Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Vonn Frederick Smith & Loretta K. Smith v. Hsbc Bank of Usa

April 19, 2011

VONN FREDERICK SMITH & LORETTA K. SMITH, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
HSBC BANK OF USA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TRUSTEE ON BEHALF OF CITIGROUP SHL1 AND AS TRUSTEE FOR CITIBANK GLOBAL MARKETS, AND REGIONS BANKS AKA REGIONS FINANCIAL CORP., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM WITH LEAVE TO AMEND WITHIN THIRTY DAYS (Doc. 1)

Screening Order

Plaintiffs Vonn Frederick Smith and Loretta K. Smith, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed their complaint on March 8, 2011. They challenge the foreclosure of certain unspecified real property and allege (1) fraud; (2) wrongful and fraudulent foreclosure; (3) RICO violations; (4) due process violations; (5) unfair business practices; (6) misrepresentation; (7) deceit; and (8) quiet title. Plaintiffs seek damages and equitable relief, including declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. This matter has been referred to the magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rules 72-302 and 72-304.

I. Screening Requirement

A court has inherent power to control its docket and the disposition of its cases with economy of time and effort for both the court and the parties. Landis v. North American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254-55 (1936); Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1260 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 915 (1992). In cases in which the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must screen the complaint and must dismiss it at any time if it concludes that the action or appeal is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

II. Pleading Standards

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) provides:

A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:

(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;

(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief; and

(3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.

"Each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct." F.R.Civ.P. 8(d). "Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions," none of which applies here. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002). Pursuant to Rule 8(a), a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). "Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of the cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009), citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "Plaintiff must set forth sufficient factual matter accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949, quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

Although accepted as true, "[f]actual allegations must be [sufficient] to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). A plaintiff must set forth "the grounds of his entitlement to relief," which "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Id. at 555-56 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). To adequately state a claim against a defendant, a plaintiff must set forth the legal and factual basis for his or her claim.

Plaintiffs' complaint falls woefully short of meeting these pleading standards. Most allegations are legal conclusions. The few factual allegations are vague and incomplete. The complaint makes no attempt to organize the allegations to correspond to the causes of action set forth in the caption. The overall result is confusing and, since the Court cannot easily identify Plaintiffs' claims and the facts supporting them, ineffective.

"Prolix, confusing complaints . . . impose unfair burdens on litigants and judges." McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1179 (9th Cir. 1996). In preparing their amended complaint, Plaintiffs are directed to excise any rhetoric or embellishment not pleaded as fact supporting their claims. The complaint should comply with F.R.Civ.P. 8(b)'s requirement to state "a short and plain statement of the claim," and F.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1)'s requirement that "[e]ach allegation be simple, concise, and direct." See also McHenry, 84 F.3d at 1180 ("Something labeled a complaint but written more as a press release, prolix in evidentiary detail, yet without simplicity, conciseness, and clarity as to whom Plaintiffs are suing for what wrongs, fails to perform the essential functions of a complaint.").

This Court will not speculate regarding which facts Plaintiffs intend to support which claims. If Plaintiffs choose to amend the complaint, as they are permitted to do pursuant to this order, they must correlate their claims for relief with the factual basis underlying each one, demonstrating how the occurrences of which they complain have relate to each cause of action. To accomplish this objective, Plaintiffs may find it helpful to set forth each claim individually, followed by relevant supporting factual allegations. Plaintiffs must identify and omit any irrelevant or unnecessary facts and duplicative or unsupported claims to enable the Court to evaluate their claims and the facts supporting each one. Plaintiffs are encouraged to focus on the standard set forth in Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a).

Finally, the complaint includes a section entitled "Points and Authorities." As already discussed, the purpose of the complaint is to set forth the factual basis for the plaintiff's legal ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.