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Fenton v. Regency Villas Association

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

September 20, 2013

NANCY L. FENTON, Plaintiff,
v.
REGENCY VILLAS ASSOCIATION, et al. Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS; DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND; DIRECTIONS TO CLERK

MAXINE M. CHESNEY, District Judge.

Before the Court is plaintiff Nancy L. Fenton's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, filed August 27, 2013.[1] Also before the Court is plaintiff's Complaint, filed the same day. Having read and considered the above-referenced filings, the Court rules as follows.

First, it appearing that plaintiff lacks funds to pay the initial filing fee, the Court will grant plaintiff's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis.

Second, where, as here, a plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis, the district court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), must dismiss the complaint if the court determines the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

Accordingly, the Court next considers whether the complaint states a claim.

Plaintiff's complaint consists of five causes of action. The first four causes of action are brought under California state law. The fifth cause of action, titled "Discrimination, " is brought under both state and federal law, specifically, as to the latter, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act provides as follows:

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 subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

42 U.S.C. § 2000d (2006).

As set forth therein, Title VI prohibits discrimination by programs receiving federal financial assistance. Here, in support of her claim under Title VI, plaintiff alleges that she suffered property damage due to flooding caused by a burst pipe and that defendant Regency Villas Association, a homeowner's association, "fail[ed] to repair [her] property as the other homeowners were repaired and completed" and thus "fail[ed] to treat [her] the same[.]" (Compl. at 1, 4.) Plaintiff does not allege she was excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination by any federally funded or financially assisted program or activity. Moreover, she does not allege that race, color, or national origin was the basis for the asserted discrimination.

Accordingly, plaintiff's federal cause of action will be dismissed with leave to amend.

Plaintiff's remaining causes of action, as noted, arise under state law, and, because the parties are not diverse in citizenship, the Court's jurisdiction over those claims is supplemental in nature. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) (defining supplemental claims). Where, as here, a court has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction, it may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). In this instance, given the early stage of the proceedings, the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims in the absence of a federal claim.

Accordingly, the state law claims will be dismissed without prejudice to refiling in state court, or, alternatively, if plaintiff elects to amend the fifth cause of action, without prejudice to refiling in this action.

CONCLUSION

For the reasons stated above:

1. Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis is hereby GRANTED.

2. The Complaint is hereby DISMISSED, with leave to amend. Plaintiff's amended complaint, if any, shall be filed no later than October 11, 2013.

In light of the dismissal, the Clerk is hereby DIRECTED not to issue any summons until further order of the Court.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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