United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING
PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT AND MOTIONS TO PROCEED IN FORMA
PAUPERIS OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN FOURTEEN (14) DAYS (ECF Nos.
Sisomphone Phanvongkham and Felicia Navarro, appearing
pro se, filed a Complaint on January 12, 2017. (ECF
No. 1.). After the Complaint was initially stricken from the
record, Plaintiffs re-filed the Complaint on February 1,
2017. (ECF Nos. 4-5.) The Complaint alleges injuries stemming
from an unlawful detainer eviction by Defendants GSF
Properties, Inc., Fresno Housing Authorities, and Steve
Richard Hrdlicka. Id. Plaintiffs also seek to
proceed in forma pauperis in this action. The Court
has screened the Complaint and Motion to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis and makes its recommendations herein, namely,
that Plaintiffs' Motion be denied and the Complaint be
APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
general rule, all parties instituting any civil action, suit,
or proceeding in a district court must pay a filing fee. 28
U.S.C. § 1914(a). However, the Court may authorize the
commencement of an action “without prepayment of fees
and costs of security therefor, by a person who submits an
affidavit that . . . the person is unable to pay such fees or
give security therefor.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).
Therefore, an action may proceed despite a failure to prepay
the filing fee only if leave to proceed in forma
pauperis is granted by the Court. See Rodriguez v.
Cook, 169 F.3d 1176, 1177 (9th Cir. 1999).
Ninth Circuit has held that “permission to proceed in
forma pauperis is itself a matter of privilege and not right;
denial of in forma pauperis status does not violate the
applicant's right to due process.” Franklin v.
Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1231 (9th Cir. 1984). The Court
has broad discretion to grant or deny a motion to proceed
in forma pauperis. O'Laughlin v. Doe,
920 F.2d 614, 616 (9th Cir. 1990) (a “district court
may deny leave to proceed [in forma pauperis] at the
outset if it appears from the face of the proposed complaint
that the action is frivolous or without merit.”).
Because, as explained below, Plaintiffs' Complaint is
frivolous and without merit, the application to proceed
in forma pauperis should be denied.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court must conduct a review
of a pro se 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.
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 conclusions are not.
Id. at 678.
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
allege that an unlawful detainer action was commenced in
early 2014 in Fresno Superior Court seeking possession of a
leased premises and back rent. (ECF No. 5, pp. 2-3.) The
landlord was represented by Defendant Steve Richard Hrdlicka
and his associated law firm. The state court awarded
possession of the premises to the landlord and entered a
judgment against Plaintiffs, the former tenants, for $2,
694.40. It is also alleged that Plaintiffs were ordered to
pay $337 in back rent, $490 in court costs, and $1, 500 in
legal fees to Hrdlicka. Plaintiffs allege that Hrdlicka
“put up hurdles to prevent payment so they would
default on the agreement.” Id. at 5.
Plaintiffs attempted to appeal the judgment. Id. at
4. The appellate court summarily denied the Plaintiffs'
petition for a writ of mandate.
on this conduct, Plaintiffs allege four state-law causes of
actions, as follows: 1) Wrongful eviction; 2) Negligence; 3)
Breach of Contract; and 4) Legal Malpractice. They ask for
damages in a sum of no less than $75, 0000, costs, and
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and lack inherent
or general subject matter jurisdiction. Federal courts can
adjudicate only those cases which the United States
Constitution and Congress authorize them to adjudicate.
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375
(1994). To proceed in federal court, a plaintiff's
pleading must establish the existence of subject matter
jurisdiction. Generally, there are two ...