United States District Court, E.D. California
ORION S. EHRINGER, Plaintiff,
MAGISTRATE JUDGE KENDALL J. NEWMAN, MAGISTRATE JUDGE ALLISON CLAIRE, AND U.S. DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING IFP AND RECOMMENDATION OF
F. BRENNAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to
28 U.S.C. 1915. His declaration makes the showing required
by 28 U.S.C. §1915(a)(1) and (2). See ECF Nos.
2, 3 at 9. Accordingly, the request to proceed in forma
pauperis is granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).
that plaintiff may proceed in forma pauperis does
not complete the required inquiry. Pursuant to §
1915(e)(2), the court must dismiss the case at any time if it
determines the allegation of poverty is untrue, or if the
action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against
an immune defendant. As discussed below, plaintiff's
complaint fails to state a claim and must be dismissed.
pro se pleadings are liberally construed, see Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972), a complaint, or
portion thereof, should be dismissed for failure to state a
claim if it fails to set forth “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554,
562-563 (2007) (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41
(1957)); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).
“[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the
‘grounds' of his ‘entitlement to relief'
requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of a cause of action's elements will not do.
Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level on the assumption that all of the
complaint's allegations are true.” Id.
(citations omitted). Dismissal is appropriate based either on
the lack of cognizable legal theories or the lack of pleading
sufficient facts to support cognizable legal theories.
Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d
696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
reviewing a complaint under this standard, the court must
accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question,
Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hosp. Trustees, 425 U.S.
738, 740 (1976), construe the pleading in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, and resolve all doubts in the
plaintiff's favor, Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395
U.S. 411, 421 (1969). A pro se plaintiff must satisfy the
pleading requirements of Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Rule 8(a)(2) requires a complaint to include
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the
defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds
upon which it rests.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)).
a federal court is a court of limited jurisdiction, and may
adjudicate only those cases authorized by the Constitution
and by Congress. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.,
511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). The basic federal jurisdiction
statutes, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 & 1332, confer
“federal question” and “diversity”
jurisdiction, respectively. Federal question jurisdiction
requires that the complaint (1) arise under a federal law or
the U.S. Constitution, (2) allege a “case or
controversy” within the meaning of Article III, §
2 of the U.S. Constitution, or (3) be authorized by a federal
statute that both regulates a specific subject matter and
confers federal jurisdiction. Baker v. Carr, 369
U.S. 186, 198 (1962). To invoke the court's diversity
jurisdiction, a plaintiff must specifically allege the
diverse citizenship of all parties, and that the matter in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a);
Bautista v. Pan American World Airlines, Inc., 828
F.2d 546, 552 (9th Cir. 1987). A case presumably lies outside
the jurisdiction of the federal courts unless demonstrated
otherwise. Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 376-78. Lack of
subject matter jurisdiction may be raised at any time by
either party or by the court. Attorneys Trust v.
Videotape Computer Products, Inc., 93 F.3d 593, 594-95
(9th Cir. 1996).
complaint purports to assert claims against Magistrate Judges
Newman and Claire for their handing of two cases plaintiff
previously filed in this court. ECF No. 1. In essence, plaintiff
contends that Judge Newman wrongfully recommended dismissal
of his habeas petition in Ehringer v. California,
2:15-cv-1329-MCE-KJN, and that Judge Claire wrongfully
recommended dismissal of plaintiff's civil complaint in
Ehringer v. California, 2:15-cv-985-KJM-AC. See
generally ECF No. 1. Both judges are entitled to
absolute judicial immunity and plaintiff's claims must be
are absolutely immune from damage actions for judicial acts
taken within the jurisdiction of their courts . . . . A judge
loses absolute immunity only when [the judge] acts in the
clear absence of all jurisdiction or performs an act that is
not judicial in nature.” Schucker v. Rockwood,
846 F.2d 1202, 1204 (9th Cir. 1988) (per curiam). The
complaint plainly shows that the acts for which plaintiff
sues were performed by Judges Newman and Claire within their
jurisdiction as judges assigned to plaintiff's cases.
Plaintiff's allegations indicate that the actions of
Judges Newman and Claire were judicial in nature, and they
are therefore entitled to judicial immunity. Accordingly,
plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Moreover, because it is clear from the
allegations of the current complaint these claims are barred
by absolute immunity, leave to amend would be futile. See
Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987)
(while the court ordinarily would permit a pro se plaintiff
to amend, leave to amend should not be granted where it
appears amendment would be futile). Therefore, the dismissal
should be without leave to amend.
it is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiffs request for leave to
proceed in form pauperis (ECF Nos.
2) is granted.
it is RECOMMENDED that plaintiffs complaint be dismissed
without leave to amend and the Clerk be directed to close
findings and recommendations are submitted to the United
States District Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the
provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Within fourteen
days after being served with these findings and
recommendations, any party may file written objections with
the court and serve a copy on all parties. Such a document
should be captioned “Objections to Magistrate
Judge's Findings and Recommendations.” Failure to
file objections within the specified time may waive the right
to appeal the District Court's order. Turner v.
Duncan, 158 F.3d 449, 455 (9th Cir. 1998); Martinez
v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1991).
 This case, in which plaintiff is
proceeding in propria persona, was referred to the
undersigned under Local Rule 302(c)(21). See 28