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.
302(c)(21). Plaintiff has filed a request for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915, and has submitted the affidavit required
by that statute. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).
The motion to proceed IFP will therefore be granted.
IFP status does not end the court's inquiry. The federal
IFP statute requires federal courts to dismiss a case if the
action is legally “frivolous or malicious, ”
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or
seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
must assist the court in determining whether the complaint is
frivolous or not, by drafting the 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. (“Rule”) 8(a). Plaintiff's
claims must be set forth simply, concisely and directly. Rule
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).
allegations of the complaint are taken as true only for
purposes of this screening. Plaintiff alleges that defendants
prevented him from taking grant money to which he was
entitled. ECF No. 1 at 4-5. Plaintiff alleges that employees
at the Sacramento Veterans Resource Center prevented him from
receiving furniture to which he was entitled, and failed to
pay his storage fees as they were supposed to do.
Id. Under “Basis for Jurisdiction, ”
plaintiff checked the box labeled “Federal
question.” Id. at 3. Where asked to identify
the specific federal statutes, federal treaties, and/or
provisions of the United States Constitution at issue,
plaintiff wrote: “failed to allow me to use $1000.00
grant money deposit for the year 2015 from 6-1-2015 to Sept.
30 2015 denied me grant money assistance for SMUD that I
qualified for.” Id. at 4.
court lacks jurisdiction over this lawsuit, and accordingly
it must be dismissed. To bring a case in federal court, a
party must either bring a claim under federal law, or
demonstrate that the parties are from different states and
that over $75, 000 is in controversy. 28 U.S.C. § 1331,
§ 1332. Although plaintiff checks the “federal
question” box on the complaint form, no federal law
claims are alleged or otherwise appear from the facts as
stated. For this reason, it does not appear that this federal
court can hear this case.
AMENDING THE COMPLAINT
plaintiff chooses to amend his complaint, the amended
complaint must allege facts establishing the existence of
federal jurisdiction. In addition, it must contain a short
and plain statement of plaintiff's claims. 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. Rule 10(b). As noted above, forms are available to
help 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
must avoid excessive repetition of the same allegations.
Plaintiff must avoid narrative and storytelling. That is, the
complaint should not include every detail of what happened,
nor recount the details of conversations (unless necessary to
establish the claim), nor give a running account of
plaintiff's hopes and thoughts. Rather, the amended