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Porter White v. Tina Campanella

August 30, 2011

PORTER WHITE,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
TINA CAMPANELLA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION

Plaintiff Porter White ("Plaintiff"), appearing pro se and proceeding in forma pauperis, filed this action on March 9, 2011. He filed an amended complaint on March 23, 2011, challenging the denial of his food stamps because of his wife's alleged drug violation conviction.

On March 25, 2011, the Court dismissed the amended complaint, but granted Plaintiff leave to amend. In granting leave to amend, the Court explained that eligibility and benefit levels in the food stamp program are determined on a household, not an individual, basis. The Court further explained that Plaintiff failed to allege that his "household" was eligible for food stamps to support a constitutional violation. The Court also provided Plaintiff with the relevant legal standards.

On August 17, 2011, Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint ("SAC"). The SAC is now before the Court for screening.

DISCUSSION

A. Screening Standard

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the court must conduct an initial review of the complaint for sufficiency to state a claim. The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the court determines that the action is legally "frivolous or malicious," fails to state a claim upon 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). If the court determines that the complaint fails to state a claim, leave to amend may be granted to the extent that the deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by amendment. In reviewing a complaint under this standard, the Court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Trustees of Rex Hospital, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), construe the pro se pleadings liberally in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000), and resolve all doubts in the Plaintiff's favor, Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969).

B. Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff claims that his case is not about the denial of food stamps. Rather, Plaintiff contends that his case concerns "A Refusal To Allow Plaintiff The Right To file An Application for Food Stamps," which denied him due process and denied him the right to make a contract. SAC p. 2.

According to the SAC, Plaintiff admits that he filed an application for food stamps for both his wife, Stella White, and himself on April 23, 2010. SAC p. 9. He contends, however, that Defendants Tina Campanella and/or Sarah (Jane Doe) removed his name from the application and replaced it with his wife's name. He asserts that the name change was a denial of his right to file an application for food stamps, a denial of his right to make a contract, and a denial of due process. Plaintiff further asserts that Defendants acted in absence of jurisdiction by using his wife's nolo contendere plea regarding a narcotics violation as a reason to deny him benefits.

Plaintiff seeks punitive damages in the amount of two million dollars from each defendant and ten million dollars for the constitutional violations.

C. Analysis

Plaintiff complains that he was denied the right to apply for food stamps. Plaintiff has failed to state a cognizable legal claim for several reasons.

First, Plaintiff admits that he was able to submit an application for food stamps. Plaintiff's concern relates to a later "name change" on the application. Given Plaintiff's admission that he presented an application, ...


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