Smith v. Mcdonalds Incorporated et al

Filing 12

FINDINGS and RECOMMENDATIONS Recommending Dismissing Action Without Leave to Amend for Failure to State a Claim, signed by Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone on 06/06/2024. Referred to Judge Sheriff. Objections to F&R due within Twenty-One Days. (Maldonado, C)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 CANDACE SMITH, Plaintiff, 10 11 Case No. 1:24-cv-00204-KES-SAB FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSING ACTION WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM v. 12 MCDONALDS INCORPORATED, et al., 13 Defendants. (ECF No. 1) OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN TWENTYONE DAYS 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Candace Smith (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this action on February 15, 2024. (ECF No. 1.) I. SCREENING REQUIREMENT Notwithstanding any filing fee, the court shall dismiss a case if at any time the Court determines that the complaint “(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000) (section 1915(e) applies to all in forma pauperis complaints, not just those filed by prisoners); Calhoun v. Stahl, 254 F.3d 845 (9th Cir. 2001) (dismissal required of in forma pauperis proceedings which seek monetary relief from immune defendants); Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995) (district court has discretion to dismiss in forma pauperis complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)); Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193 (9th Cir. 1998) 1 1 (affirming sua sponte dismissal for failure to state a claim). The Court exercises its discretion to 2 screen the plaintiff’s complaint in this action to determine if it “(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) 3 fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a 4 defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). 5 II. 6 COMPLAINT ALLEGATIONS Plaintiff brings this action against McDonalds Incorporated, Claudia (a manager), and 7 8 Uber Technologies under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). (Compl. 2-3, 1 ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff is a citizen 9 of California and alleges that McDonalds is a citizen of California. (Id. at 4.) While not entirely clear, it appears that while working as an Uber driver, Plaintiff went to 10 11 McDonalds to pick up an order. Someone refused to give her the order, causing her to lose her 12 employment. (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff alleges that McDonalds and Uber Technologies committed a 13 terror and hate attack against her. Uber Technologies refused to compensate her and stole her 14 wages. Uber Eats committed a hate crime. (Id.) 15 III. 16 DISCUSSION Plaintiff’s complaint fails to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 and fails to 17 18 establish this Court’s jurisdiction. For the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that 19 the complaint in this action be dismissed without leave to amend. 20 A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 21 Pursuant to Rule 8, a complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim 22 showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. . . .” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual 23 allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, 24 supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 25 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). “[A] complaint must 26 contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its 27 1 All references to pagination of specific documents pertain to those as indicated on the upper right corners via the 28 CM/ECF electronic court docketing system. 2 1 face.’ ” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “[A] complaint [that] 2 pleads facts that are ‘merely consistent with’ a defendant’s liability . . . ‘stops short of the line 3 between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.’ ” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting 4 Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, although a court must accept as true all factual allegations 5 contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff’s legal conclusions as true. Iqbal, 6 556 U.S. at 678. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere 7 conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). 8 Plaintiff’s complaint is not a plain statement of her claims. While the complaint is short, 9 it does not clearly state what happened. Plaintiff alleges that she was working as an Uber driver, 10 and someone refused to give her an order which caused her to lose her employment. While 11 Plaintiff alleges terror attack and racial hate crimes, there are absolutely no allegations of any 12 threatening or harassing conduct. Further, while Plaintiff names McDonalds and Claudia as 13 defendants, there are no specific allegations as to either of these defendants. 14 B. Federal Court Jurisdiction 15 Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and their power to adjudicate is limited to 16 that granted by Congress. U.S. v. Sumner, 226 F.3d 1005, 1009 (9th Cir. 2000). District courts 17 have original jurisdiction of all civil actions between citizens of different States in which “the 18 matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs.” 28 19 U.S.C. § 1332(a). This requires complete diversity of citizenship and the presence “of a single 20 plaintiff from the same State as a single defendant deprives the district court of original diversity 21 jurisdiction over the entire action.” Abrego Abrego v. The Dow Chemical Co., 443 F.3d 676, 22 679 (9th Cir. 2006) (citations omitted). 23 In order to state a claim by virtue of diversity of citizenship, Plaintiff is required to plead 24 the essential elements of diversity jurisdiction. Bautista v. Pan American World Airlines, Inc., 25 828 F.2d 546, 552 (9th Cir. 1987). Plaintiff alleges that both she and McDonalds Incorporated 26 are citizens of California. Since Plaintiff alleges that both she and McDonalds are citizens of 27 California, the parties are not diverse and diversity jurisdiction does not exist in this action. 28 Further, to the extent that the conduct complained of could actually state a claim based on 3 1 the allegations in the complaint, the proper defendant would be the individuals who interacted 2 with Plaintiff at the restaurant when she attempted to pick up the delivery. Since Plaintiff is a 3 citizen of California and the workers at the restaurant would also be citizens of California 4 diversity of citizenship does not exist in this action. 5 C. Leave to Amend 6 A pro se litigant’s complaint should not be dismissed “without leave to amend ‘unless it 7 is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint cannot be cured by amendment.’ ” 8 Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 1212 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Schucker v. Rockwood, 846 F.2d 9 1202, 1203-04 (9th Cir. 1988)). In determining whether to grant leave to amend, the court 10 considers five factors: “(1) bad faith; (2) undue delay; (3) prejudice to the opposing party; (4) 11 futility of amendment; and (5) whether the plaintiff has previously amended his complaint.” 12 Nunes v. Ashcroft, 375 F.3d 805, 808 (9th Cir. 2004); accord Madeja v. Olympic Packers, LLC., 13 310 F.3d 628, 636 (9th Cir. 2002). The factors are not given equal weight and futility alone is 14 sufficient to justify the denial of a motion to amend. Washington v. Lowe’s HIW Inc., 75 F. 15 Supp. 3d 1240, 1245 (N.D. Cal. 2014), appeal dismissed (Feb. 25, 2015). “[I]t is the 16 consideration of prejudice to the opposing party that carries the greatest weight.” Eminence 17 Capital, LLC v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2003). “Absent prejudice, or a 18 strong showing of any of the remaining [ ] factors, there exists a presumption under Rule 15(a) in 19 favor of granting leave to amend.” Eminence Capital, LLC, 316 F.3d at 1052. 20 In this instance, the Court finds that amendment of the complaint would be futile as 21 Plaintiff and all defendants allegedly involved in the incident in the complaint do not have 22 diverse citizenship. Accordingly, the Court recommends that the complaint be dismissed without 23 leave to amend. 24 IV. 25 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION 26 Plaintiff’s complaint fails to establish jurisdiction and fails to comply with Rule 8 of the 27 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Based upon the allegations in Plaintiff’s complaint, the Court 28 is persuaded that Plaintiff is unable to allege any additional facts that would support diversity of 4 1 citizenship exists in this action and further amendment would be futile. See Hartmann v. CDCR, 2 707 F.3d 1114, 1130 (9th Cir. 2013) (“A district court may deny leave to amend when 3 amendment would be futile.”) Based on the nature of the deficiencies at issue, the Court finds 4 that further leave to amend is not warranted. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th. Cir. 5 2000); Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446-1449 (9th Cir. 1987). Based on the foregoing, it is HEREBY RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff’s complaint, 6 7 filed February 15, 2024, be DISMISSED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND. These findings and recommendations are submitted to the district judge assigned to this 8 9 action, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and this Court’s Local Rule 304. Within twenty10 one (21) days of service of this recommendation, any party may file written objections to these 11 findings and recommendations with the court and serve a copy on all parties. Such a document 12 should be captioned “Objections to Magistrate Judge’s Findings and Recommendations.” The 13 district judge will review the magistrate judge’s findings and recommendations pursuant to 28 14 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). The parties are advised that failure to file objections within the specified 15 time may result in the waiver of rights on appeal. Wilkerson v. Wheeler, 772 F.3d 834, 839 (9th 16 Cir. 2014) (citing Baxter v. Sullivan, 923 F.2d 1391, 1394 (9th Cir. 1991)). 17 18 IT IS SO ORDERED. 19 Dated: June 6, 2024 UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

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