United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
KENDALL J. NEWMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
April 21, 2017, plaintiff Rhonda Iredia-Ortega filed a
complaint along with a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1, 2.) Subsequently, on April 24,
2017, plaintiff also filed a notice outlining names of
additional defendants. (ECF No. 3.)
complaint is subject to screening in accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 1915. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the
court is directed to dismiss the case at any time if it
determines that 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.
federal court also has an independent duty to assess whether
federal subject matter jurisdiction exists, whether or not
the parties raise the issue. See United Investors Life
Ins. Co. v. Waddell & Reed Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 967
(9th Cir. 2004) (stating that “the district court had a
duty to establish subject matter jurisdiction over the
removed action sua sponte, whether the parties
raised the issue or not”); accord Rains v.
Criterion Sys., Inc., 80 F.3d 339, 342 (9th Cir. 1996).
The court must sua sponte dismiss the case if, at
any time, it determines that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3). A federal district court
generally has original jurisdiction over a civil action when:
(1) a federal question is presented in an action
“arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of
the United States” or (2) there is complete diversity
of citizenship and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,
000. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332(a).
case, plaintiff's complaint makes vague and conclusory
references to numerous federal statutes, but fails to explain
how they have any relevance to her claims. Liberally
construed, plaintiff's complaint essentially alleges that
she was wrongfully denied and/or underpaid various county and
state public welfare benefits. However, plaintiff's
allegations in that regard fail to state a cognizable federal
claim. California state law provides plaintiff with an
opportunity to seek a state hearing before an administrative
law judge to review a denial or underpayment of such public
social services/benefits. See, e.g., Cal. Welf.
& Inst. Code §§ 10950 et seq. If plaintiff is
ultimately dissatisfied with the state agency's final
decision, plaintiff may seek judicial review by filing a
petition in a state superior court, such as the Sacramento
County Superior Court. Id. § 10962. Therefore,
although the court is not unsympathetic to plaintiff's
alleged need for benefits, a federal court is not the
appropriate forum in which to pursue judicial review
pertaining to such benefits.
complaint, as supplemented by the notice outlining additional
defendants, also appears to assert unspecified types of fraud
and other claims against commercial entities, the American
Arbitration Association, wireless companies, coin grading
companies, the Japanese government, and certain individuals.
The court has carefully reviewed those claims, finds them
wholly insubstantial, and recommends that they be dismissed
pursuant to the substantiality doctrine. “Under the
substantiality doctrine, the district court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction when the question presented is too
insubstantial to consider.” Cook v. Peter Kiewit
Sons Co., 775 F.2d 1030, 1035 (9th Cir. 1985) (citing
Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 528, 536-39 (1974)).
“The claim must be ‘so insubstantial,
implausible, foreclosed by prior decisions of this Court or
otherwise completely devoid of merit as not to involve a
federal controversy within the jurisdiction of the District
Court, whatever may be the ultimate resolution of the federal
issues on the merits.'” Id. (quoting
Oneida Indian Nation v. County of Oneida, 414 U.S.
661, 666 (1974)); see also Apple v. Glenn, 183 F.3d
477, 479 (6th Cir. 1999) (“a district court may, at any
time, sua sponte dismiss a complaint for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when the allegations of a
complaint are totally implausible, attenuated, unsubstantial,
frivolous, devoid of merit, or no longer open to
court has carefully considered whether plaintiff, especially
in light of her pro se status, should be provided
with an opportunity to amend her complaint. However, in light
of the nature of plaintiff's allegations, which show that
the court plainly lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the
types of claims asserted, the court concludes that granting
further leave to amend would be futile. See Cahill v.
Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 339 (9th Cir. 1996).
However, dismissal should be without prejudice, to provide
plaintiff an opportunity to pursue her claims in the
appropriate state forum.
IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that:
1. The action be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction.
2. The motion to proceed in forma pauperis in this
court (ECF No. 2) be DENIED AS MOOT.
3. The Clerk of Court be directed to close this case.
light of those recommendations, IT IS ALSO HEREBY ORDERED
that all pleading, discovery, and motion practice in this
action are stayed pending resolution of the findings and
recommendations. With the exception of objections to the
findings and recommendations and other non-frivolous motions
for emergency relief, the court will not address or respond
to any motions or other filings until the findings and
recommendations are resolved.
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
(14) 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.” Any reply to
the objections shall be served on all parties and filed with
the court within fourteen (14) days after service of the
objections. The parties are advised that failure to file
objections within the ...