United States District Court, S.D. California
JUAN M. DAVIS, CDCR #V-25937, Plaintiff,
R. WALKER, Chief Medical Officer at RJDCF; et al., Defendants.
ORDER DISMISSING CIVIL ACTION: 1) FOR
FAILING TO PAY FILING FEES REQUIRED BY 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a) AND/OR FAILING TO
FILE A MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a) AND 2) FOR FAILING TO FILE A COMPLAINT ALLEGING FEDERAL SUBJECT MATTER
JURISDICTION PURSUANT TO FED.R.CIV.P. 3, 8(a)(1)-(3) AND FED.R.CIV.P. 12(h)(3)
GONZALO P. CURIEL, District Judge.
Juan M. Davis ("Plaintiff"), a prisoner currently incarcerated at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, California, and proceeding pro se, has filed a letter with the Court which is addressed to the "Commissioner" of the Southern District of California (ECF Doc. No. 1). In his pleading, which Plaintiff identifies as a "right-to-sue" letter, he asks for an opportunity to present claims against medical officials at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility ("RJD") for failing to provide him adequate medical care while he was incarcerated there in 2011 through 2012. See ECF Doc. No. 1 at 1-2.
Because Plaintiff is proceeding without counsel, the Court liberally construed his letter as an attempt to commence a civil action, and assigned it Civil Case No. 3:14-cv-01283-GPC-PCL. See Karim-Panahi v. Los Angeles Police Dept., 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir. 1988) (where a plaintiff appears in propria persona, the Court must construe his pleadings liberally and afford plaintiff any benefit of the doubt).
I. FAILURE TO PAY FILING FEE OR REQUEST IFP STATUS
However, all parties instituting any civil action, suit or proceeding in any district court of the United States, except an application for writ of habeas corpus, must pay a filing fee of $400. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). An action may proceed despite a party's failure to pay this filing fee only if the party is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). See Andrews v. Cervantes, 493 F.3d 1047, 1051 (9th Cir. 2007); Rodriguez v. Cook, 169 F.3d 1176, 1177 (9th Cir. 1999).
Plaintiff has not prepaid the $400 in filing and administrative fees required to commence a civil action, nor has he submitted a Motion to Proceed IFP in compliance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Therefore, no civil action can yet proceed. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a); Andrews, 493 F.3d at 1051.
II. FAILURE TO FILE COMPLAINT ALLEGING SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
Moreover, "[t]he first step in a civil action in a United States district court is the filing of [a] complaint with the clerk or the judge." 4 Wright, Miller, Kane, Marcus & Steinman, FED. PRAC. & PROC. CIV. § 1052 (3d ed. 2002 & Supp. 2014); FED.R.CIV.P. 3 ("A civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court.") (emphasis added). Pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 8(a), a complaint must contain: "(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, "... (2) a short and plain statement showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and (3) a demand for the relief sought." FED.R.CIV.P. 8(a)(1)-(3).
Federal courts have limited jurisdiction, and limitations on the court's jurisdiction "must neither be disregarded nor evaded." Moore v. Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, 657 F.3d 890, 894 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing Owen Equip. & Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 374 (1978)). The Court must determine sua sponte whether it has subject matter jurisdiction. See Valdez v. Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1116 (9th Cir. 2004). See also FED.R.CIV.P. 12(h)(3) ("If the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.").
Thus, while it appears from Plaintiff's letter that he intends to file a civil rights action alleging holding RJD officials "accountable" for denying him adequate medical care or accommodations, see Doc. No. 1 at 2, he does not allege subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or 28 U.S.C. § 1343(a)(3). See Watson v. Chessman, 362 F.Supp.2d 1190, 1194 (S.D. Cal. 2005) ("The court will not... infer allegations supporting federal jurisdiction; federal subject matter [jurisdiction] must always be affirmatively alleged.").
Thus, because Plaintiff has not filed a complaint that alleges federal jurisdiction or "states a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, " Ashcroft v. Iqbal, U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted), this case must be dismissed. See Hamilton v. Brown, 630 F.3d 889, 892 n.3 (9th Cir. 2011) (noting court's obligation under the Prison Litigation Reform Act to "review, before docketing or as soon thereafter as practicable, any civil action brought by a prisoner seeking redress from a governmental entity, officer or employee, " and its requirement to dismiss complaints or any portion thereof that are "frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, " or "seek[ing] monetary relief from a defendant who is immune" pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), (b)).
III. CONCLUSION AND ORDER
Accordingly, the Court DISMISSES this action without prejudice for failing to pay the $400 filing fee required by 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a), failing to file a Motion to Proceed IFP pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), and for failing to file a complaint which alleges federal subject ...