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James M. Lanier v. Fresno Unified School District; Does 1 Through 18

January 3, 2012

JAMES M. LANIER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
FRESNO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT; DOES 1 THROUGH 18,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barbara A. McAuliffe United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

I. INTRODUCTION

On September 9, 2011, plaintiff James M. Lanier ("Plaintiff") filed a complaint in this Court against the Fresno Unified School District ("FUSD" or "Defendant"). Plaintiff alleges he was discriminated against on the basis of race when Defendant refused to award him a sports officiating contract in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, specifically, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff additionally alleges Defendant's discriminatory practices violate California Education Code § 220 et seq. (Doc. 1.) *fn1

II. DISCUSSION

A. Screening Standard

Pursuant to Title 28 of the United States Code Section 1915(e)(2), the Court has reviewed the complaint for sufficiency to state a claim. The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if it 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). 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)).

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)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a 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, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (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 conclusion are not. Id . at 1949.

A pleading may not simply allege a wrong has been committed and demand relief. The underlying requirement is that a pleading give "fair notice" of the claim being asserted and the "grounds upon which it rests." Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 47-48 (1957); Yamaguchi v. United States Department of Air Force , 109 F.3d 1475, 1481 (9th Cir. 1997).

If the Court determines that the complaint fails to state a claim, leave to amend should be granted to the extent that the deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by amendment. Lopez v. Smith , 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000). Dismissal of a pro se complaint for failure to state a claim is proper only where it is obvious that the Plaintiff cannot prevail on the facts that he has alleged and that an opportunity to amend would be futile. Lopez , at 1128.

B. Jurisdiction

In the complaint, Plaintiff contends jurisdiction arises under Title 28 of the United States Code sections 1331 and 1343, and also under section 1346 "because the United States of America is a party." (Pl.'s Compl., ¶¶ 2-3, Doc. 1.)

Jurisdiction is proper pursuant to sections 1331 and 1343 of Title 28 of the United States Code because Plaintiff has asserted claims arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States. However, the United States is not a party to this action. Therefore, jurisdiction does not arise under section 1346.

C. Plaintiff's Federal Claim Under Title VI

Under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000d provides that: No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination ...


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