United States District Court, E.D. California
ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is proceeding in this action pro se. This matter was
accordingly referred to the undersigned by E.D. Cal. R.
(“Local Rule”) 302(c)(21). Plaintiff has
requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. ECF
No. 2. The request will be denied because the complaint, in
its current form, is not signed by and does not appear to be
brought by the plaintiff in this case, Mr. Leertese Bierge,
and does not state a legal claim upon which relief can be
granted. Where “plaintiff's claim appears to be
frivolous on the face of the complaint, ” the district
court may “deny plaintiff leave to file in forma
pauperis.” O'Loughlin v. Doe, 920
F.2d 614, 617 (9th Cir. 1990).
must assist the court in determining whether the complaint is
frivolous or not, by drafting his complaint so that it
complies with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
(“Fed. R. Civ. P.”). The Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure are available online at
Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the complaint
must contain (1) a “short and plain statement” of
the basis for federal jurisdiction (that is, the reason the
case is filed in this court, rather than in a state court),
(2) a short and plain statement showing that plaintiff is
entitled to relief (that is, who harmed the plaintiff, and in
what way), and (3) a demand for the relief sought.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Plaintiff's claims must be set forth
simply, concisely and directly. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). Forms
are available to help pro se plaintiffs organize their
complaint in the proper way. They are available at the
Clerk's Office, 501 I Street, 4th Floor (Rm. 4-200),
Sacramento, CA 95814, or online at
is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989). In reviewing a complaint under this
standard, the court will (1) accept as true all of the
factual allegations contained in the complaint, unless they
are clearly baseless or fanciful, (2) construe those
allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and
(3) resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's favor. See
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327; Erickson v. Pardus,
551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Von Saher v. Norton Simon Museum
of Art at Pasadena, 592 F.3d 954, 960 (9th Cir. 2010),
cert. denied, 564 U.S. 1037 (2011); Hebbe v.
Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 340 (9th Cir. 2010). However, the
court need not accept as true legal conclusions cast in the
form of factual allegations, or allegations that contradict
matters properly subject to judicial notice. See Western
Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir.
1981); Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d
979, 988 (9th Cir.), as amended, 275 F.3d 1187
pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those
drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520 (1972). Pro se complaints are construed liberally and may
only be dismissed if it appears beyond doubt that the
plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim
which would entitle him to relief. Nordstrom v.
Ryan, 762 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir. 2014). A pro se
litigant is entitled to notice of the deficiencies in the
complaint and an opportunity to amend, unless the
complaint's deficiencies could not be cured by amendment.
See Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448
(9th Cir. 1987).
complaint, which is unsigned, appears to make some assertions
regarding the fairness of plaintiff Leertese D. Bierge's
criminal trial, ECF No. 1, 9, and some assertions about a
civil rights violation involving an assault, id. at
5-6. The narrative portion of the complaint was drafted by
William Brown, who alleges that he is the “Legal
guardian and Father of Leertese D Bierge.” Id.
at 9. Mr. Brown does not submit any evidence that Leertese
Bierge is a minor, is incompetent, or that he is Mr.
Bierge's legal guardian with the right to sue on Mr.
Bierge's behalf. Id.
complaint is frivolous and cannot be pursued (1) because it
is not brought by the plaintiff himself, but instead by the
plaintiff's father on plaintiff's behalf, without a
showing that plaintiff is a minor or incompetent, or that
plaintiff's father is authorized to bring a lawsuit on
his behalf; and (2) because it fails to state any cognizable
Plaintiff Did Not Sign The Complaint
plaintiff, the person who is bringing legal claims before the
Court, must personally sign complaint and include his
address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Fed.R.Civ.P.
11(a). A complaint needs to be brought and signed by the
“real party in interest, ” meaning the person who
actually holds the legal claims in question. Fed.R.Civ.P.
17(a)(1). A litigant representing himself has no authority to
represent anyone other than himself. Russell v. United
States, 308 F.2d 78, 79 (9th Cir. 1962). If a person is
a minor or is legally incompetent, certain kinds of
representatives can sue on their behalf. Fed.R.Civ.P.
17(c)(1). These types of representatives include (A) a
general guardian; (B) a committee; (C) a conservator; or (D)
a like fiduciary. Id. “A general guardian is a
guardian who has general care and control of the ward's
person and estate.” AT&T Mobility, LLC v.
Yeager, 143 F.Supp.3d 1042 (E.D. Cal. 2015) (quoting
Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014)).
William Brown appears to have drafted and submitted the
complaint (ECF No. 1), the Motion to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis (ECF No. 2), and all exhibits in this case on behalf
of plaintiff Leertese Bierge. Though Mr. Brown asserts that
he is the legal guardian of plaintiff Leertese Bierge, he
does not submit any evidence that Mr. Bierge is a minor, is
incompetent, or that Mr. Brown is actually Mr. Bierge's
legal representative with a right to sue on his behalf. Mr.
Brown's personal belief that his son has suffered
“a nervous breakdown, ” ECF No. 1 at 9, does not
constitute evidence of legal incompetence or demonstrate Mr.
Brown's legal authority to sue on Mr. Bierge's
Plaintiff's Allegations Do Not State A Legal
Claim In order to survive IFP screening, the complaint
must allege facts showing that defendant engaged in some
conduct that the law prohibits (or failed to do something the
law requires), and that in doing so, defendant harmed
plaintiff. However, is not clear from the few factual
allegations in the complaint whether ...