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Joyce Williams v. Technique Towing/Advanced Automotive/Gb7

July 11, 2011

JOYCE WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TECHNIQUE TOWING/ADVANCED AUTOMOTIVE/GB7, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff, proceeding in this action pro se, has requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 72-302(21), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

Plaintiff has not paid the fee ordinarily required to file an action in this court, and has filed an incomplete application to proceed without prepayment of fees. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a), 1915(a). Plaintiff will be provided the opportunity to submit either the appropriate affidavit in support of a request to proceed in forma pauperis or the appropriate filing fee.

Even had plaintiff completed this court's form application to proceed in forma pauperis, and demonstrated a proper basis to proceed without prepayment of funds, this court would not permit the action to proceed upon the filed complaint.

A determination that a plaintiff may proceed in forma pauperis does not complete the required inquiry. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the court is directed to dismiss the case at any time if it determines the allegation of poverty is untrue, or if the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against an immune defendant.

A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual basis. See Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1989); Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227.

A complaint must contain more than a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action;" it must contain factual allegations sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007). "The pleading must contain something more...than...a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action." Id., quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure 1216, pp. 235-235 (3d ed. 2004). "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ___ U.S.___, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id.

Pro se pleadings are liberally construed. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21, 92 S. Ct. 594, 595-96 (1972); Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988). Unless it is clear that no amendment can cure the defects of a complaint, a pro se plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis is entitled to notice and an opportunity to amend before dismissal. See Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987); Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1230.

The complaint alleges that defendants confiscated plaintiff's vehicle and property without a warrant or due process, and forced her into involuntary servitude by requiring her to labor. Plaintiff provides no further detail to this claim. Plaintiff alleges violations of the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as 42 U.S.C. § 1984 ("knowledge of the law"), Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(e) (discovery of the law), Fed. R. Civ. P. 9 (constructive fraud), 42 U.S.C. § 1986 (neglect), 76-6-401 U.C.A. (to prevent theft of property), 18 U.S.C. § 241 (conspiracy against rights), 18 U.S.C. § 242 (deprivation of rights), 18 U.S.C. § 872 (extortion of rights), and 18 U.S.C. § 1986 ("silence witness defending each other"). Plaintiff seeks damages and injunctive relief.

Claims for constitutional violations such as violation of due process and seizure without a warrant (and implicitly 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the vehicle for pursuing damages claims for federal constitutional and statutory violations) require state action. To succeed on a § 1983 damages claim, a plaintiff must demonstrate not only the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, but that defendant acted under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48, 108 S. Ct. 2250 (1988). A § 1983 claim can lie against a private party only when "he is a willful participant in joint action with the State or its agents." Dennis v. Sparks, 449 U.S. 24, 27, 101 S. Ct. 183 (1980). Here, defendants are private parties and therefore plaintiff may not maintain a cause of action for constitutional violations under § 1983 against them.

Plaintiff also claims a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1984 but portions of that act were declared unconstitutional and the remaining sections were repealed.

Another claim is brought under section 1986 of Title 42, United States Code, which provides:

Every person who, having knowledge that any of the wrongs conspired to be done, and mentioned in section 1985 of this title, are about to be committed, and having power to prevent or aid in preventing the commission of the same, neglects or refuses so to do, if such wrongful act be committed, shall be liable to the party injured, or his legal representatives, for all damages caused by such wrongful act, which such person by reasonable diligence could have prevented.

Section 1985 concerns conspiracy to interfere with civil rights and applies (1) where an officer is prevented from performing his or her duties, (2) obstructing justice, or intimidating a party, witness or juror, and (3) conspiring to deprive anyone of equal protection of the laws. Plaintiff has not alleged any of these ...


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