United States District Court, E.D. California
DEBORAH BARNES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Cupid Monique Trotter is proceeding in this action pro se.
This matter was referred to the undersigned in accordance
with Local Rule 302(c)(21) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
Pending before the court are plaintiff's complaint and
motion to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915. (ECF Nos. 1 & 6.) Therein, plaintiff
complains about conditions in public housing.
court is required to screen complaints brought by parties
proceeding in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122,
1129 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). Here, plaintiff's
complaint is deficient. Accordingly, for the reasons stated
below, plaintiff's complaint will be dismissed with leave
Plaintiff's Application to Proceed In Forma
in forma pauperis application makes the financial showing
required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). However, a
determination that a plaintiff qualifies financially for in
forma pauperis status does not complete the inquiry required
by the statute. “‘A district court may deny leave
to proceed in forma pauperis at the outset if it appears from
the face of the proposed complaint that the action is
frivolous or without merit.'” Minetti v. Port
of Seattle, 152 F.3d 1113, 1115 (9th Cir. 1998) (quoting
Tripati v. First Nat. Bank & Trust, 821 F.2d
1368, 1370 (9th Cir. 1987)); see also McGee v. Department
of Child Support Services, 584 Fed.Appx. 638 (9th Cir.
2014) (“the district court did not abuse its discretion
by denying McGee's request to proceed IFP because it
appears from the face of the amended complaint that
McGee's action is frivolous or without merit”);
Smart v. Heinze, 347 F.2d 114, 116 (9th Cir. 1965)
(“It is the duty of the District Court to examine any
application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis to
determine whether the proposed proceeding has merit and if it
appears that the proceeding is without merit, the court is
bound to deny a motion seeking leave to proceed in forma
the court must dismiss an in forma pauperis case at any time
if the allegation of poverty is found to be untrue or if it
is determined that the action is frivolous or malicious,
fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or
seeks monetary relief against an immune defendant.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). A complaint is
legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis in law or
in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
(1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28
(9th Cir. 1984). Under this standard, a court must dismiss a
complaint as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327; 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e).
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.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In considering
whether a complaint states a cognizable claim, the court
accepts as true the material allegations in the complaint and
construes the allegations in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S.
69, 73 (1984); Hosp. Bldg. Co. v. Trustees of Rex
Hosp., 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976); Love v. United
States, 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 1989). 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).
minimum requirements for a civil complaint in federal court
are as follows:
A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief . . . shall
contain (1) a short and plain statement of the grounds upon
which the court's jurisdiction depends . . ., (2) a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, and (3) a demand for judgment for the
relief the pleader seeks.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a).
plaintiff's complaint fails to contain a short and plain
statement of a claim showing that plaintiff is entitled to
relief. In this regard, the complaint alleges that the
defendants are the “owner along with property
agency” that is “supposed to maintain the
property” plaintiff lives at pursuant to a contract
between defendants and the federal government. (Compl. (ECF
No. 1) at 5, 7.) The complaint asserts that the “main
reason” for this action is for “money returned
for Breach of a Federal Government signed contract”
based on defendants' failure to maintain the subject
property. (Id. at 7.)
complaint, however, fails to allege any facts in support of a
claim for breach of contract. See E.D.C. Technologies,
Inc. v. Seidel, 216 F.Supp.3d 1012, 1015 (N.D. Cal.
2016) (“The elements of a cause of action for breach of
contract are (1) the existence of the contract, (2)
plaintiff's performance or excuse for nonperformance, (3)
defendant's breach, and (4) the resulting damages to
it does not appear from the complaint that plaintiff is a
party to the contract between defendants and the federal
government. Usually “only a party to a contract or an
intended third-party beneficiary may sue to enforce the terms
of a contract or obtain an appropriate remedy for
breach.” GECCMC 2005-C1 Plummer Street Office ...