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Berna v. Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms

United States District Court, E.D. California

February 24, 2015

BRUCE BERNA, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE BUREAU OF FIREARMS, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS

STANLEY A. BOONE, Magistrate Judge.

January 20, 2015, Plaintiff Bruce Berna ("Plaintiff") filed the First Amended Complaint in this action. (ECF No. 5.)

For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint fails to state any cognizable claims.

I.

SCREENING

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious, " that "fail[] to state a claim on which relief may be granted, " or that "seek[] monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Moreover, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of Plaintiff's rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002).

Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor. Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The "sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully" is not sufficient, and "facts that are merely consistent with' a defendant's liability" falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed the original complaint in this action on December 11, 2014. (ECF No. 1.) The Court screened and dismissed the original complaint, with leave to amend, on December 22, 2014. The Court construed the original complaint as attempting to sue the United States Department of Justice for failing to respond to Plaintiff's request for documents pursuant to California's Public Records Act. Since California's Public Records Act only applies to state and local agencies, and the United States Department of Justice is a federal agency, the Court found that the original complaint did not state any cognizable claims. The Court further found that the original complaint did not state any cognizable claims concerning Plaintiff's complaints about the Department of Justice's refusal to comply with Plaintiff's demands that a shotgun seized at Plaintiff's residence be delivered to a "Ron Hendricks."

Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint consists of a narrative in which Plaintiff attempts to "explain what I hoped to accomplish and why." (First Am. Compl., at pg. 1.) Plaintiff describes an incident on September 8, 2011 when he was arrested by two law enforcement officers. Plaintiff contends that these law enforcement officers entered his home without his permission and without a warrant and found a shotgun. Plaintiff was arrested for a firearms related offense.

Plaintiff contends that the law enforcement officers lied during multiple court proceedings. Plaintiff further contends that the judge in his criminal proceedings was biased and protected the officers' despite their lies. Plaintiff pled no contest to the criminal charges and appealed.

Plaintiff explains that he requested the documents from the Department of Justice to corroborate his claims that the law enforcement agents lied during court proceedings. Plaintiff claims that he requested the documents five times over four months and sent his neighbor to the Department of Justice to retrieve the requested documents. Plaintiff further states that "[n]ow I have decided to file suit for [i]llegal search and seizure, false arrest, false ...


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