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Rubio v. The Rushcard

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 16, 2014

JORGE RUBIO, Plaintiff,


GARY S. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.


Plaintiff, Jorge Rubio ("Plaintiff"), a civil detainee at the Coalinga State Hospital appearing pro se, filed the instant civil rights complaint alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff has named the RushCard and The Bankcorp Bank in this action as defendants ("Defendants"). The court has screened the complaint and recommends that the complaint be dismissed without leave to amend.


A. Screening Standard

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the court must conduct an initial review of the complaint for sufficiency to state a claim. The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the court determines that the action is legally "frivolous or malicious, " fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from 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.

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). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusion are not. Id. at 1949.

A complaint, or portion thereof, should only be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it appears beyond doubt that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claim or claims that would entitle him to relief. See Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984), citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); see also Palmer v. Roosevelt Lake Log Owners Ass'n, 651 F.2d 1289, 1294 (9th Cir. 1981). In reviewing a complaint under this standard, the Court must accept the allegations in the complaint as true, Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Trustees of Rex Hospital, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), construe the pro se pleadings liberally in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000), and resolve all doubts in the Plaintiff's favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969). Pleadings of pro se plaintiffs "must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (holding that pro se complaints should continue to be liberally construed after Iqbal ). Accordingly, pro se plaintiffs are afforded the benefit of any doubt. Id.

B. Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff alleges that on May 31, 2012, while he was housed at Coalinga State Hospital, the Internal Revenue Service placed $1, 468.69 for payment of his tax refund onto a prepaid debit/credit card issued by RushCard. On June 4, 2012, it was discovered that the card had been allegedly activated by another inmate at the institution, Mr. Lewis, who had helped Plaintiff obtain the card. Subsequently, Mr. Lewis allegedly admitted that he had arranged that the card be sent to him rather than to Plaintiff, and he had deducted $19.46 from the card to purchase tea. Upon the discovery of these facts, Plaintiff called the RushCard, and requested that a hold be placed on the card until further notice. Plaintiff subsequently has tried to receive the funds from RushCard, but the company has refused to release the money or reactivate the card as requested.[1]

Plaintiff contends that Bancorp is the "financial banker" who holds all of the RushCard's "prepaid financial transactions." He brings this action against both of these defendants alleging they have interfered with his ability to obtain rightful possession of his funds, and failed to advise Plaintiff that the card was issued in a different inmate. He alleges the companies engaged in fraud, beached their contractual agreements which have resulted in a violation of the Fair Business Practices Act and the Federal Tort Claims Act. He also asserts a violation the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. He contends that all of these violations serve as a basis for his section 1983 claim. Plaintiff requests that the Court issue a declaratory judgment that Defendants violated the Fair Business Practices Act and that Defendants violated his Constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He also requests compensatory damages in the amount of $15, 000.00 against each Defendant, $50, 000 punitive damages against each Defendant, $1, 468.69 the amount of his tax refund, and any other relief the Court deems appropriate.

C. Analysis

1. 42 U.S.C. § 1983

The Civil Rights Act under which this action was ...

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