United States District Court, S.D. California
ODER (1) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO PROCEED
IN FORMA PAUPERIS; [Dkt. No. 2] (2) SUA SPONTE DISMISSING
PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT FOR LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER
GONZALO P. CURIEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
2, 2016, Plaintiff Armin Abazar ("Plaintiff"),
proceeding pro se, filed a complaint against Defendant
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, located
in North Chicago, Illinois. (Dkt. No. 1.) Plaintiff
concurrently filed a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis ("IFP"). (Dkt. No. 2.) Based on the
reasoning below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion to
proceed IFP and sua sponte DISMISSES Plaintiff's
Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
parties instituting any civil action, suit, or proceeding in
a district court of the United States, except an application
for writ of habeas corpus, must pay a filing fee of $400.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). An action may
proceed despite a plaintiff's failure to prepay the
entire fee only if he is granted leave to proceed IFP
pursuant to § 1915(a). See Andrews v.
Cervantes, 493 F.3d 1047, 1051 (9th Cir. 2007);
Rodriguez v. Cook, 169 F.3d 1176, 1177 (9th Cir.
1999). The plaintiff must submit an affidavit demonstrating
his inability to pay the filing fee, and the affidavit must
include a complete statement of the plaintiff's assets.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).
Plaintiff submitted an affidavit reporting that he has not
received any income from employment during the past twelve
months. (Dkt. No. 2 at 1-2.) Plaintiff reports no real
property, savings, or checking account and has $0 in cash.
(Id. at 2-3.) He owns a 2003 GMC Yukon that he
guesses to be valued around $3000. (Id. at 3.) He
has expenses of around $40, and credit card debt in the
amount of $170. (Id. at 4.) Based on the affidavit,
the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed
Sua Sponte Dismissal for Lack of Subject Matter
well-established that a federal court cannot reach the merits
of any dispute until it confirms that it retains subject
matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the issues presented.
See Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environ., 523
U.S. 83, 94-95 (1998). Accordingly, federal courts are under
a continuing duty to confirm their jurisdictional power and
are "obliged to inquire sua sponte whenever a doubt
arises as to [its] existence . . . ." Mt. Healthy
City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 278
(1977) (citations omitted).
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Unlike state
courts, they have no ‘inherent' or
‘general' subject matter jurisdiction. They can
adjudicate only those cases which the Constitution and
Congress authorize them to adjudicate, i.e. those involving
diversity of citizenship, a federal question, or to which the
United States is a party. See Finley v. United
States, 490 U.S. 545 (1989). Federal courts are
presumptively without jurisdiction over civil actions and the
burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party
asserting jurisdiction. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life
Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994).
complaint is essentially styled a "motion to vacate
state orders." (Dkt. No. 1 at 1, 5.) Specifically,
he seeks relief from the "State Appellate Order on June
29, 2015 (Ex. O), State Circuit Order August 27, 2014 (Ex. P)
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(4),
60(b)(3) and 60(b)(6)." (Id. at 5.) These
orders were filed in the Illinois state courts. He alleges
that Defendant is selling "illegal and substandard
educations to drive students into large debts that these
institutional know students can't repay."
(Id. at 7.) After graduating from Dr. William M.
Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine ("College"),
Plaintiff was unable to be placed in a residency program.
Relying on statements in the College's catalog that he
could be successful with a degree in podiatric medicine, he
applied and did not realize the shortage of available
residency placements. Plaintiff claims the College was
improperly admitting more students than the number of
available residency placements. Therefore, he filed suit in
Illinois Circuit Court against the College. After the Circuit
Court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss with
prejudice, (Dkt. No. 1-2 at 29), Plaintiff appealed to the
Appellate Court of Illinois. (Dkt. No. 1-2 at 16.) The
Appellate Court of Illinois affirmed the dismissal with
prejudice as to all counts with a modification that the
dismissal of count II as to the fraudulent concealment of the
fact that residencies in podiatric medicine would not be
available for all the graduates of the College podiatric
program be modified to be a dismissal without prejudice.
(Id. at 23.) The case was remanded for further
proceedings on that claim only. (Id.) On May 24,
2016, it appears that on remand, the Circuit Court, on
motion, dismissed the case without prejudice, and Plaintiff
was granted until June 22, 2016 to file an amended complaint
with a status hearing set for June 29, 2016. (Dkt. No. 1-2 at
64.) Plaintiff seeks relief in this Court because he alleges
that the courts in Illinois have consistently shown him
direct animus. (Dkt. No. 1 at 59.)
the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, a federal district
court is prohibited from exercising subject matter
jurisdiction over a case that is "a de facto appeal from
a state court judgment." Kougasian v. TMSL,
Inc., 359 F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2004). A de facto
appeal is when a federal plaintiff asserts "asserts as a
legal wrong an allegedly erroneous decision by a state court,
and seeks relief from a state court judgment based on that
decision" and is barred by Rooker-Feldman.
Id. at 1140. 28 U.S.C. § 1257 grants
jurisdiction to review a state court judgment in the United
States Supreme Court. See In re Gruntz, 202 F.3d
1074, 1078 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) ("Direct federal
appellate review of state court decisions must occur, if at
all, in the Supreme Court."); Maldando v.
Harris, 370 F.3d 945, 949 (9th Cir. 2004)
("[F]ederal district court does not have subject matter
jurisdiction to hear a direct appeal from the final judgment
of a state court.").
it does not appear that a final judgment has been issued in
the state court as it appears the case is on remand and
pending with the Circuit Court. (Dkt. No. 1-32 at 64.)
Therefore, any relief Plaintiff seeks must be raised with the
Illinois state court. See generally Illinois Supreme
Court Rules 306, 307.
even if there was a final judgment, this Court does not have
subject matter jurisdiction over the case because Plaintiff
is challenging the rulings of the Illinois state trial and
appellate courts by asking the Court to vacate both orders.
He argues that the two state court judges acted without
authority, are not "authorized independent judges",
and therefore their orders are void. Because Plaintiff is
challenging allegedly ...