, Algal
Partners, L.P. vs. Jon Freeman Eleu Santos, et al.,
Civil No. 13-00562 LEK-BMK (D. Haw). Previously, on January 25,
2017, Mo‘i Kapu submitted a document entitled,
“Declaratory Relief Judgment” in that same civil
matter, Civil No. 13-00562 LEK-BMK (Dkt. No. 105), which the
Court now liberally construes as a new
Complaint. In it, Mo‘i Kapu attempts to assert
claims against the State of Hawaii and the State Attorney
General, Sheriff's Division, and Bureau of Conveyances.
As best the Court can discern, Mo‘i Kapu challenges
prior court rulings and the sovereignty of the United States
and the State of Hawaii. Because the Complaint fails to state
a claim for relief against any Defendant or provide a basis
for this Court's subject matter jurisdiction, the Court
DISMISSES the Complaint and GRANTS Mo‘i Kapu limited
leave to file an amended complaint in accordance with the
terms of this order by no later than June 9, 2017. The Court
GRANTS the IFP Application, as discussed more fully
Mo‘i Kapu is appearing pro se, the Court liberally
construes his filings. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d
1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987) (“The Supreme Court has
instructed the federal courts to liberally construe the
‘inartful pleading' of pro se litigants.”)
(citing Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982)
(per curiam)). The Court recognizes that “[u]nless it
is absolutely clear that no amendment can cure the defect . .
. a pro se litigant is entitled to notice of the
complaint's deficiencies and an opportunity to amend
prior to dismissal of the action.” Lucas v.
Dep't of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995);
see also Crowley v. Bannister, 734 F.3d 967, 977-78
(9th Cir. 2013).
Plaintiff's IFP Application Is Granted
courts can authorize the commencement of any suit without
prepayment of fees or security by a person who submits an
affidavit that demonstrates an inability to pay. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). “An affidavit in support
of an IFP application is sufficient where it alleges that the
affiant cannot pay the court costs and still afford the
necessities of life.” Escobedo v. Applebees,
787 F.3d 1226, 1234 (9th Cir. 2015) (citing Adkins v.
E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339
(1948)); see also United States v. McQuade, 647 F.2d
938, 940 (9th Cir. 1981) (The affidavit must “state the
facts as to affiant's poverty with some particularity,
definiteness and certainty.”) (internal quotation
reviewing an application filed pursuant to § 1915(a),
“[t]he only determination to be made by the court . . .
is whether the statements in the affidavit satisfy the
requirement of poverty.” Martinez v. Kristi
Kleaners, Inc., 364 F.3d 1305, 1307 (11th Cir. 2004).
While Section 1915(a) does not require a litigant to
demonstrate absolute destitution, Adkins, 335 U.S.
at 339, the applicant must nonetheless show that he is
“unable to pay such fees or give security
therefor.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).
the IFP Application indicates that Mo‘i Kapu is
employed part-time, and earned $1, 200 in take-home pay
during the four-month period from January through April of
2017. Based upon the IFP Application, Mo‘i Kapu's
income falls below the poverty threshold identified by the
Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”)
2017 Poverty Guidelines. See 2017 HHS Poverty
-of-the-hhs-poverty-guidelines. Accordingly, the Court finds
that Mo‘i Kapu has made the required showing under
Section 1915 to proceed without prepayment of fees, and
GRANTS his IFP Application.
Plaintiff's Complaint Is Dismissed With Limited Leave
review of the Complaint, the Court finds that Mo‘i Kapu
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. As
discussed below, even liberally construed, the Complaint
fails to state any discernible basis for judicial relief.
Standard of Review
Court subjects each civil action commenced pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a) to mandatory screening and can order
the dismissal of any claims it finds “frivolous,
malicious, failing to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeking monetary relief from a defendant immune
from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B);
Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir.
2000) (en banc) (stating that 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)
“not only permits but requires” the court to
sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis
complaint that fails to state a claim); Calhoun v.
Stahl, 254 F.3d 845, 845 (9th Cir. 2001) (per curiam)
(holding that “the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) are not limited to prisoners”). Because
Mo‘i Kapu is appearing pro se, the Court liberally
construes the Complaint.
Court may dismiss a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for “failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted[.]” A Rule 12(b)(6)
dismissal is proper when there is either a “‘lack
of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient
facts alleged.'” UMG Recordings, Inc. v.
Shelter Capital Partners, LLC, 718 F.3d 1006, 1014 (9th
Cir. 2013) (quoting Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990)). A
plaintiff must allege “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
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007));
see also Weber v. Dep't of Veterans Affairs, 521
F.3d 1061, 1065 (9th Cir. 2008). This tenet - that the court
must accept as true all of the allegations contained in the
complaint - “is inapplicable to legal
conclusions.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Accordingly, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of
a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements,
do not suffice.” Id. (citing Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555); seealso ...