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Banuelos v. Garcia

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 28, 2015



GARY S. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.


Plaintiff Robert Banuelos ("Plaintiff"), appearing pro se, filed a Complaint (the "Complaint") on January 5, 2015. (ECF No. 1.) The Complaint alleges violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 against Sandra Garcia (the "Defendant"). Id. The Court has screened the Complaint and recommends that it be dismissed without leave to amend.


Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court must conduct a review of a complaint to determine whether it "state[s] a claim on which relief may be granted, " is "frivolous or malicious, " or "seek[s] monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." If the Court determines that the complaint fails to state a claim, it must be dismissed. Id. Leave to amend may be granted to the extent that the deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by amendment. Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995).

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, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusion are not. Id. at 678.

In determining whether a complaint states an actionable claim, the Court must accept the allegations in the complaint as true, Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Trs. of Rex Hospital, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), construe pro se pleadings liberally in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000), and resolve all doubts in the Plaintiff's favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969). Pleadings of pro se plaintiffs "must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (holding that pro se complaints should continue to be liberally construed after Iqbal ).


The Complaint revolves around Plaintiff's attempts to enter various California state offices. Plaintiff appears to have been involved in a dispute between the California Labor Commissioner and FNF, Inc., a company whose relationship to Plaintiff is not discernible from the Complaint. While that dispute was pending, Plaintiff visited the office of State Assemblyman Henry T. Perea in Fresno, presumably to seek assistance with respect to the FNF, Inc. case. While there, Plaintiff met with Defendant, an employee of the Assemblyman's office. Defendant told Plaintiff that she would look into the matter. Defendant appears to have kept in contact with Plaintiff for some period of time after this and Plaintiff appears to have furnished Defendant with documents and/or information.

At some point, Plaintiff visited the offices of State Assemblyman Jim Patterson and was escorted out of the Assemblyman's offices by California Highway Patrol officers. He also visited the Fresno office of the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement and was escorted out of the building by the California Highway Patrol. Assemblyman Patterson and the DLSE occupy different buildings at different addresses than Assemblyman Perea.

In August 2014, Assemblyman Perea informed Plaintiff via letter that his office had no further action that they could take in Plaintiff's case and asked Plaintiff to cease contact with his office. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant "for some reason was manipulating the situation" and concludes that his civil rights have been violated because he was denied "rights to enter a state building." (Complaint 4:27.)


a. 42 U.S.C. § 1981

To establish a claim under section 1981, a plaintiff must show that (1) he is a member of a racial minority; "(2) the defendant had an intent to discriminate on the basis of race; and (3) the discrimination concerned one or more of the activities enumerated in the statute (i.e., the making and enforcing of a contract)." Morris v. Office Max, Inc., 89 F.3d 411, 413 (7th Cir. 1996). Section 1981 can only be violated by purposeful discrimination. General Bld. Contractor's Ass'n, Inc. v. Pennsylvania, 458 U.S. 375, 391 (1982). A "claim brought under § 1981, therefore, must initially identify an impaired contractual relationship, ' § 1981(b), under which the plaintiff has rights." Domino's Pizza v. McDonald, 546 U.S. 470, 476 (2006) ("Absent the requirement that the plaintiff himself must have rights under the contractual relationship, § 1981 would become a strange remedial provision designed to ...

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