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Garcia-Cardenas v. Immigration Legal Services, Apc

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

August 27, 2013

HERMILA GARCIA-CARDENAS, Plaintiff,
v.
IMMIGRATION LEGAL SERVICES, APC, Defendant.

ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND WITH 30 DAYS LEAVE TO AMEND (Doc. 1)

SHEILA K. OBERTO, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Hermila Garcia-Cardenas ("Plaintiff") is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this action. Plaintiff filed her complaint on July 12, 2013, alleging a claim against Immigration Legal Services, APC ("Defendant").[1] For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice and with 30 days leave to amend.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed a complaint asserting that Defendant failed to provide the agreed-upon legal services to her parents, Jose de Jesus Garcia Horta and Maria Luz Garcia. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff seeks to compel Defendant to provide these agreed-upon services or refund the $2, 400 that was paid to Defendant. Id.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Screening Standard

In cases where the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court is required to screen each case, and shall dismiss the case at any time if the Court determines that the allegation of poverty is untrue, or the action or appeal is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against 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. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).

In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim, the Court uses the same pleading standard used under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Under Rule 8(a), 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). "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require detailed factual allegations, ' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). "[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that is merely consistent with' a defendant's liability... stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, although a court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Id. " Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

B. The Court Lacks Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994), and have no power to consider claims for which they lack subject-matter jurisdiction, Bender v. Williamsport Area Sch. Dist., 475 U.S. 534, 541 (1986). Further, district courts have an independent duty to consider their own subject-matter jurisdiction, whether or not the issue is raised by the parties, and may, sua sponte, dismiss an action over which they lack jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) ("If the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action."); see also Cal. Diversified Promotions, Inc. v. Musick, 505 F.2d 278, 280 (9th Cir. 1974) ("It has long been held that a judge can dismiss sua sponte for lack of jurisdiction.").

1. No Alleged Facts Establishing Jurisdiction Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, federal district courts have original jurisdiction over all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds $75, 000 and is between "citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state." In other words, the plaintiff and the defendant must be citizens of different states to satisfy the complete diversity requirement of Section 1332. Strawbridge v. Curtiss, 7 U.S. 267 (1806) (no plaintiff can be a citizen of the same state as any of the defendants).

Here, Plaintiff states she is a citizen of California. (Doc. 1-1.) The civil cover sheet and the allegations in the complaint indicate that Defendant is also a citizen of California, as it is a Professional Corporation registered and doing business in the state of California. (Doc. 1-1.) Because it appears that Plaintiff and Defendant are ...


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