United States District Court, C.D. California
Tracy L. Gamble Prvor
Michael R. Powell et al.
Present: The Honorable MARIA A. AUDERO, United States
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
(In Chambers): Order Dismissing Complaint Pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 8 (ECF No.
October 18, 2019, Plaintiff Tracy L. Gamble Pryor
("Plaintiff), proceeding pro se, filed a
Complaint asserting violations of her civil rights against
the Superior Court of California for the Comity of Los
Angeles and eighteen government employees (collectively,
"Defendants"). (Compl., ECF No. 1.) On November 12,
2019, the Court dismissed the Complaint for failure to comply
with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) ("Rule
8"), with leave to amend. ("Order," ECF No.
13.) Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint on December
12, 2019. ("FAC," ECF No. 15.)
courts must conduct a preliminary screening of any case in
which a plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The court must identify
cognizable claims and dismiss any complaint, or any portion
thereof, that is frivolous or malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. Id. When
screening a complaint to determine whether it fails to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted, courts apply the
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standard, which is
read in conjunction with Rule 8. See Watison v.
Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012); see
also Li v. Kerry, 710 F.3d 995, 998 (9th Cir. 2013)
("Rule 12(b)(6) is read on conjunction with Rule 8(a) .
Court previously explained (see Order 1-2), Rule 8
requires that a complaint contain '"a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief,' in order to 'give the defendant
fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon
which it rests."' Bell Ail Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)) (alteration in
original). "Each allegation must be simple, concise, and
direct." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). Rule 8 may be violated
when a pleading "says too little" and
"when a pleading says too much.”
Knapp v. Hogan, 738 F.3d 1106, 1109 (9th Cir. 2013).
While Rule 8 “does not require ‘detailed factual
allegations,' . . . it demands more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “A pleading that
offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557).
Moreover, a complaint that is too verbose, long, confusing,
redundant, irrelevant, or conclusory may be dismissed for
failure to comply with Rule 8. See Cafasso v. Gen.
Dynamics C4 Sys., 637 F.3d 1047, 1058-59 (9th Cir. 2011)
(citing cases upholding dismissals for those reasons).
Court previously advised Plaintiff that the Complaint did not
satisfy Rule 8. (See Order.) The Court concludes
that the FAC also does not satisfy Rule 8, but will give
Plaintiff another opportunity to amend her allegations to
comply with the requirements of Rule 8 (summarized above).
Specifically, Plaintiff must correct the FAC in the following
as with the Complaint (see Order 2), it is difficult
to understand Plaintiff's allegations or to identify
Plaintiff's specific claims in the FAC. The majority of
the FAC appears to be excerpts from an appellate brief in an
unrelated case. (See FAC 9-53.) As the Court
previously advised Plaintiff (see Order 2), if
Plaintiff files an amended complaint, the allegations should
be simple, concise, and direct, and Plaintiff's claims
should be clearly labeled. Plaintiff should provide
sufficient factual allegations to support each claim;
Plaintiff is advised to omit any claims for which she lacks a
sufficient factual basis. Plaintiff also is advised to omit
any allegations that do not pertain to Plaintiff's
it is difficult to ascertain the Defendants Plaintiff
intended to name in the FAC. Plaintiff must clearly list each
Defendant. In addition, as the Court previously advised
Plaintiff (see Order 2), Plaintiff must provide
specific factual detail regarding each Defendant's acts
and omissions that allegedly violated Plaintiff's federal
or Constitutional rights. Sufficient detail must be provided
to give each Defendant fair notice of Plaintiff's claim
against him or her. See McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d
1172, 1179 (9th Cir. 1996) (affirming dismissal under Rule 8
where “one cannot determine from the complaint who is
being sued, for what relief, and on what federal or
Constitutional theory, and with enough detail to guide
discovery.”). In an amended complaint, Plaintiff should
omit any Defendants for whom Plaintiff cannot provide
specific factual allegations regarding their acts or
omissions. Plaintiff also is advised to omit any Defendant
who does not pertain to Plaintiff's specific case.
although not entirely clear, it appears that the FAC alleges
that Defendants are blocking the final judgment of a divorce,
and seeks a writ of mandamus ordering Defendants to abide by
state law and the state court. (FAC 8.) As the Court
previously advised Plaintiff (see Order 3), pursuant
to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, a federal court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear a de facto appeal
from the judgment of a state court. Bianchi v.
Rylaarsdam, 334 F.3d 895, 896 (9th Cir. 2003). The
Rooker- Feldman doctrine bars “cases brought
by state-court losers complaining of injuries caused by
state-court judgments rendered before the district court
proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and
rejection of those judgments.” Exxon Mobil Corp. v.
Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005).
“At its core, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine
stands for the unremarkable proposition that federal district
courts are courts of original, not appellate,
jurisdiction.” Gruntz v. County of Los Angeles (In
re Gruntz), 202 F.3d 1074, 1078 (9th Cir. 2000) (citing
28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332). Thus, to the extent
Plaintiff seeks a de facto appeal of a state court
judgment-including a state divorce judgment-Plaintiff's
case would be barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.
light of the foregoing, the FAC is DISMISSED
with leave to amend. No. later than February 6,
2020, Plaintiff must either: (1) file a Second
Amended Complaint (“SAC”) that complies with Rule
8; or (2) advise the Court that Plaintiff does not intend to
file a SAC.
must cure the pleading defects discussed above and shall be
complete in itself without reference to the FAC. See
L.R. 15-2 (“Every amended pleading filed as a matter of
right or allowed by order of the Court shall be complete
including exhibits. The amended pleading shall not refer to
the prior, superseding pleading.”). Plaintiff shall not
include new defendants or new allegations that are not
reasonably related to the claims asserted in the FAC.
Plaintiff strongly is encouraged to utilize the
standard civil rights complaint form when filing any amended
complaint, a copy of which is attached.
is advised that failure to comply with this order will result
in a recommendation that the lawsuit be dismissed without
prejudice for failure to prosecute and/or comply with court
orders. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b); C.D. Cal. L.R.
Plaintiff no longer wishes to pursue this action in its
entirety or with respect to particular Defendants, she
voluntarily may dismiss this action or particular Defendants
by filing a Notice of Dismissal in accordance with Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1). A form Notice of
Dismissal is attached for Plaintiff's
is advised that this Court's determination herein that
the allegations in the FAC are insufficient to state a
particular claim should not be seen as dispositive of the
claim. Accordingly, although the undersigned Magistrate Judge
believes Plaintiff has failed to plead sufficient factual
matter in the pleading, accepted as true, to state a claim
for relief that is plausible on its face, Plaintiff is not
required to omit any claim or Defendant in order to pursue
this action. However, if Plaintiff decides to pursue a claim
in an amended complaint that the undersigned previously found
to be insufficient, then pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636,
the undersigned ultimately may submit to the assigned
District Judge a recommendation ...