Carter v. Hurman et al

Filing 3

ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Allison Claire on 6/13/2017 ORDERING 2 that Plaintiffs Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED without prejudice, because the complaint is frivolous; Plaintiff shall have 30 days from the date of this order to file an amended complaint that complies with the instructions given above, along with a renewed application for IFP; Alternatively, plaintiff may pay the filing fee. (Reader, L)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 DARLICE CARTER, 12 13 14 15 16 No. 2:17-cv-00636 TLN AC (PS) Plaintiff, v. ORDER JENNIFER HURMAN, and JANYMAN YATES, Defendants. 17 18 Plaintiff is proceeding in this action pro se. This matter was accordingly referred to the 19 undersigned by E.D. Cal. R. (“Local Rule”) 302(c)(21). Plaintiff has requested leave to proceed 20 in forma pauperis (“IFP”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. ECF No. 2. The request will be denied 21 because the complaint, in its current form, is frivolous. Where “plaintiff’s claim appears to be 22 frivolous on the face of the complaint,” the district court may “deny[] plaintiff leave to file in 23 forma pauperis.” O’Loughlin v. Doe, 920 F.2d 614, 617 (9th Cir. 1990). 24 25 I. SCREENING Plaintiff must assist the court in determining whether the complaint is frivolous or not, by 26 drafting his complaint so that it complies with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Fed. R. Civ. 27 P.”). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are available online at 28 policies/current-rules-practice-procedure/federal-rules-civil-procedure. Under the Federal Rules 1 1 of Civil Procedure, the complaint must contain (1) a “short and plain statement” of the basis for 2 federal jurisdiction (that is, the reason the case is filed in this court, rather than in a state court), 3 (2) a short and plain statement showing that plaintiff is entitled to relief (that is, who harmed the 4 plaintiff, and in what way), and (3) a demand for the relief sought. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). 5 Plaintiff’s claims must be set forth simply, concisely and directly. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(d)(1). Forms 6 are available to help pro se plaintiffs organize their complaint in the proper way. They are 7 available at the Clerk’s Office, 501 I Street, 4th Floor (Rm. 4-200), Sacramento, CA 95814, or 8 online at 9 A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. 10 Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). In reviewing a complaint under this standard, the 11 court will (1) accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint, unless they 12 are clearly baseless or fanciful, (2) construe those allegations in the light most favorable to the 13 plaintiff, and (3) resolve all doubts in the plaintiff’s favor. See Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327; 14 Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Von Saher v. Norton Simon Museum of Art at 15 Pasadena, 592 F.3d 954, 960 (9th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 564 U.S. 1037 (2011); Hebbe v. Pliler, 16 627 F.3d 338, 340 (9th Cir. 2010). However, the court need not accept as true, legal conclusions 17 cast in the form of factual allegations, or allegations that contradict matters properly subject to 18 judicial notice. See Western Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir. 1981); 19 Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir.), as amended, 275 F.3d 1187 20 (2001). 21 Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by lawyers. 22 Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Pro se complaints are construed liberally and may 23 only be dismissed if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support 24 of his claim which would entitle him to relief. Nordstrom v. Ryan, 762 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir. 25 2014). A pro se litigant is entitled to notice of the deficiencies in the complaint and an 26 opportunity to amend, unless the complaint’s deficiencies could not be cured by amendment. See 27 Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987). 28 //// 2 1 A. The Complaint 2 Plaintiff’s complaint does not make any clear allegations against any defendants. Under 3 the “Statement of Claim” section in the complaint form, she writes: “In one word put my life in 4 danger and I’ve been working my butt of to be a better person and for nothing they made sure of 5 that.” ECF No. 1 at 5. Under the heading “Relief,” she writes: “slander, unethical practice, 6 murder of 400, harassment, discrimination, 4 & 5 amendment right, abuse of authority, invasion 7 of privacy, preduduce slander.” Id. at 8. Plaintiff attaches two pages of handwritten text that do 8 not provide any clarity as to her claim. Id. at 9-10. 9 10 B. Analysis Plaintiff has failed to state a legal claim, and therefore her complaint must be dismissed. 11 In order to survive IFP screening, the complaint must allege facts showing that defendant engaged 12 in some conduct that the law prohibits (or failed to do something the law requires), and that in 13 doing so, defendant harmed plaintiff. 14 Plaintiff has not alleged the violation of any particular law, or made any particular 15 allegation against any defendant. It is not clear from the few factual allegations of the complaint 16 whether plaintiff could possibly state a claim that can be heard in this court, and that would entitle 17 her to relief. Plaintiff will therefore be given an opportunity to amend her complaint. 18 C. Amending the Complaint 19 The amended complaint, in addition to alleging facts establishing the existence of federal 20 jurisdiction, must contain a short and plain statement of plaintiff’s claim. The allegations of the 21 complaint must be set forth in sequentially numbered paragraphs, with each paragraph number 22 being one greater than the one before, each paragraph having its own number, and no paragraph 23 number being repeated anywhere in the complaint. Each paragraph should be limited “to a single 24 set of circumstances” where possible. Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(b). As noted above, forms are available 25 to help plaintiffs organize their complaint in the proper way. They are available at the Clerk’s 26 Office, 501 I Street, 4th Floor (Rm. 4-200), Sacramento, CA 95814, or online at 27 28 Plaintiff must avoid excessive repetition of the same allegations. Plaintiff must avoid 3 1 narrative and storytelling. That is, the complaint should not include every detail of what 2 happened, nor recount the details of conversations (unless necessary to establish the claim), nor 3 give a running account of plaintiff’s hopes and thoughts. Rather, the amended complaint should 4 contain only those facts needed to show how the defendant legally wronged the plaintiff. 5 The amended complaint must not force the court and the defendants to guess at what is 6 being alleged against whom. See McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177 (9th Cir. 1996) 7 (affirming dismissal of a complaint where the district court was “literally guessing as to what 8 facts support the legal claims being asserted against certain defendants”). The amended 9 complaint must not require the court to spend its time “preparing the ‘short and plain statement’ 10 which Rule 8 obligated plaintiffs to submit.” Id. at 1180. The amended complaint must not 11 require the court and defendants to prepare lengthy outlines “to determine who is being sued for 12 what.” Id. at 1179. 13 Also, the amended complaint must not refer to a prior pleading in order to make plaintiff’s 14 amended complaint complete. An amended complaint must be complete in itself without 15 reference to any prior pleading. Local Rule 220. This is because, as a general rule, an amended 16 complaint supersedes the original complaint. See Pacific Bell Telephone Co. v. Linkline 17 Communications, Inc., 555 U.S. 438, 456 n.4 (2009) (“[n]ormally, an amended complaint 18 supersedes the original complaint”) (citing 6 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice & 19 Procedure § 1476, pp. 556 57 (2d ed. 1990)). Therefore, in an amended complaint, as in an 20 original complaint, each claim and the involvement of each defendant must be sufficiently 21 alleged. 22 23 II. PRO SE PLAINTIFF’S SUMMARY Your complaint is being dismissed because the court cannot tell from the complaint what 24 your legal claims are. You have not clearly explained what any individual defendant did to you 25 that violated the law. If you wish, you may submit an amended complaint that contains a short 26 and plain statement of what was done to you, by whom, so that the court can determine if it can 27 hear this case. Your application to proceed in forma pauperis is being denied because the current 28 complaint cannot go forward. If you file an amended complaint, you may file a new IFP request. 4 1 III. CONCLUSION 2 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: 3 1. Plaintiff’s request to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 2) is DENIED without 4 5 prejudice, because the complaint is frivolous. 2. Plaintiff shall have 30 days from the date of this order to file an amended complaint 6 that complies with the instructions given above, along with a renewed application for IFP. 7 Alternatively, plaintiff may pay the filing fee. If plaintiff fails to timely comply with this order, 8 the undersigned may recommend that this action be dismissed. 9 DATED: June 13, 2017 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

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