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Channon W. Rector v. Toyota Motor Credit Corporation

May 15, 2013

CHANNON W. RECTOR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TOYOTA MOTOR CREDIT CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



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

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Plaintiff Channon W. Rector ("plaintiff") is proceeding without counsel and in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.*fn1 On April 2, 2013, the undersigned screened plaintiff's original pleading pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and dismissed it with leave to amend. (Order, Dkt. No. 3.) Plaintiff timely filed his amended pleading on April 15, 2013. (First Am. Compl., Dkt. No. 5.) Upon screening plaintiff's amended pleading, the undersigned recommends that this case be dismissed for the reasons stated below. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

I. LEGAL STANDARDS

The determination that a plaintiff may proceed in forma pauperis does not complete the required inquiry. The court must also 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); 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. The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however inartfully pled, has an arguable legal and factual basis. See Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227.

In assessing whether a plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted, the court adheres to "notice pleading" standards. See, e.g., Paulsen v. CNF, Inc., 559 F.3d 1061, 1071 (9th Cir. 2009). The notice pleading standards are codified, in part, in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), which provides:

(a) Claim for Relief. A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:

(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;

(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and

(3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.

Additionally, 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, 556 U.S. 662, 697 (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, 556 U.S. at 663). 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, must tell a plaintiff of deficiencies in the complaint and must give the plaintiff an opportunity to cure them if it appears possible that the plaintiff can do so. See, e.g., Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1130-31; Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988). Unless it is clear that no amendment can cure a complaint's defects, a pro se plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis is entitled to notice and an opportunity to amend before dismissal. Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987); Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1230.

II. DISCUSSION

As described below, plaintiff's First Amended Complaint is quite similar to his original pleading, and should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915(e)(2) for failure to include factual allegations sufficient to state a claim for which relief may be ...


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