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Cooney v. California Public Utilities Commission

United States District Court, N.D. California

September 15, 2014

DEBORAH COONEY, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CALIFORNIA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT AND DISMISSING CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANT SAN DIEGO GAS AND ELECTRIC

CLAUDIA A. WILKEN, District Judge.

On July 15, 2014, the Court entered an order granting motions to dismiss filed by Defendants the State of California, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), CPUC President Michael Peevey and California Attorney General Kamala Harris (the State Defendants) and Defendant Itron, Inc. In that order, the Court noted that Plaintiff had not filed a certificate of service indicating that she had effectively served Defendant San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E). The Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause why her claims against SDG&E should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute pursuant to Rule 4(m) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Plaintiff responded to the order to show cause, stating her belief that she had properly served SDG&E and filed a second motion for entry of default, Docket No. 57. Plaintiff previously filed a motion for entry of default in December 2013. Docket No. 53. SDG&E appeared specially to oppose the motion for entry of default and to reply to the response to the Court's July 15 order to show cause. SDG&E argues that it has not been properly served and Plaintiff's claims against it should be dismissed for failure to prosecute. In the alternative, SDG&E argues that Plaintiff's claims against it should be dismissed for the same reasons that the Court dismissed Plaintiff's action against Defendant Itron.

Having considered the parties' papers and the record in this case, the Court finds that it need not reach the question of whether SDG&E has been properly served. The Court finds that, even if SDG&E has been properly served, the claims against it should be dismissed for the same reasons that the Court dismissed Plaintiff's action against Itron.[1] See Court's July 15 Order dismissing claims against Itron without leave to amend. The Court finds that Plaintiff's state law claims against SDG&E are barred by California Public Utilities Code § 1759. Id. at 6-9. The Court further finds that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim under either the federal prohibitions on human experimentation or the Hazardous Substances Labeling Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1263. Id. at 9-12.

As the Court noted in its July 15 order, Plaintiff also alleged that SDG&E fraudulently received federal funds. In her complaint, Plaintiff alleged that SDG&E violated 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 653, 666, 1001 and 1018 "by making false and fraudulent statements in its Smart Grid Deployment Plan, by which it received Federal matching funds." Complaint ¶ 121. However, each of the statutory provisions Plaintiff cites is a criminal statute. Federal criminal statutes generally do not provide a private cause of action or a basis for civil liability. See, e.g., Aldabe v. Aldabe , 616 F.2d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980) (18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242 provide no private right of action and cannot form basis for civil suit); Pawelek v. Paramount Studios Corp. , 571 F.Supp. 1082, 1083 (N.D. Ill. 1983) (no private cause of action inherent in federal criminal statutes defining civil rights violations). Accordingly, the Court dismisses Plaintiff's claims for violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 653, 666, 1001 and 1018 for failure to state a claim. Because amendment would be futile, the dismissal is without leave to amend.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's motion for entry of default judgment (Docket No. 57) and DISMISSES Plaintiff's claims against SDG&E.

All of Plaintiff's claims have been dismissed with prejudice. Each party shall bear its own costs. The clerk shall enter judgment and close the file.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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