United States District Court, D. New Jersey
DITECH FINANCIAL LLC formerly known as GREEN TREE SERVICING LLC, Plaintiff,
MICHAEL J. ROSS, DEBORAH ROSS, ABC BAIL BONDS INC., SANTANDER BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, CLAYTONS SELF STORAGE, MIDLAND FUNDING LLC, and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendants.
Appearances: Michael J. Ross Appearing pro se.
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
Defendant Michael J. Ross filed a Notice of Removal, Petition
for Removal, Memorandum Supporting Petition for Removal, a
copy of the underlying state court docket and various court
documents, various exhibits, and an application to proceed
in forma pauperis (“IFP Application”) on
April 1, 2019; and
Mr. Ross did not include a copy of the original state court
complaint within the papers initially filed with the Court;
Mr. Ross transmitted a copy of the state court complaint to
the Court on April 5, 2019; and
it appears the underlying complaint was filed in the Superior
Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Salem County on
November 18, 2015; and
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), a court may allow a
litigant to proceed without prepayment of fees if he submits
a proper IFP application; and
although Mr. Ross submitted his IFP Application on the wrong
form, it appears he would qualify to proceed in forma
pauperis, without the prepayment of fees; and
although § 1915 refers to “prisoners, ”
federal courts apply § 1915 to non-prisoner IFP
applications, Hickson v. Mauro, No. 11-6304, 2011 WL
6001088, at *1 (D.N.J. Nov. 30, 2011) (citing Lister v.
Dep't of Treasury, 408 F.3d 1309, 1312 (10th Cir.
2005)); Lister, 408 F.3d at 1312 (“Section
1915(a) applies to all persons applying for IFP status, and
not just to prisoners.”); and
typically individuals seek permission to file a complaint,
not a notice of removal; but
the Court notes 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) applies to the
“commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit . . .
without prepayment of fees . . . by a person who submits an
affidavit, ” see, e.g., Long & Foster
Real Estate v. Smith, No. 17-6768 (NLH/KMW), 2017 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 148184, at *1 n.1 (D.N.J. Sept. 13, 2017)
(finding 28 U.S.C. § 1915 applies to screening of a
notice of removal) (citing Bey v. Pennsylvania, 345
Fed.Appx. 731, 732 (3d Cir. 2009); and
the screening provisions of the IFP statute require a federal
court to dismiss an action sua sponte if, among other things,
the action is frivolous or malicious, or if it fails to
comply with the proper pleading standards, see 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii); Ball v.
Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir. 2013); Martin
v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Security, No. 17-3129,
2017 WL 3783702, at *1 (D.N.J. Aug. 30, 2017) (“Federal
law requires this Court to screen Plaintiff's Complaint
for sua sponte dismissal prior to service, and to dismiss any
claim if that claim fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and/or to dismiss
any defendant who is immune from suit.”); and
pro se complaints must be construed liberally, and all
reasonable latitude must be afforded the pro se litigant,
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 107 (1976), but pro
se litigants “must still plead the essential elements
of [their] claim and [are] not excused from conforming to the
standard rules of civil procedure, ” McNeil v.
United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993) (“[W]e
have never suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil
litigation should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by
those who proceed without counsel.”); Sykes v.
Blockbuster Video, 205 Fed.Appx. 961, 963 (3d Cir. 2006)
(finding that pro se plaintiffs are expected to comply with
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure); and
“[f]ederal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction,
and when there is a question as to [the] authority to hear a
dispute, ‘it is incumbent upon the courts to resolve
such doubts, one way or the other, before proceeding to a
disposition on the merits, '” Zambelli
Fireworks Mfg. Co. v. Wood, 592 F.3d 412, 418 (3d Cir.