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Tagle v. Cal-Trans

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 30, 2015

VICTOR TAGLE, Plaintiff,
v.
CAL-TRANS, Defendant.

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF No. 1) THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE

BARBARA A. McAULIFFE, Magistrate Judge.

I. Screening Requirement and Standard

Plaintiff Victor Tagle ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil action against Defendant Cal-Trans. Plaintiff's complaint, filed on October 3, 2014, is currently before the Court for screening.

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, courts "are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences." Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation 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, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. United States Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II. Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff initiated this action while incarcerated at High Desert State Prison and brings suit against the California Department of Transportation (Cal-Trans) for employment discrimination and recovery of lost wages. In his complaint, styled as a letter, Plaintiff alleges: On January 26, 2010, Plaintiff was hired by Cal-Trans as a heavy equipment mechanic. Plaintiff lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, but moved to California for the position as a lead mechanic in Bishop, California. Approximately six months after starting his job, the current shop supervisor was retiring and Plaintiff was appointed as the future shop supervisor.

At some point in time, Plaintiff was on a lunch break, in a truck, using his cellphone to call his family. Plaintiff was out by the yard speaking Spanish on the phone. Plaintiff was accused by Mr. Nelson of talking about him in Spanish. As a result, Plaintiff was suspended without pay.

Plaintiff called his union representative. The representative said he was not willing or able to take that type of problem. Plaintiff ended up out of a job, stranded in Bishop with his family. Plaintiff remained there for a few months with the hope that Cal-Trans would hold an arbitration hearing. When it did not happen, Plaintiff moved back to Las Vegas. As a result of the move, Plaintiff alleges that he caught the wrong people's attention and ended up with his tools, clothes and furniture stolen. He also lost his house.

While applying for jobs, Plaintiff alleges that Cal-Trans personnel defamed him and told prospective employers that Plaintiff lost his job due to his personality.

Several months later, Plaintiff attended an arbitration hearing in Fresno, California. During the hearing, it was asserted that Plaintiff was harassing Mr. Nelson. However, Mr. Nelson did not attend the hearing. Plaintiff allegedly was "forgiven for his sins." (Doc. 1, at p. 4.) Plaintiff asked the judge to make sure that Cal-Trans would not defame his name. The judge said that she would make sure of it and she also said that Plaintiff's past due wages were awarded. Plaintiff claims that he never saw the money. Plaintiff spoke to Cal-Trans' representative at the hearing, but Cal-Trans never paid him. At some later point, Plaintiff sent letters to Cal-Trans asking for his wages. Plaintiff subsequently was arrested and convicted. During that time, he was unable to contact Cal-Trans.

Plaintiff now seeks to collect his past due wages and damages based on a violation of his civil ...


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