United States District Court, N.D. Indiana
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Tyquan Stewart's
Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 2], filed June
29, 2017. The Plaintiff filed a Complaint [ECF No. 1] against
Defendants Ravenscroft Beauty College and Magdalene (an
employee or owner) alleging that the Defendants denied him
the opportunity to attend the vocational school. For the
reasons set forth below, the Plaintiff's Motion is
DENIED, and the Plaintiff's Complaint is DISMISSED
WITHOUT PREJUDICE under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
a plaintiff must pay a statutory filing fee to bring an
action in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). However,
the federal in forma pauperis (IFP) statute, 28 U.S.C. §
1915, provides indigent litigants an opportunity for
meaningful access to the federal courts despite their
inability to pay the costs and fees associated with that
access. See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319
(1989). To authorize a litigant to proceed IFP, a court must
make two determinations: first, whether the litigant is
unable to pay the costs of commencing the action, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(1); and second, whether the action is
frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. §
the first inquiry, 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 fees or give security therefor.” Id.
§ 1915(a). Here, the Plaintiff's Motion establishes
that he is unable to prepay the filing fee.
inquiry does not end there. District courts have the power
under § 1915(e)(2)(B) to screen complaints even before
service of the complaint on the defendants, and must dismiss
the complaint if it fails to state a claim. Rowe v.
Shake, 196 F.3d 778, 783 (7th Cir. 1999). Courts apply
the same standard under § 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).
state a claim under the federal notice pleading standards, a
complaint must set forth a “short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Factual allegations are
accepted as true and need only give “fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” EEOC v. Concentra Health Serv., Inc.,
496 F.3d 773, 776-77 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). However, a
plaintiff's allegations must show that his entitlement to
relief is plausible, rather than merely speculative.
Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1083 (7th Cir.
Plaintiff alleges that “[b]etween the months of”
October 2015 and November 2015, the Plaintiff
“attempted to start” school at Ravenscroft Beauty
College. (Compl. 2, ECF No. 1.) The Plaintiff alleges that he
spoke with an individual named Magdalene and informed her
that he was recently released from prison and suffered from
mental illness. (Id.) The Plaintiff alleges that
Magdalene became defensive and started yelling that she knew
a police officer “who would inform her on who she
should let in her school.” (Id.) The Plaintiff
further alleges that “she told [him] about a young man
who applied and because of this police officer she didn't
let him in” and that “she treated [him]
different[ly] because of [his] mental illness.”
(Id.) The Plaintiff alleges that “Magdalene
made numerous appointments for [him] to start[, ] only to
send [him] away after [his] arrival.” (Id.)
Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants violated the Americans
with Disabilities Act. (Id.) The Plaintiff alleges
that as a result of this violation, he attempted suicide.
(Id.) He seeks damages for pain and suffering and
emotional distress. (Id. at 2.)
the Plaintiff has not stated a claim under the ADA. The
Plaintiff has not set forth factual allegations that show
that the school admissions application or application process
discriminated against him or failed to accommodate him
because of his alleged disability. See generally,
Ganden v. National Collegiate Athletic Association,
No. 96 C 6953, 1996 WL 680000, at *6-13 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 21,
1996). Furthermore, the Plaintiff does not make a showing
that he applied to Ravenscroft, and was thereafter rejected.
Here, the Plaintiff merely alleges that he “attempted
to start school” at Ravenscroft and had numerous
appointments to start, which were canceled when he arrived.
construing the Plaintiff's Complaint, even if he had been
accepted, the Plaintiff also does not show that he paid
tuition to attend the school, or that he applied for, and
received, financial aid. If the Plaintiff had an appointment
to start that was canceled, he would have been required to
apply and tender tuition. Because the Plaintiff hasn't
made a showing that his application was rejected by the
school, or that if his application was accepted, that he
tendered tuition and was prohibited from attending class
because of his mental illness, the Plaintiff has not made a
claim upon which relief may be granted.
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint thus does not
“contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.” Kolbe & Kolbe Health & Welfare
Benefit Plan v. Med. Coll. of Wis. Inc., 657 F.3d 496,
502 (7th Cir. 2011). Even with the relaxed standards that
apply to pro se litigants, see Erickson v. Pardus,
551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), the Complaint does not set forth
factual allegations that raise the Plaintiff's right to
relief above the speculative level. Thus, the Plaintiff's
allegations do not give “fair notice of what the . . .
claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
the aforementioned, the Plaintiff's request to proceed
without prepayment of fees is denied, and the Complaint is
dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The
Court grants the Plaintiff until October 6, 2017, to file an
amended complaint. See Luevano, 722 F.3d at 1022
(stating that a litigant proceeding under IFP statute has the
same right to amend a complaint as fee-paying plaintiffs
have). When drafting his amended complaint, the Plaintiff
must state all of the key facts. Along with an amended
complaint, the Plaintiff must also file a new Petition to
Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees ...