United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSING
COMPLAINT WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF NO. 1) OBJECTIONS DUE
WITHIN TWENTY-ONE DAYS
April 24, 2017, Plaintiff Oscar Luna, appearing pro se and in
forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983.
district court must perform a preliminary screening and must
dismiss a case if at any time the Court determines that the
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see Lopez v.
Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000) (section
1915(e) applies to all in forma pauperis complaints, not just
those filed by prisoners). In determining whether a complaint
fails to state a claim, the Court uses the same pleading
standard used under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). 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)).
reviewing the pro se complaint, the Court is to liberally
construe the pleadings and accept as true all factual
allegations contained in the complaint. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Although a court must
accept as true all factual allegations contained in a
complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal
conclusions as true. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
“[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that are
‘merely consistent with' a defendant's
liability . . . ‘stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of entitlement to
relief.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Therefore, the complaint
must contain sufficient factual content for the court to draw
the reasonable conclusion that the defendant is liable for
the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
the court may dismiss a claim as factually frivolous when the
facts alleged lack an arguable basis in law or in fact or
embraces fanciful factual allegations. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Further, a claim can
be dismissed where a complete defense is obvious on the face
of the complaint. Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221,
1228 (9th Cir. 1984).
brings this action against Charmae Caracas who, acting in her
official capacity as Clerk Supervisor of the Fresno County
Superior Court, refused to file legal documents in Case No.
14CEG02921, using the excuse that the Superior Court had
dismissed the action without prejudice. (Compl. ¶¶
4, 5.) Plaintiff alleges that dismissal of the action was
impossible because the case was on appeal from January 19,
2016 through February 24, 2017 in case no. F073104. (Compl.
¶ 5.) Plaintiff brings this action alleging denial of
access to the court seeking injunctive relief and monetary
Immunity from Damages
clerks have absolute quasi-judicial immunity from damages for
civil rights violations when they perform tasks that are an
integral part of the judicial process.” Mullis v.
U.S. Bankr. Court for Dist. of Nevada, 828 F.2d 1385,
1390 (9th Cir. 1987); Fixel v. United States, 737
F.Supp. 593, 597 (D. Nev. 1990), aff'd sub nom.
Fixel v. U.S. Dist. Court of Nevada, 930 F.2d 27
(9th Cir. 1991). Clerk action that is “a mistake or an
act in excess of jurisdiction does not abrogate judicial
immunity, even if it results in ‘grave procedural
errors.' ” Mullis, 828 F.2d at 1390
(quoting Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 359
(1978)). In Mullis, a bankruptcy debtor filed an
action against the bankruptcy court clerks. Mullis,
828 F.2d at 1390. The plaintiff alleged denial to access of
the court after the court clerks refused to accept and file
an amended petition in his bankruptcy action.
Mullis, 828 F.2d at 1390. The court found that the
clerk of court and deputy clerks are the court officials
through whom filing in cases is done. Id.
“Consequently, the clerks qualify for quasi-judicial
immunity unless these acts were done in the clear absence of
all jurisdiction.” Id.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Caracas refused to accept
filings in Plaintiff's action because it had been
dismissed. Defendant Caracas's actions regarding the
filing of legal papers are integral to the judicial process.
Since Defendant Caracas was performing tasks integral to the
judicial process she is entitled to quasi-judicial immunity
from damages for her actions in refusing to file
Plaintiff's legal papers. Coulter v. Roddy, 463
F. App'x 610, 611 (9th Cir. 2011); In re
Harris, No. C 94-0212 VRW, 1995 WL 390625, at *3 (N.D.
Cal. June 19, 1995); Sermeno v. Lewis, No.
116CV01582LJOBAMPC, 2017 WL 117879, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 11,
2017). Plaintiff's claim for damages against Defendant
Caracas should be dismissed without leave to amend.
also seeks injunctive relief in this action requiring
Defendant Caracas to accept filings in the state court
action. Immunity is not a defense against injunctive relief.
Fixel, 737 F.Supp. at 597. “A preliminary
injunction is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of
right.” Winter v. Natural Resources Defense
Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008) (citation omitted).
“A court may grant a preliminary injunction only if the
plaintiff establishes four elements: (1) likelihood of
success on the merits; (2) likelihood of suffering
irreparable harm absent a preliminary injunction; (3) the
balance of equities tips in plaintiff's favor; and (4)
injunctive relief is in the public interest.” Leigh
v. Salazar, 677 F.3d 892, 896 (2012); Alliance for
Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, 6 ...