United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
BETTY J. DUMAS, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND
THE COMPLAINT (DKT. NO. 7); GRANTING THE PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION TO WITHDRAW THE MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
WITHOUT PREJUDICE (DKT. NO. 13); AND GRANTING THE
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED WITHOUT
PREPAYMENT OF THE FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 2)
PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge
Betty Dumas, representing herself, filed a complaint alleging
that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”)
and the Commissioner of the SSA deprived her of her right to
a “full, fair, and non-adversarial hearing” in
violation of numerous laws, including the Social Security
Act. Dkt. No. 1 at 1. Along with the complaint, she filed a
motion asking the court to allow her to proceed without
prepaying the filing fee. Dkt. No. 2.
Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint
three weeks after she filed her complaint, the plaintiff
filed a motion to amend the complaint, indicating that
she'd accidentally sent in the wrong complaint, and
asking to substitute it with the right one. Dkt. No. 7.
mid-October, defendant Commissioner Carolyn Colvin responded
to the motion. The defendant, noting that she was not waiving
her right to present defenses in any future responsive
pleading, indicated that she did not object to the plaintiff
amending her complaint. Dkt. No. 11. The court will grant
that motion, and direct the clerk to docket the amended
complaint as the operative complaint.
Motion to Withdraw Motion for Preliminary Injunction
same day that the plaintiff filed the motion asking for leave
to amend the complaint, she filed a motion for a preliminary
injunction, asking the court to require the SSA to
“cease its improper and unlawful withholding” of
her SSI award and appeal and application for benefits. Dkt.
defendant asked the court to deny the plaintiff's motion
for a preliminary injunction. Dkt. No. 12. In particular, the
defendant explained that while the defendant did not have all
of the facts, it appeared possible that the SSA had not yet
actually denied the plaintiff's application for benefits.
The defendant explained that the plaintiff appeared to have
several applications pending, using different claim numbers,
and thus that it wasn't clear whether the SSA had
terminated any of her applications, and if so, which ones.
Id. at 4. The defendant also pointed out that the
plaintiff hadn't finished the administrative process yet.
Id. at 4-5. For these reasons and others, the
defendant argued that the plaintiff had not demonstrated (a)
a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of her
claim, (b) the fact that she had no adequate remedy at law,
and (c) the fact that she would suffer irreparable harm if
the court did not grant the preliminary injunction.
Id. at 3-5.
after the defendant filed that response, the plaintiff asked
the court to allow her to withdraw the preliminary injunction
motion without prejudice. Dkt. No. 13. She indicated that she
had been working (as of late October) with a new person at
the SSA, and that it was possible that she would be able to
work out some, if not all, of her concerns with that person.
Id. at 2.
court agrees with the Commissioner that the plaintiff has not
met the standard for issuance of a preliminary injunction.
The court also acknowledges that the plaintiff has asked the
court to allow her to withdraw that motion. The court will
grant the motion, and allow the plaintiff to withdraw the
motion for preliminary injunction without prejudice.
Motion to Proceed Without Pre-Paying the Filing Fee
with the complaint, the plaintiff filed an affidavit in
support of her motion that the court allow her to proceed
with the case without paying the filing fee. Dkt. No. 2. In
order to allow a plaintiff to proceed without paying the
filing fee, the court must first decide whether the plaintiff
has the ability to pay the filing fee, and if not, must
determine whether the lawsuit is frivolous. 28 U.S.C.
§§1915(a) and (e)(2)(B)(i).
affidavit, the plaintiff indicates that she is married, but
neither she nor her spouse are employed, they have no
dependents, and she receives $30 per month income. She does
not own a vehicle, but has $20 in a checking account. She
indicates that she does own some property of value, but that
the value is undetermined. The plaintiff states that her
monthly expenses total about $809, including $300 for ...