United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
(DOC. NO. 8)
Anthony J. Battaglia, United States District Judge.
the Court is Defendant United States Postal Service's
motion to dismiss Plaintiff Rafael de Lima Marques's
Complaint under Rules 4, 12(b)(1), and 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. No. 8.) Having
reviewed the parties' arguments and controlling legal
authority, and pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1.d.1, the
Court finds the matter suitable for decision on the papers
without oral argument. Accordingly, the July 11,
2019 motion hearing is hereby
VACATED. For the reasons set forth below,
the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion to
Plaintiff failed to fill out the section of his complaint
entitled, “Statement of Claim, ” the Court has
liberally construed the pleadings and looked to the exhibits
provided to decipher the claim. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
10(c) (“A copy of a written instrument that is an
exhibit to a pleading is a part of the pleading for all
purposes.”); Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988) (pro se
pleadings are liberally construed). The following facts are
taken from the Complaint and attached exhibits. They are
construed as true for the limited purpose of resolving the
instant motion. See Brown v. Elec. Arts, Inc., 724
F.3d 1235, 1247 (9th Cir. 2013).
demand letter attached to the Complaint, which had been sent
to Defendant's legal department prior to commencement of
this action, Plaintiff contends that on July 20, 2018, he
shipped a rig valued at $3, 310.38 through
Defendant's services. (Doc. No. 1-2 at 31.) Plaintiff
purchased postage, insurance for the contents of the package,
and tracking services for a total of $144.07 from Defendant.
(Id.) Plaintiff claims that the rig arrived at its
destination in a damaged condition, so he sought
reimbursement from Defendant. (Id.)
filed an insurance claim with USPS. (Id.) Defendant
instructed Plaintiff to “present the item(s) and
mailing container including the wrapping, packaging, and any
other contents received, along with this letter, to a Post
Office for inspection within 20 days.” (Doc. No. 1-2 at
39.) Further, that “[i]f this evidence of damage is not
available for inspection, [Plaintiff's] claim may be
denied.” (Id.) Plaintiff delivered the rig to
Defendant for inspection in furtherance of his insurance
claim. (Doc. No. 1-2 at 31.) Defendant denied Plaintiff's
claim. (Id. at 40.) As grounds for the denial,
Defendant cited “failure to present the article,
mailing container and all packaging to the Post Office for
inspection as requested.” (Id.)
subsequently appealed. Defendant's claims division in St.
Louis, Missouri upheld the prior decision to deny
Plaintiff's claim. (Doc. No. 1-2 at 41.) The letter
states that USPS did not have an opportunity to inspect the
package in which the rig was shipped, and that Plaintiff
provided insufficient proof of value. (Id.)
Defendant's Consumer Advocate Office in Washington D.C.
upheld the decision of the St. Louis office. (Id. at
43.) Plaintiff filed this action and requests “the
court to order the defendant to reimburse me for the damaged
item.” (Doc. No. 1 at 3.)
Court issued notice of a hearing for dismissal for want of
prosecution pursuant to Rule 4(m) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure because Plaintiff had not served Defendant
with notice of this action. (Doc. No. 5.) Plaintiff then
served Defendant and filed proof of service with the Court.
(Doc. No. 6.) The Court subsequently vacated the dismissal
hearing. (Doc. No. 7.) Defendant then filed the instant
motion to dismiss. (Doc. No. 8.)
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal
sufficiency of a plaintiff's complaint. See Navarro
v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). “[A]
court may dismiss a complaint as a matter of law for (1) lack
of cognizable legal theory or (2) insufficient facts under a
cognizable legal claim.” SmileCare Dental Grp. v.
Delta Dental Plan of Cal., 88 F.3d 780, 783 (9th Cir.
1996) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
However, a complaint will survive a motion to dismiss if it
contains “enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In making this
determination, a court reviews the contents of the complaint,
accepting all factual allegations as true and drawing all
reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.
See Cedars-Sinai Med. Ctr. v. Nat'l League of
Postmasters of U.S., 497 F.3d 972, 975 (9th Cir. 2007).
this deference, the reviewing court need not accept legal
conclusions as true. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009). It is also improper for a court to assume
“the [plaintiff] can prove facts that [he or she] has
not alleged . . . .” Assoc. Gen. Contractors of
Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S.
519, 526 (1983). However, “[w]hen there are
well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their
veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise
to an entitlement to relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
pleadings are held to “less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers” because pro se
litigants are more prone to making errors in pleading than
litigants represented by counsel. Hughes v. Rowe,
449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980) (internal quotations omitted); see
Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987),
superseded by statute on other grounds,
Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1126-30 (9th Cir. 2000). Thus,
the Supreme Court has held that federal courts should
liberally construe the “‘inartful pleading'
of pro se litigants.” Eldridge v. Block, 832
F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987) (quoting Boag v.
MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982)).
the Court will liberally construe this Plaintiff's legal
claims when considering whether the complaint should be
dismissed. However, pro se plaintiffs are expected to follow
“the same rules of procedure that govern other
litigants.” King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567
(9th Cir. 1987); see Ghazali v. Moran, 46 F.3d 52,
54 (9th Cir. 1995); see also Jourdan v. Jabe, 951
F.2d 108, 109 (6th Cir. 1991) (“[W]hile pro se
litigants may be entitled to some latitude when dealing with
sophisticated legal issues, acknowledging their lack of
formal training, there is no cause for extending this margin
to straightforward procedural requirements that a layperson
can comprehend as easily as a lawyer.”). Thus, failure
to meet procedural requirements will receive less latitude.
requests dismissal of Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction, Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a
claim, and Fed.R.Civ.P. 4 for failure of service. The Court
discusses each in turn below.
Lack of Subject ...