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Enwere v. Grant

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

January 23, 2014

CATHY ENWERE, Plaintiff,
v.
KEVIN GRANT, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT UNDER 28 U.S.C. 1915 WITH LEAVE TO AMEND; GRANTING MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM DEADLINES IN SCHEDULING ORDER. Dkt. Nos. 1, 7.

JOSEPH C. SPERO, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Cathy Enwere (hereafter, "Plaintiff") filed a complaint against Defendants Kevin Grant and Danielson Indemnity Company (hereafter, "Defendants") alleging fraud, breach of contract and illegal repossession of her car. Plaintiff also filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis, which the Court granted upon finding Plaintiff to be indigent. See Dkt. No. 6. Having granted Plaintiff's application, the Court now considers whether Plaintiff's complaint must be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), which requires dismissal of an in forma pauperis complaint that is frivolous, malicious or fails to state a claim. Marks v. Solcum, 98 F.3d 494, 495 (9th Cir. 1996). For the reasons explained in further detail below, the Court finds that the complaint fails to state a claim and also fails to establish subject matter jurisdiction. Accordingly, the complaint is DISMISSED with leave to amend.[1]

II. BACKGROUND

The allegations in the complaint are difficult to understand. From what the Court can gather, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Grant breached a contract and committed fraud regarding Plaintiff's car, which appears to have been repossessed by Wells Fargo. Compl. at 1. This was allegedly an unlawful repossession. Id. Plaintiff states that Defendant "Grant went [through] all of the illegal schemes possible to throw Ms. Enwere off acting as a mediator to get claim & damages settle...." Id. at 3.

Two other individuals are mentioned in the complaint, but they are not named as defendants and their connection to the events is not clear. Plaintiff first states that "Grant claims Jonathon Cruz as the insured, when collision report by East Palo Alto Police department clearly reported Jose Perez as the insured party." Compl. at 1. On the next page, Plaintiff writes that she "wants to know why would Kevin Grant put Jose Perez on a claims form with Jonathon Cruz and his name in front of Jonathon Cruz if he wasn't the real insured party by Danielson Indemnity Company." Id. at 2.

Plaintiff also alleges that she was never sent copies of the checks given to Wells Fargo Dealer Services to know that her money was given to this company. She alleges that Kevin Grant said he would send her copies of the checks once they cleared, but had not yet sent them by the time Plaintiff filed the complaint. Id.

III. DISCUSSION

There are two main deficiencies in Plaintiff's complaint. The first is that the complaint fails to establish subject-matter jurisdiction. The second is that the complaint fails to state a claim. Therefore, the complaint must be dismissed, and will not be served upon Defendants. Plaintiff will, however, be granted leave to amend her complaint to cure the deficiencies discussed below.

A. Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, as they must have jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the action. Where subject-matter jurisdiction is lacking, the case must be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1).

There are two types of subject-matter jurisdiction: diversity jurisdiction and federal-question jurisdiction. There is diversity jurisdiction if the dispute is between "citizens of different states" and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. There is federal question jurisdiction if the case arises "under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

In this case, the complaint fails to establish either diversity jurisdiction or federal question jurisdiction. There is no diversity jurisdiction for two reasons. First, Plaintiff does not allege the amount in controversy, and therefore does not establish that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. Second, Plaintiff does not allege that she is a citizen of a different state than all of the defendants in this action. There are no allegations in the complaint regarding the citizenship of any of the parties, though Plaintiff does indicate that her home address is in Menlo Park, California. Compl. at 1. If Plaintiff is a citizen of California, there is no diversity jurisdiction unless both Kevin Grant and Danielson Indemnity Company are not also citizens of California. As currently pled, the complaint fails to establish diversity jurisdiction.

The complaint also fails to establish federal-question jurisdiction. While Plaintiff has not asserted any specific cause of action, she alleges fraud, breach of contract and unlawful repossession of her car in her complaint. Claims for fraud, breach of contract and unlawful repossession arise under state law, not ...


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