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John Frederick Wheeler v. United States Postal Service

November 11, 2011

JOHN FREDERICK WHEELER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION (Doc. 12)

John Frederick Wheeler ("Plaintiff") is proceeding in forma pauperis and pro se with an action for violations of the United States Constitution. Plaintiff commenced this action by filing his complaint on August 24, 2011 (Doc. 1), which the Court screened and dismissed with leave to amend on October 25, 2011 (Doc. 10). Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint on November 7, 2011 (Doc. 12), which is now before the Court for screening.

For the following reasons, the Court recommends Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

I. Screening Requirement

When a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court is required to review the complaint and identify "cognizable claims." See 28 U.S.C § 1915(a)-(b). The Court must screen Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint because an amended complaint supersedes Plaintiff's previously filed complaint. See Forsyth v. Humana, Inc., 114 F.3d 1467, 1474 (9th Cir. 1997);

King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567 (9th Cir. 1987).

The Court must dismiss a complaint, or portion of the complaint, if it is "frivolous, malicious or 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. § 1915A(b); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). A claim is frivolous "when the facts alleged rise to the level of the irrational or the wholly incredible, whether or not there are judicially noticeable facts available to contradict them." Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992).

II. Pleading Standards

General rules for pleading complaints are governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A pleading stating a claim for relief must include a statement affirming the court's jurisdiction, "a short and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief; and . . . a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). The Federal Rules adopt a flexible pleading policy, and pro se pleadings are held to "less stringent standards" than pleadings by attorneys. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521-21 (1972).

A complaint must give fair notice and state the elements of the plaintiff's claim in a plain and succinct manner. Jones v. Cmty Redevelopment Agency, 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984). The purpose of the complaint is to give the defendant fair notice of the claims against him, and the grounds upon which the complaint stands. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002). The Supreme Court noted,

Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. A pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Conclusory and vague allegations do not support a cause of action. Ivey v. Board of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982). The Court clarified further,

[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." [Citation]. 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. [Citation]. The plausibility standard is not akin to a "probability requirement," but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. [Citation]. Where a complaint pleads facts that are "merely consistent with" a defendant's liability, it "stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of 'entitlement to relief.

Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. Where the factual allegations are well-pled, a court should assume their truth and determine whether the facts would make the plaintiff entitled to relief; conclusions in the pleading are not entitled to the same assumption of truth. Id. If the Court determines that the complaint fails to state a cognizable claim, the Court may grant leave to amend to the extent that deficiencies of the ...


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