United States District Court, E.D. California
Lupe Gonzales, Plaintiff, Pro se, Fresno, CA.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING THAT THE COURT DISMISS THE COMPLAINT FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION (Docs. 1 and 3)
Sandra M. Snyder, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
On November 7, 2014, Plaintiff Lupe Gonzalez, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed a complaint alleging that Defendant PG& E violated her Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment due process rights by failing to provide her with an acceptable payment plan for past-due amounts that she owes to Defendant. Plaintiff seeks damages and, by separate motion (Doc. 3), a temporary injunction to prevent PG& E from turning off her utilities pending resolution of this case. Because this Court lacks jurisdiction over Plaintiff's dispute, the undersigned recommends that the Court dismiss this case.
I. Screening Requirement
The court has inherent power to control its docket and the disposition of its cases with economy of time and effort for both the court and the parties. Landis v. North American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254-55, 57 S.Ct. 163, 81 L.Ed. 153 (1936); Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1260 (9th Cir. 1992). In cases in which the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must screen the complaint and dismiss it at any time that the Court concludes that the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on 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). " Notwithstanding any filing fee, or portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
In screening a complaint, the Court does not rule on the merits of the proposed action. Instead, it evaluates whether the complaint sets forth facts sufficient to render each claim cognizable. The screening process does not substitute for any subsequent Rule 12(b)(6) motion that a defendant may elect to bring later. Teahan v. Wilhelm, 481 F.Supp.2d 1115, 1120 (S.D.Cal. 2007).
II. Pleading Standards
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) provides:
A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:
(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;
(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief; and
(3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.
"Each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct." F.R.Civ.P. 8(d).
"Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions, " none of which applies here. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 512, 122 S.Ct. 992, 152 L.Ed.2d 1 (2002). Pursuant to Rule 8(a), 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). " Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. Detailed factual allegations are not required, but " [t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of the cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) ( citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). " Plaintiff must set forth sufficient factual matter accepted as true, to 'state a ...