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Michael Dean v. Spring Leaf Financial Services Inc

July 19, 2011

MICHAEL DEAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SPRING LEAF FINANCIAL SERVICES INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff is proceeding without counsel and in forma pauperis.*fn1 In an order entered July 7, 2011, the undersigned: (1) granted plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis; (2) screened plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915; and (3) dismissed plaintiff's complaint with leave to amend. (Order, July 7, 2011, Dkt. No. 4.) Plaintiff timely filed an Amended Complaint on July 18, 2011 (Dkt. No. 5). In this order, the undersigned screens plaintiff's Amended Complaint and dismisses it with leave to amend.

I. SCREENING STANDARDS

As conveyed to plaintiff in a prior order, the determination that a plaintiff may proceed in forma pauperis does not complete the required inquiry. The court is also required to screen complaints brought by parties proceeding in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the court is directed to dismiss a case filed pursuant to the in forma pauperis statute if, at any time, it determines that the allegation of poverty is untrue, the action is frivolous or malicious, the complaint fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or the action 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); see also Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous if that claim is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or if the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327.

In assessing whether a plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted, the court adheres to the "notice pleading" standards. Under the notice pleading standards of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff's complaint must provide, in part, a "short and plain statement" of plaintiff's claims showing entitlement to relief. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2); see also Paulsen v. CNF, Inc., 559 F.3d 1061, 1071 (9th Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 130 S. Ct. 1053 (2010). A complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim if, taking all well-pleaded factual allegations as true, it does not contain "'enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" See Coto Settlement v. Eisenberg, 593 F.3d 1031, 1034 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)). "'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.'" Caviness v. Horizon Cmty. Learning Ctr., Inc., 590 F.3d 806, 812 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949). The court accepts all of the facts alleged in the complaint as true and construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Corrie v. Caterpillar, 503 F.3d 974, 977 (9th Cir. 2007). The court is "not, however, required to accept as true conclusory allegations that are contradicted by documents referred to in the complaint, and [the court does] not necessarily assume the truth of legal conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations." Paulsen, 559 F.3d at 1071 (citations and quotation marks omitted). The court must construe a pro se pleading liberally to determine if it states a claim and, prior to dismissal, tell a plaintiff of deficiencies in the complaint and give the plaintiff an opportunity to cure them if it appears at all possible that the plaintiff can correct the defect. See Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1130-31.

II. PLAINTIFF'S AMENDED COMPLAINT IS SUBJECT TO DISMISSAL

Plaintiff's Amended Complaint contains very few factual allegations regarding defendant's conduct. In regards to defendant's conduct that gives rise to liability, plaintiff alleges:

SPRING LEAF FIN.CO INC,ILEGALY SOLD PROPERTY AT 420 LAS PALMAS AVE IN SACRAMENTO.S.L.F. DISREGARDS SB. 1137 INTRODUCING WRONG STATEMENTS TO BC.11U.S.C. 342

[B][2][A] FORECLOSURE SCAM REPORTED TO DPT OF JUSTICE . . . . UNLAWFUL DETAINER ILLEGALLY POSTED NOTICE ON PROPERTY THUS PRESENTING "BAD" PERSON TO NEIGHBOURHOOD INTENT TO INDUCE HARM TO DISABLED PERSON.PROPOSAL TO SETLE CASE IS PENDING.

(Am. Compl. at 2.)

Plaintiff alleges five claims for relief against defendant. First, plaintiff alleges a claim for "Discrimination." (Am. Compl. at 3.) Plaintiff only alleges that as a result of defendant's "discriminatory acts," plaintiff suffered damages in the form of "substantial losses in earnings and job benefits." (Id.) He further alleges that defendant is "guilty of want disregard of the rights and feelings" of plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff does not allege that he was employed by defendant, and nothing in plaintiff's Amended Complaint otherwise suggests that plaintiff's claims stem from an employment relationship.

Second, plaintiff alleges a claim for "wrongful termination." (Amended Compl. at 3-4.) This claim does not appear to be an employment-related claim. Instead, this claim appears to seek relief based on defendant's alleged violation of an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing under California law. Plaintiff's claim is premised on unidentified "acts and omissions and conduct stated herein." (Id. at 4.)

Third, plaintiff alleges a claim for "Violation CFRA" (Am. Coml. at 4), which appears to allege a violation of the "California Family Rights Act," also referred to as the "Moore-Brown-Roberti Family Rights Act." See Cal. Govt. Code ยงยง 12945.1, 12945.2, 19702.3. These statutory provisions generally concern employers' obligations to grant requests for family care and medical leave under certain circumstances. It is not at all clear why defendant's act of selling plaintiff's home-apparently after executing a foreclosure-would violate the ...


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