United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
JENA K. PAIGE, Plaintiff,
U.S. COMMISSION ON RIGHTS, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
LOZANO, Judge United States District Court
matter is before the Court on the Motion to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis, filed by pro se Plaintiff, Jena K. Paige, on March
7, 2017. (DE #2.) For the reasons set forth below, the motion
(DE #2) is DENIED and the complaint (DE #1) is DISMISSED
WITHOUT PREJUDICE pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
case, Paige names as the defendant the “U.S. Commission
on Civil Rights.” (DE #1 at 1.) She alleges that she
“was discharged from the United States Air Force
without any entitlements of compensation from [her] employer
from [her] disability, ” that the Department of Veteran
Affairs has denied her due compensation for her disability,
and that if she “were to notify the Civil Right's
about this matter to seek their assistance in protecting
[her] substantial rights of discrimination they would tell me
that they cannot help/defend/nor protect me from the
discrimination [of] the Department of Veteran Affairs.”
(DE #1 at 8.) Paige alleges that the Civil Right's
Commission “would and should have a duty to assist, but
due to the laws would not.” (DE #1 at 5.)
was discharged from the Air Force on June 2, 2006. (DE #1 at
19.) Since 2006, she has filed a number of civil cases
against the United States or the Air Force in the District
Court for the Southern District of Georgia, all contending
her military discharge was fraudulent. See, e.g., Paige
v. United States, 4:2010-cv-210 (S.D. Ga. Sept. 13,
2010); Paige v. United States Air Force,
4:2009-cv-182 (S.D. Ga. Nov. 30, 2009); Paige v. United
States, 4:2008-cv-71 (S.D. Ga. Apr. 8, 2008); Paige
v. United States, 4:2007-cv-151 (S.D. Ga. Oct. 9, 2007).
Each of these cases was dismissed on various grounds,
including that Paige had not exhausted her administrative
remedies, that the case was barred by the statute of
limitations and/or that the case was frivolous. See,
e.g., 4:2010-cv-210 (“As the Court has repeatedly
explained to her, her claims are frivolous, duplicative, and
time-barred.”). The Southern District of Georgia
eventually enjoined Paige from filing any more complaints in
that court related to her military discharge. In re Jena
Paige, 4:2010-mc-40 (S.D. Ga. Sept. 30, 2010)
(“[Paige] is advised that her crusade against the
United States is at an end. Paige should be ENJOINED from
filing any further complaints relating to her discharge from
the United States Air Force. Should she file another such
complaint, she will be subject to contempt for violating the
then filed a lawsuit in this Court, focusing on her military
discharge and asking the Court to review the adverse decision
she got from the Southern District of Georgia and the
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. See Jena Paige and
Jamal Paige v. United States of America, Case No.
1:11-cv-54 (N.D. Ind. Mar. 8, 2011). The Honorable Philip P.
Simon denied the motion for in forma pauperis in that case,
finding it frivolous due to the earlier lawsuits and because
it failed to state a plausible claim for relief. Id.
regard to Paige's request to proceed IFP, the IFP
statute, 28 U.S.C. section 1915, allows an indigent plaintiff
to commence a civil action without prepaying the
administrative costs (e.g. filing fee) of the action.
See 28 U.S.C. section 1915(a)(1); see also
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 27 (1992). When
presented with an IFP application, the district court makes
two determinations: (1) whether the suit has sufficient
merit; and (2) whether the plaintiff's poverty level
justifies IFP status. See 28 U.S.C. section
1915(e)(2); Denton, 504 U.S. at 27; Smith-Bey v.
Hosp. Adm'r, 841 F.2d 751, 757 (7th Cir. 1988). If a
court finds that the suit lacks sufficient merit or that an
inadequate showing of poverty exists, the court must deny the
in forma pauperis application. See Smith-Bey, 841
F.2d at 757.
at the first determination, an indigent party may commence an
action in federal court, without prepayment of costs and
fees, upon submission of an affidavit asserting an inability
“to pay such costs or give security therefor.” 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a). Here, Paige's filings indicate she
receives Social Security disability benefits in the amount of
$1, 010 per month and a VA pension of $300, and she is
supporting a child. (DE #2 at 2.) Paige did not answer two of
the questions on the form (including how much money she has
and the value of her property). Even assuming,
arguendo, that Paige has sufficiently established
she is unable to prepay the filing fee, her application still
fails because she has not satisfied the second requirement.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) directs the court to screen
all complaints filed with requests to proceed in forma
pauperis, and to dismiss the case if the court determines
that the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
This complaint is frivolous. The multiple Georgia cases and
the other case filed in the Northern District of Indiana have
repeatedly foreclosed Paige's similar claims, finding
they were frivolous and barring her from further filings.
this complaint also fails to state a claim on which relief
may be granted. Courts apply the same standard under section
1915(e)(2)(B) as when addressing a motion to dismiss under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Luevano v.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 722 F.3d 1014, 1018, 1027 (7th
Cir. 2013). A plaintiff is required to include allegations in
the complaint that “plausibly suggest that the
plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility
above a ‘speculative level'” and, “if
they do not, the plaintiff pleads itself out of court.”
E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d
773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting in part Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 569 n. 14 (2007)).
“Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that
all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if
doubtful in fact).” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(quotation marks, ellipsis, citations and footnote omitted).
Thus, a “plaintiff must do better than putting a few
words on paper that, in the hands of an imaginative reader,
might suggest that something has happened to her
that might be redressed by the law.”
Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 403 (7th
Cir. 2010) (emphasis in original).
Paige's allegations are confusing and do not state a
plausible claim for relief. She seems to allege that if she
were to notify the Civil Rights Commission about her
allegations and seek its assistance, then the Commission
would not help her. (DE #1 at 8.) This mere speculation about
what the Commission might hypothetically do is insufficient
to state a claim. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. It
is unclear what claim Paige is making about how the
Commission's actions (or inactions) could properly be
redressed in a lawsuit. Finally, any non-speculative,
cognizable claim against the Commission would still likely be
disposed of on immunity grounds. See, e.g., Crenshaw v.
Baynerd, 180 F.3d 866, 868 (7th Cir. 1999). For all of
these reasons, Paige has failed to state a claim for
reasons set forth above, the Motion to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis (DE #2) is DENIED and the complaint (DE #1) is
DISMISSED WITHOUT ...