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Atherton v. Beverly Hills Public Library

United States District Court, C.D. California

January 8, 2020

ARLENE R. ATHERTON, Plaintiff,
v.
BEVERLY HILLS PUBLIC LIBRARY, ET AL., Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

          HONORABLE KENLY KIYA KATO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Arlene R. Atherton (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed a “civil rights” Complaint pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”). For the reasons discussed below, the Court dismisses the Complaint with leave to amend.

         II.

         ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT

         On November 27, 2019, Plaintiff filed the Complaint under the ADA and Section 1983. ECF Docket No. (“Dkt.”) 1. Although not entirely clear, the Complaint appears to sue the Beverly Hills Library and Beverly Hills Police Department (collectively, “Defendants”). Id. at 3. Plaintiff appears to allege Defendants violated her constitutional rights and failed to accommodate her traumatic brain injury when she was removed from the Beverly Hills Public Library on November 25, 2019 by the Beverly Hills Police Department and was required to meet with a library supervisor to reinstate her public use privileges. Id. at 1-2. While not entirely clear, it appears Plaintiff also claims her removal from the Beverly Hills Library prevented her from complying with deadlines in other cases before the federal district court in Illinois and the United States Supreme Court. Id. Plaintiff does not appear to seek any specific relief.

         III.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         As Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must screen the Complaint and is required to dismiss the case at any time if it concludes the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998).

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 (“Rule 8”), a complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief, ” and “[e]ach allegation must be simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a), (d). In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim for screening purposes, the Court applies the same pleading standard as it would when evaluating a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012).

         A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim “where there is no cognizable legal theory or an absence of sufficient facts alleged to support a cognizable legal theory.” Zamani v. Carnes, 491 F.3d 990, 996 (9th Cir. 2007). In considering whether a complaint states a claim, a court must accept as true all of the material factual allegations in it. Hamilton v. Brown, 630 F.3d 889, 892-93 (9th Cir. 2011). However, the court need not accept as true “allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences.” In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2008). Although a complaint need not include detailed factual allegations, it “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Cook v. Brewer, 637 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)). A claim is facially plausible when it “allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The complaint “must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively.” Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011).

         “A document filed pro se is ‘to be liberally construed,' and a ‘pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Woods v. Carey, 525 F.3d 886, 889-90 (9th Cir. 2008). However, liberal construction should only be afforded to “a plaintiff's factual allegations, ” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 339 (1989), and the Court need not accept as true “unreasonable inferences or assume the truth of legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations, ” Ileto v. Glock Inc., 349 F.3d 1191, 1200 (9th Cir. 2003).

         If the court finds the complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim, the court has discretion to dismiss with or without leave to amend. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-30 (9th Cir. 2000). Leave to amend should be granted if it appears possible the defects in the complaint could be corrected, especially if the plaintiff is pro se. Id. at 1130-31; see also Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995). However, if, after careful consideration, it is clear a complaint cannot be cured by ...


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