United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND DOCKET NO.
M. CHEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Swain, an inmate at the California State Prison in Lancaster,
commenced this pro se prisoner's civil action by
filing a “writ of replevin complaint.” Docket No.
1. The complaint is now before the Court for review under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A.
Swain seeks a judgment against the Alameda County Superior
Court and the County Courthouse in this action in which he
has named the Director of Corrections as the
“respondent.” Docket No. 1 at 1. He alleges that
a “financial responsibility” was imposed during
his arraignment and that he “was unaware of a fine in
addition to imprisonment” imposed against him.
Id. He further alleges that his “fiduciary
acted as the plaintiff's trustee during (all) court
proceedings and failed to honor its obligation as said
trustee in good faith and candor.” Id. at 2.
As a result of the foregoing, “plaintiff was placed
under court imposed lien on real property being the plaintiff
himself as ‘tangible property.' . . . Plaintiff was
also placed under a ‘third party contract,' whereby
said party came to the aid of the plaintiff as his
‘creditor beneficiary.'” Id. He
further contends that he seeks “a permanent solution by
filing a writ of replevin complaint. This would remedy the
court's lien of real property, stored as collateral on
the previously unsecured debt.” Id. at 3.
federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any
case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental
entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review the
court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any
claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See
Id. at § 1915A(b). For cases in which a plaintiff
proceeding in forma pauperis has sued private parties, the
court may review and dismiss the action if it is frivolous,
malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Pro se
pleadings must be liberally construed. See Balistreri v.
Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.
Swain has filed a “writ of replevin complaint.” A
writ of replevin is not available on the allegations made in
the complaint. Although this Court has the authority to issue
“all writs necessary or appropriate” in aid of
its jurisdiction “and agreeable to the usages and
principles of law, ” 28 U.S.C. § 1651, no facts
are alleged to establish jurisdiction or to show that the
requested writ is necessary or appropriate in aid of the
relevant here, the Court only has jurisdiction to entertain
an action if the parties have diverse citizenship,
see 28 U.S.C. § 1332, or if it raises a federal
question, such as a civil rights claim asserted under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. (There are other federal statutes that
grant other bases of federal court jurisdiction, but none are
applicable to this action.) In simple terms, Mr. Swain's
action can go forward in federal court only if there is
diversity jurisdiction, or if a claim is stated under §
jurisdiction requires an amount in controversy greater than
$75, 000 and, more importantly for present purposes, that the
action is between “citizens of different States.”
See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). There does not
appear to be diversity jurisdiction in this action. If Mr.
Swain has facts showing otherwise, he may attempt to allege
facts suggesting the existence of diversity jurisdiction if
he wishes to proceed based on diversity jurisdiction.
question jurisdiction also is not alleged. A civil rights
action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 would give the Court
federal question jurisdiction over an action. To state a
claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege
(1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the
United States was violated and (2) that the violation was
committed by a person acting under the color of state law.
See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
complaint is a rambling jumble of ideas that is largely
incomprehensible. Mr. Swain mentions several legal concepts,
but fails to allege an understandable set of facts to go with
any of those legal concepts. The complaint is dismissed for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Leave to amend is granted so that Mr. Swain may file an
amended complaint that cures the several deficiencies
addressed in this order.
Mr. Swain has to allege a claim showing that the Court has
jurisdiction, e.g., diversity jurisdiction or a claim under
42 U.S.C. § 1983, as discussed above.
the complaint fails to allege “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, ” as required by Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8(a)(2). The conclusory allegations fail to satisfy
some of the basic purposes of a complaint: framing the
dispute and giving the defendants and Court notice of the
claims upon which relief is sought. Although a complaint
“does not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds'
of [her] ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more
than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do. . . . Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). A
complaint must proffer “enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id.
at 570; see also Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93
(2007) (“statement need only . . . give the defendant
fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon
which it rests”). It is more important that a pro
se litigant describe the facts ...