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Emrit v. Spring Mountain Treatment Center

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

November 20, 2018

RONALD SATISH EMRIT, Plaintiff,
v.
SPRING MOUNTAIN TREATMENT CENTER, Defendant.

          ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE AND ORDER GRANTING APPLICATION TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF FEES OR COSTS [1]

          Derrick K. Watson United States District Judge

         On November 9, 2018, Plaintiff Ronald Satish Emrit, proceeding pro se, filed a Complaint against Spring Mountain Treatment Center (SMTC). Dkt. No. 1. Emrit also filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP Application”).[2]Dkt. No. 3. Because Emrit has shown an inability to pay or give security for the filing fee, the IFP Application is GRANTED. However, because it appears that Emrit filed this action in the wrong venue, he is ORDERED TO SHOW CAUSE why this case should not be dismissed without prejudice.

         ORDER GRANTING LEAVE TO PROCEED IFP

         Federal 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). While Section 1915(a) does not require a litigant to demonstrate absolute destitution, Adkins v. E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948), the applicant must nonetheless show that he is “unable to pay such fees or give security therefor, ” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).

         Here, Emrit has made the required showing under Section 1915(a). In the IFP Application, Emrit states that his sole monthly income is disability payments of $805. Further, Emrit states he has about $400 in a checking account, and owns no automobile, real property, or other assets exceeding $30 in value. Further, Emrit states that three individuals owe him about $4, 500 in total. Further, Emrit states that he has regular monthly expenses totaling $730. In light of these figures, Emrit's income falls below the poverty threshold identified by the Department of Health and Human Services' (“HHS”) 2018 Poverty Guidelines. See HHS Poverty Guidelines, available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/01/18/2018-00814/annual-update -of-the-hhs-poverty-guidelines. In addition, Emrit has insufficient assets to provide security. As a result, the Court GRANTS the IFP Application, Dkt. No. 3.

         ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE

         The Court liberally construes the pro se Complaint. Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987).

         In his Complaint, [3] Emrit asserts that he is a resident of Nevada, with a mailing address in Maryland. Compl. ¶ 4, Dkt. No. 1. Emrit further asserts that SMTC has various hospital locations throughout the country, with a principal place of business in Nevada. Id. ¶ 5. Plaintiff makes no allegation, though, that SMTC operates in Hawaii. Moreover, even a liberal construction of the Complaint does not reflect that any of the underlying events took place in Hawaii. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that Emrit does not appear to have intended to file this case in this District. Notably, in the Complaint, Emrit asserts that he “is filing this cause of action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa” because he anticipates moving to Iowa. Id. ¶ 4. Additionally, later in the Complaint, Emrit argues that the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has jurisdiction over this case on the ground of diversity. Id. ¶ 8.

         In this light, even without Emrit's statements concerning where he intended to file this case or which district has jurisdiction, the factual allegations of the Complaint do not suggest that venue is proper in Hawaii. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).[4] When Emrit's assertions regarding his chosen venue and jurisdiction are added to the factual allegations, it seems clear that this case should not be brought in this District.

         However, so the record is clear, the Court will allow Emrit an opportunity to show cause why this case should not be dismissed without prejudice in light of the clear deficiencies regarding venue in the Complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a);[5] see also Costlow v. Weeks, 790 F.2d 1486, 1488 (9th Cir. 1986) (explaining that a district court can raise the issue of improper venue on its own motion).

         Emrit may have until December 7, 2018 to respond to this Order to Show Cause. The Court forewarns Emrit that failure to file a response by December 7, 2018 will result in the dismissal of this case without prejudice.

         IT IS SO ORDERED.

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