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Sharp v. Stockton Enterprises

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 12, 2017

CALYSTA SHARP, Plaintiff,
v.
STOCKTON ENTERPRISES, Defendant.

          ORDER

          ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff is proceeding in this action pro se. This matter was accordingly referred to the undersigned by E.D. Cal. 302(c)(21). Plaintiff has, in two separate motions, requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. ECF Nos. 2 and 4. The request will be denied because the complaint, in its current form, is frivolous. 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). Moreover, the applications for IPF do not in their present form demonstrate plaintiff's inability to pay the filing fee.

         I. SCREENING

         Plaintiff 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 www.uscourts.gov/rules- policies/current-rules-practice-procedure/federal-rules-civil-procedure. 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 www.uscourts.gov/forms/pro-se-forms.

         A claim 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 (2001).

         Pro se 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).

         A. The Complaint

         The complaint is almost entirely blank, with the exception of the parties' names and addresses. Plaintiff checks the box indicating this court has jurisdiction because a federal question is at issue, but when prompted to list the federal law at issue plaintiff only writes “#896; Arbitration, et al.” ECF No. 1 at 3. Plaintiff attaches to her complaint what appears to be an internet search result, showing a communication purportedly from defendant. Id. at 8.

         B. Analysis

         The complaint does not contain any facts showing that plaintiff has a claim entitling him to relief. The information plaintiff provided does not allege that defendant violated any state law or federal right. In addition, the complaint does not contain any facts showing that federal jurisdiction exists, that is, that the case is properly filed in this court, rather than in a state court.

         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. In addition, if a state law alone is at issue, plaintiff must allege facts showing that “diversity” jurisdiction exists, that is, that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, and that he is a citizen of a different state than the defendant. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

         It is not clear from the few factual allegations of the complaint whether plaintiff could possibly state a claim that can be heard in this court, and that would entitle him to relief. Plaintiff will therefore be given an opportunity to amend his complaint.

         C. Amending the Complaint

         The amended complaint, in addition to alleging facts establishing the existence of federal jurisdiction, must contain a short and plain statement of plaintiff's claim. The allegations of the complaint must be set forth in sequentially numbered paragraphs, with each paragraph number being one greater than the one before, each paragraph having its own number, and no paragraph number being repeated anywhere in the complaint. Each paragraph should be limited “to a single set of circumstances” where possible. Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b). As noted above, forms are available to help plaintiffs organize their complaint in the ...


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