United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
KENDALL J. NEWMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Monica Staar, proceeding without counsel, initially commenced
this action on May 9, 2017, and requests leave to proceed
in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
(ECF Nos. 1, 2.) Plaintiff styles her initial filing as a
“Request for Emergency Injunctive Relief with Expedited
Hearing.” (ECF No. 1.) Liberally construed, it appears
that plaintiff intends this filing to serve as both her
complaint and a request for a temporary restraining order
(“TRO”). Accordingly, the court addresses that
filing in such a manner.
application in support of her request to proceed in forma
pauperis makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. §
1915. Accordingly, the court grants plaintiff's request
to proceed in forma pauperis.
determination that a plaintiff may proceed in forma
pauperis does not complete the required inquiry.
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
is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221,
1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss a
claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327.
avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim, a complaint
must contain more than “naked assertions, ”
“labels and conclusions, ” or “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57
(2007). In other words, “[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). Furthermore, a claim upon which the
court can grant relief has facial plausibility.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. When considering whether a
complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted,
the court must accept the well-pled factual allegations as
true, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007),
and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff, see Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236
pleadings are liberally construed. See Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Balistreri v.
Pacifica Police Dep't., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.
1988). Unless it is clear that no amendment can cure the
defects of a complaint, a pro se plaintiff proceeding in
forma pauperis is ordinarily entitled to notice and an
opportunity to amend before dismissal. See Noll v.
Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987);
Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1230 (9th Cir.
1984). Nevertheless, leave to amend need not be granted when
further amendment would be futile. See Cahill v. Liberty
Mut. Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 339 (9th Cir. 1996).
“[f]ederal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
They possess only that power authorized by Constitution and
statute, which is not to be expanded by judicial decree. It
is to be presumed that a cause lies outside this limited
jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the contrary
rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction.”
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375,
377 (1994) (citations omitted). Indeed, a federal court also
has an independent duty to assess whether 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”). 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).
construed, plaintiff alleges in her complaint that the
Sheriff of Amador County has refused to “document,
record, respond to, or acknowledge in writing the
reporting” of various criminal acts, such as
“vehicle theft, larceny, burglary, assault and battery,
and assault with a deadly weapon, ” that have taken
place in Amador County. (ECF No. 1 at 1.) More specifically,
plaintiff alleges that she was twice assaulted with a motor
vehicle, and that the Amador County Sheriff failed to record
those incidents. (Id.) Plaintiff appears to allege
that the law enforcement officers at the scene of those two
incidents failed to prepare reports and provide them to
plaintiff. (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff also alleges that a
number of other, apparently unrelated criminal incidents have
gone unreported. (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff alleges
further that she cannot receive reimbursement for a property
loss claim she filed with an unidentified insurance company
for two vehicles she had stolen because the Amador County
Sheriff has not provided her with police report numbers.
(Id. at 3.) Plaintiff claims that Amador County
Sheriff also refuses to provide police reports for the
alleged criminal incidents discussed above. (Id.)
Plaintiff clarifies in her complaint that she “is not
seeking any declaration or judgment on the underlying alleged
crimes at this time-merely that the allegations be
documented.” (Id. at 5.)
on these allegations, plaintiff seeks the following relief:
(1) that the Sheriff of Amador County take and process police
reports for the crimes plaintiff alleges in her complaint;
(2) that the Sheriff furnish plaintiff with police report
numbers regarding the alleged theft of the two motor vehicles
owned by plaintiff; (3) that the Sheriff complete a report of
the two alleged assaults with a deadly weapon perpetrated
upon plaintiff; (4) that the Sheriff make reports to
appropriate reporting agencies concerning certain alleged
crimes; and (5) that the Sheriff file a progress report with
the court describing the progress defendant has made in
providing plaintiff with the other requested relief. (ECF No.
does not specify any particular causes of action based on the
above allegations. However, when liberally construed, the
allegations of the complaint and the relief plaintiff
requests indicate that plaintiff attempts to assert a claim
against defendant to obtain certain records potentially
possessed by the Amador County Sheriff under the California
Public Records Act (“CPRA”).
the allegations of the complaint demonstrate that the parties
are not diverse, plaintiff being a resident of Jamestown,
California, and defendant being a county within California,
plaintiff must assert a claim presenting a federal question
in order for this court to have subject matter jurisdiction
over this action. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331,
CPRA is codified in California Government Code §§
6250-6276.48, therefore meaning any claims directly asserted
under the provisions of that Act arise under California state
law, rather than federal law. Accordingly, plaintiff must be
able to articulate a federal statute under which her claim
could be asserted, or another basis giving rise to a federal
question, in order for the court to retain subject matter
jurisdiction over this action. However, plaintiff does not
provide any indication in her complaint as to a potential
basis for asserting her apparent CPRA claim that arises under
federal law. Moreover, to the extent plaintiff could
conceivably assert such a claim as a civil rights claim under
42 U.S.C. § 1983, such a claim would not be viable.
well established that “[n]either the First Amendment
nor the Fourteenth Amendment mandates a right of access to
government information or sources of information within the
government's control.” Houchins v. KQED,
Inc., 438 U.S. 1, 15 (1978); see also Brooks v.
Vallejo City Unified School District, 2009 WL 10441783,
at *3 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 30, 2009) (quoting Houchins,
438 U.S. 1) (dismissing 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims for
violation of First Amendment free speech rights and
Fourteenth Amendment due process rights based on alleged CPRA
violations). Consequently, ...