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Wright v. Solomon

United States District Court, N.D. California

December 8, 2014

TROY SOLOMON, Defendant.


JOSEPH C. SPERO, Magistrate Judge.


Plaintiff Latisha Wright filed this action against Defendant Troy Solomon after Solomon allegedly failed to deliver products that Wright purchased from him. The Court previously granted Wright's application to proceed in forma pauperis, thus requiring the Court to review the sufficiency of Wright's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Because no basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction is apparent, Wright's Complaint is DISMISSED with leave to amend.[1] If Wright chooses to amend, she must file an amended complaint no later than January 22, 2015. Wright must also attend the case management conference scheduled for 2:00 PM on January 16, 2015 in Courtroom G, located on the 15th floor of the San Francisco courthouse at 450 Golden Gate Avenue.


A. The Complaint

Wright filed her Complaint using a template prepared by the Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco. In the section labeled "Jurisdiction, " Wright checked a box to indicate that her "case belongs in federal court under diversity jurisdiction because none of the plaintiffs live in the same state as any of the defendants AND the amount of damages is more than $75, 000." Compl. ¶ 2. Wright lives in California; Solomon lives in Florida. Id. ¶ 1.

The "Statement of Facts and Claims" alleges that Wright paid a total of $2, 346.88 to Solomon in early 2014 to start a t-shirt business. Id. ¶ 5. Of that sum, Wright paid $1, 662.88 for a design, $500 for a website, and $184 for twelve shirts. Id. She alleges that Solomon initially represented that all of the goods and services at issue could be provided within 72 hours, but, to date, none have been provided. Id. Wright alleges that in response to her repeated inquiries, Solomon has made excuses and told her that "it won't take much longer." Id.

B. Procedural History

Wright filed her Complaint in this Court on October 8, 2014, and concurrently filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (dkt. 2). The Court granted Wright's application to proceed in forma pauperis on October 22, 2014. See dkt. 4. Wright consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) on December 3, 2014. See dkt. 7.


A. Legal Standard

Where a plaintiff is found to be indigent under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) and is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, courts must engage in screening and dismiss any claims which: (1) are frivolous or malicious; (2) fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (3) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see Marks v. Solcum, 98 F.3d 494, 495 (9th Cir. 1996). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) provides that a pleading must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." A complaint that lacks such statement fails to state a claim and must be dismissed.

In determining whether a plaintiff fails to state a claim, the court assumes that all factual allegations in the complaint are true. Parks Sch. of Bus. v. Symington, 51 F.3d 1480, 1484 (9th Cir. 1995). However, "the tenet that a court must accept a complaint's allegations as true is inapplicable to legal conclusions [and] mere conclusory statements." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). The pertinent question is whether the factual allegations, assumed to be true, "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Thus, to meet this requirement, the complaint must be supported by factual allegations. Id.

Further, a complaint is "frivolous" under § 1915 where there is no subject matter jurisdiction. See Pratt v. Sumner, 807 F.2d 817, 819 (9th Cir. 1987) (recognizing the general proposition that a complaint should be dismissed as frivolous under § 1915 where subject matter jurisdiction is lacking). Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and may only hear cases where Congress has granted jurisdiction by statute. Two of the most commonly invoked jurisdictional statutes are 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (so-called "diversity jurisdiction"), and 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("federal question jurisdiction"). Section 1332 grants jurisdiction to hear cases where no plaintiffs are citizens of the same state as any defendants, and the amount in controversy is more than $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Section 1331 encompasses cases that arise under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. "A case arises under' federal law either where federal law creates the cause of action or where the vindication of a right under state law necessarily turns on some construction of federal law.'" Republican Party of Guam v. Gutierrez, 277 F.3d 1086, 1088 (9th Cir. 2002) (citations omitted). "The presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is governed ...

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