United States District Court, E.D. California
May 5, 2014
RODNEY L. THOMPSON, Plaintiff,
FOLSOM STATE PRISON, et al., Defendants.
CAROLYN K. DELANEY, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1983. Plaintiff has requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1). Plaintiff has consented to this court's jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Local Rule 302.
Plaintiff has submitted a declaration that makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. §1915(a). Accordingly, the request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.
Plaintiff is required to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for this action. 28 U.S.C. §§1914(a), 1915(b)(1). By separate order, the court will direct the appropriate agency to collect the initial partial filing fee from plaintiff's trust account and forward it to the Clerk of the Court. Thereafter, plaintiff will be obligated for monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding month's income credited to plaintiff's jail trust account. These payments will be forwarded by the appropriate agency to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in plaintiff's account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee is paid in full. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
The court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
On April 8, 2014, the court ordered plaintiff to complete and return this court's form for filing a civil rights action, listing any other actions in which he is litigating or has litigated the claims at issue. (ECF No. 6.) In compliance with this order, plaintiff has filed an amended complaint on the proper form. (ECF No. 7.) He states that he is currently litigating this matter in in the Sacramento County Superior Court, Case No. 34-2013-00151289. ( Id. at 2.)
Various abstention doctrines counsel against this court's involvement at this time. Under the Rooker-Feldman abstention doctrine, federal courts lack jurisdiction to hear matters already decided in state court. See Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co. , 263 U.S. 413 (1923); District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman , 460 U.S. 462 (1983). The doctrine applies in cases "brought by state court losers complaining of injuries caused by state court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and rejection of those judgments." Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Industries Corp. , 544 U.S. 280 (2005). This doctrine would apply in this case to the extent the state court has already ruled on the issues raised in the complaint. Under the Younger abstention doctrine, federal courts are barred from hearing a civil rights claim arising from an ongoing criminal prosecution. See Younger v. Harris , 401 U.S. 37 (1971). While the state court proceedings in this case are civil, the notions of comity implicit in the Younger abstention doctrine nonetheless apply. Specifically, to the extent the state court has not had a chance to consider plaintiff's constitutional arguments, it should have the first chance to do so and, if appropriate, correct any violation.
Given these circumstances, the court will dismiss the complaint without further leave to amend. See Lopez v. Smith , 203 F.3d 1122, 1126, 1131 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).
In accordance with the above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Plaintiff's request for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 2) is granted;
2. Plaintiff is obligated to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for this action. All fees shall be collected and paid in accordance with this court's order to the Director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation filed concurrently herewith;
3. Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed without prejudice;
4. Plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel (ECF No. 5) is denied as moot; and
5. The Clerk of Court shall close this case.