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Flores v. United States Attorney General

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division

June 10, 2015

ERIC FLORES, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL and FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, Defendants.

ORDER

JEFFREY L. VIKEN, Chief Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, Eric Flores, appearing pro se, filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and a complaint in which he purports to act as a representative party in a class action suit on behalf of "mexican american citizens." (CIV. 15-5026, Dockets 1 & 3; CIV. 15-5028, Dockets 1 & 3). Included in Mr. Flores' second case in this district, CIV. 15-5028, is a motion to the multidistrict litigation panel requesting to transfer the case to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (Civ. 15-5028, Docket 4-1).[1]

DISCUSSION

Mr. Flores' request for class certification is denied. A pro se litigant may bring his own claims in federal court but he may not assert the claims of others as a non-attorney. See 28 U.S.C. § 1654. "[A] pro se litigant, especially one untrained in law, cannot fairly and adequately protect the interests of the other class members." Smith v. LeBlanc, No. Civ. 02-4100 ADMRLE, 2003 WL 23101806, at *2 (D. Minn. Dec. 30, 2003); see also Ziegler v. State of Michigan, 90 F.Appx. 808, 810 (6th Cir. 2004) (citing Fymbo v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 213 F.3d 1320, 1321 (10th Cir. 2000) ("[N]on-attorneys proceeding pro se cannot adequately represent a class."); Johns v. County of San Diego, 114 F.3d 874, 876 (9th Cir. 1997) (finding a non-attorney may appear pro se on his own behalf but may not represent others); 7A Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civ. 3d § 1769.1 ("[C]lass representatives cannot appear pro se."). The court finds Mr. Flores is the sole plaintiff in this case and is proceeding pro se.

"[P]ro se complaints are to be construed liberally...." Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004) (referencing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). "A pro se [complaint] should be interpreted liberally and... should be construed to encompass any allegation stating federal relief.'" Bracken v. Dormire, 247 F.3d 699, 704 (8th Cir. 2001) (citing White v. Wyrick, 530 F.2d 818, 819 (8th Cir. 1976)). "Although pro se complaints are to be liberally construed, the complaint must allege specific facts sufficient to state a claim." Thrash v. McDaniel, No. 4:13-cv-00732-KGB, 2014 WL 2462888, at *1 (E.D. Ark. June 2, 2014), aff'd, 578 F.Appx. 619 (8th Cir. 2014) (citing Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985)).

In light of Mr. Flores' motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Docket 3), his complaint is analyzed under the screening procedures set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Section 1915(e)(2) provides:

Notwithstanding any filing fee... the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that-
...
(B) the action or appeal-
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune ...

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