United States District Court, E.D. California
MARY J. CRAGO, Plaintiff,
INTERNAL AFFAIRS, SACRAMENTO SHERIFF, Defendant.
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”), 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.
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
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
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).
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).
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).
brings suit against the Sacramento Sheriff's department
of Internal Affairs. ECF No. 1 at 1. Plaintiff checks the box
on the form complaint indicating that the basis for federal
jurisdiction is federal question. Id. at 2. When
asked to list the specific federal laws at issue, plaintiff
writes “failure to respond to citizens complaint,
illegal search and seizure, no probable cause.”
Id. The body of plaintiff's complaint, however,
addresses only an alleged failure to respond and not any
illegal search and seizure without probable cause.
Id. at 8-10. Plaintiff alleges that she filed a
complaint with internal affairs on December 8, 2019, and that
she has not received a call back, and there has been no
investigation. Id. at 9. Plaintiff filed this
complaint on December 16, 2019. Id.
court must reject plaintiff's complaint because it does
not comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 and it fails to state a basis
for jurisdiction. The complaint does not contain a
“short and plain” statement setting forth the
basis for federal jurisdiction, plaintiff's entitlement
to relief, or the relief that is sought, even though those
things are required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1)-(3). First, even
though plaintiff alleges federal question jurisdiction and
states she is alleging a claim that her constitutional rights
were violated, she does not allege any facts related to that
claim. The factual allegations of the complaint relate only
to the alleged failure of the Sheriff's internal affairs
department's failure to respond to plaintiff's
complaint. Such a claim does not support federal question
jurisdiction because it is unrelated to the violation of any
federal law or constitutional right.
the exact nature of what happened to plaintiff is unclear
from the complaint. The complaint contains few facts, and
states only that the Sherriff's department failed to
respond within the single week between plaintiff's filing
an internal affairs complaint and her filing this case in
federal court. The court cannot tell from examining the
complaint and the minimal facts alleged what constitutional
violation (if any) was inflicted on the plaintiff, by whom
and when, or how any alleged harm amounts to a claim that
would give rise to federal jurisdiction in this case.
the complaint does not establish this court's
jurisdiction and does not comply with the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Rather than recommending dismissal of the
action, the undersigned will provide plaintiff an opportunity
to amend her complaint to allege a proper ...