Branch v. United States of America

Filing 11

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND. Signed by Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley on 10/17/2016. (ahm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/17/2016)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 CLARENCE A. BRANCH, Plaintiff, 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Case No. 16-cv-03811-JSC v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND Defendant. 12 13 Plaintiff Clarence A. Branch, proceeding pro se, brings this action against the United 14 States of America. The Court previously granted Plaintiff’s application to proceed in forma 15 pauperis and reserved to a later time evaluation of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. (Dkt. 16 No. 3.) The Court thereafter issued an Order to Show Cause because mail sent to Plaintiff at his 17 last known address had been returned as undeliverable. (Dkt. No. 8.) Plaintiff has since 18 responded to the Order to Show Cause, provided his new address, and consented to the 19 jurisdiction of the undersigned magistrate judge. (Dkt. No. 10.) As discussed below, having 20 now conducted review of the Complaint pursuant to Section 1915, the Court DISMISSES 21 Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. 22 23 DISCUSSION Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the Court has a continuing duty to dismiss any case in which a 24 party is proceeding in forma pauperis if the Court determines that the action is (1) frivolous or 25 malicious; (2) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief 26 against a defendant who is immune from such relief. § 1915(e)(2); see also Neitzke v. Williams, 27 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989) (“[A] complaint, containing as it does both factual allegations and legal 28 conclusions, is frivolous where it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.”). Upon 1 dismissal, pro se plaintiffs proceeding in forma pauperis must be given leave to “amend their 2 complaint unless it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by 3 amendment.” Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1235 n.9 (9th Cir. 1984) (internal citations and 4 quotation marks omitted); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130-31 (9th Cir. 2000); Balistreri v. 5 Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 701 (9th Cir. 1988); Breier v. N. Cal. Bowling Proprietors’ 6 Ass’n, 316 F.2d 787, 790 (9th Cir. 1963). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), “[a] pleading that states a claim for relief 7 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 must contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” This rule “require[s] that the pleading ... give[ ] the opposing party fair notice of the nature and basis or grounds of the claim and a general indication of the type of litigation involved.” Immigrant Assistance Project of Los Angeles Cnty. Fed’n of Labor (AFL-CIO) v. I.N.S., 306 F.3d 842, 865 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting 5 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1215 (2d ed. 1990)). “[A]lthough pro se pleadings are construed liberally, even pro se pleadings must meet some minimum threshold in providing a defendant with notice of what it is that it allegedly did wrong.” Doe v. Fed. Dist. Court, 467 F. App’x 725, 727 (9th Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks omitted). The nature of Plaintiff’s action here is unclear. Although he has captioned the complaint 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 “unlawful detainer” which is typically used to refer to a dispute over leased property rights, he has not identified any dispute regarding real property. In fact, the complaint contains no discussion of the nature of Plaintiff’s legal claim, and instead, contains the cover page captioned “unlawful detainer,” a certificate of service, and an “Appendix” to which several citations and an order from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia are attached. (Dkt. No. 1 at 7. 1) The citations are from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and the Los Angeles Police Department. (Id. at 4-6, 8.) Plaintiff’s civil cover sheet indicates that the “Nature of Suit” of “Civil Detainee-Conditions of Confinement” and states that he is suing under “18 USCS Appx. ART1 Title 18 Rule 60” and seeks $100,000,000.00 (Id. at 1-1.) However, this is not a valid 27 1 28 Record citations are to material in the Electronic Case File (“ECF”); pinpoint citations are to the ECF-generated page numbers at the top of the documents. 2 1 citation to the United States Code and Plaintiff’s address does not suggest that he is a civil 2 detainee. 3 The Court cannot discern the nature of Plaintiff’s legal claims from this filing. Because 4 the filing presents “no cognizable legal theory [and] an absence of sufficient facts alleged to 5 support a cognizable legal theory,” the Complaint is dismissed for failure to state a claim. Shroyer 6 v. New Cingular Wireless Servs., Inc., 622 F.3d 1035, 1041 (9th Cir. 2010) CONCLUSION 7 8 9 For the reasons stated above, the Complaint is DISMISSED for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff shall file an amended complaint by November 14, 2016. Plaintiff is warned that if he fails to file an amended complaint by this date, this action will be dismissed. Any amended 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 complaint shall specify the basis for his legal claim(s) and the facts which support his claim(s). 12 As Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court directs his attention to the Handbook for Pro Se 13 Litigants, which is available along with further information for the parties on the Court’s website 14 located at Plaintiff may also contact the Legal Help 15 Center, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, 15th Floor, Room 2796, Telephone No. (415)-782-8982, for 16 free assistance regarding his claims. 17 18 19 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: October 17, 2016 20 21 JACQUELINE SCOTT CORLEY United States Magistrate Judge 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 CLARENCE A. BRANCH, Case No. 16-cv-03811-JSC Plaintiff, 8 v. CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE 9 10 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 I, the undersigned, hereby certify that I am an employee in the Office of the Clerk, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. That on October 17, 2016, I SERVED a true and correct copy(ies) of the attached, by placing said copy(ies) in a postage paid envelope addressed to the person(s) hereinafter listed, by depositing said envelope in the U.S. Mail, or by placing said copy(ies) into an inter-office delivery receptacle located in the Clerk's office. 18 19 20 Clarence A. Branch 391 Ellis Street General Delivery San Francisco, CA 94102 21 22 23 Dated: October 17, 2016 24 25 Susan Y. Soong Clerk, United States District Court 26 27 28 By:________________________ Ada Means, Deputy Clerk to the Honorable JACQUELINE SCOTT CORLEY 4

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?