Martin v. Green Dot Corporation

Filing 12

ORDER DISMISSING CASE WITH PREJUDICE. Signed by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on 2/26/14. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(fs, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/26/2014)

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1 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 YOHONIA MARTIN, 4 Plaintiff, 5 6 ORDER OF DISMISSAL vs. GREEN DOT CORPORATION, 7 Defendant. 8 9 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California No. C 14-00206 YGR (PR) / INTRODUCTION Plaintiff, a state prisoner, filed a pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He 11 has also filed an application for in forma pauperis status. 12 For the reasons discussed below, the Court DISMISSES Plaintiff's claim as not cognizable 13 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 14 DISCUSSION 15 I. Legal Standard 16 A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks 17 redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. 18 § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that 19 are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seek monetary 20 relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings 21 must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988). 22 To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: 23 (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and 24 (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. 25 Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). 26 II. Legal Claim 27 Plaintiff names the following private Defendant, Green Dot Corporation, an issuer of prepaid 28 MasterCard and Visa cards in the United States. Plaintiff claims he purchased prepaid cards from 1 Defendant, but he "noticed inconsistencies in refunds documented . . . ." (Compl. at 3.) Plaintiff 2 further claims he is "due refunds to which [Defendant is] disallowing [him] back to 2004." (Id.) 3 However, this Defendant cannot be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 4 Plaintiff does not allege that Defendant was acting under color of state law. Action taken by 5 a private organization may be under color of state law "if, though only if, there is such a close nexus 6 between the State and the challenged action that seemingly private behavior may be fairly treated as 7 that of the State itself." Brentwood Academy v. Tennessee Secondary Sch. Athletic Ass'n, 531 U.S. 8 288, 295 (2001) (internal quotations omitted). The Supreme Court has found state action when a 9 challenged activity results from the State's exercise of coercive power, when the State provides United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 significant encouragement for the activity, or when a private actor operates as a willful participant in 11 joint activity with the State. See id. Here, the Court finds that Plaintiff alleges no facts suggesting 12 the conduct of Defendant could fairly be treated as conduct of the State itself. 13 Because Plaintiff's allegations against Defendant involve purely private conduct, they do not 14 meet the standards for cognizable claims under section 1983.1 See id. 15 CONCLUSION 16 For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's claim against Defendant is not cognizable and is 17 DISMISSED with prejudice. The Clerk of the Court shall enter judgment in accordance with this 18 Order, terminate all pending motions, and close the file. 19 IT IS SO ORDERED. 20 DATED: February 26, 2014 YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 1 28 Nor may Plaintiff establish subject matter jurisdiction on the basis of diversity of citizenship since he fails to allege that he meets the minimum amount in controversy requirement. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332. P:\PRO-SE\YGR\CR.14\Martin0206.dismiss(private).wpd 2

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