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Stevens v. Siemens Mobility

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 2, 2018

RAY STEVENS, Plaintiff,
v.
SIEMENS MOBILITY and SUPERIOR GROUP, Defendants.

          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 filed a request for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”), 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.

         I. SCREENING

         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). Plaintiff must assist the court in determining whether or not the complaint is frivolous, 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 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; 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).

         The court applies the same rules of construction in determining whether the complaint states a claim on which relief can be granted. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (court must accept the allegations as true); Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974) (court must construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff). Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, the court need not accept as true conclusory allegations, unreasonable inferences, or unwarranted deductions of fact. Western Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir. 1981). A formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action does not suffice to state a claim. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         To state a claim on which relief may be granted, the plaintiff must allege enough facts “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” 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. 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), superseded on other grounds by statute as stated in Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122 (9th Cir.2000)) (en banc).

         A. The Complaint

         Plaintiff brings suit against Siemens Mobility and Superior Group under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). ECF No. 1 at 2-4. Plaintiff's complaint appears to be premised on a denial of employment due to a past criminal conviction. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that defendant Superior Group did an employment screening for Siemens, and that “Siemens administration facially-neutral policy or procedures specifically, criminal procedures, policies that disproportionately afects [sic.] plaintiff who is African American policy is job related for position in question and consistent with business necessity.” ECF No. 1 at 5. Plaintiff further alleges that “criminal conviction is not job related” and that “alternative employment practice that serves the employee legitimate goal effected as the challenge practice.” Id. Plaintiff seeks earning of potential wages and punitive damages for “failure to hire with criminal conviction.”

         B. Analysis

         The complaint does not contain facts supporting any cognizable legal claim against any defendant. Plaintiff, who has previously brought a similar action in this district, has been cautioned that in general “employers are free to refuse to hire applicants with any criminal record without violating Title VII or the ADEA, even if plaintiff personally disagrees with the relevance of such a requirement for the position he seeks.” Stevens v. IMKO Workforce Sols., No. 217-cv-1026-MCE-KJN-PS, 2017 WL 4284639, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 27, 2017). Additionally, plaintiff has previously been warned that the conclusory allegation that his rejection on the basis of criminal history was pretext for racial discrimination, unsupported by specific factual allegations demonstrating pretext, is not sufficient to state a claim. Id.

         The complaint now before the court does not clearly state allegations that support any legal claim. In this case, plaintiff fails to assert facts to support his belief that his failure to be hired was due to his criminal conviction. Even if he had alleged such facts, they would fail to state a claim for relief under any employment discrimination statute. Moreover, plaintiff does not allege facts demonstrating a basis for his belief that rejection on the basis of his criminal conviction was a pretext for unlawful discrimination. Plaintiff's complaint makes only the conclusory assertion that his criminal conviction was not work related, but he does not assert any facts related to how he was otherwise qualified for the position(s) at issue. Plaintiff alleges no facts whatsoever to support his ADEA claim. ...


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