Timmons v. Zinn

Filing 12

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS 2 REQUEST TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS. ***Civil Case Terminated.*** Signed by Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong on 4/18/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(ndr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/21/2014)

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 OAKLAND DIVISION 8 9 DANNY TIMMONS, Plaintiff, 10 vs. 11 Case No: C 14-0748 SBA ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS 12 DENNIS ZINN, Defendant. 13 14 15 Plaintiff Danny Timmons brings the instant pro se action against Defendant Dennis 16 Zinn, alleging a claim under the Supremacy Clause. This matter is presently before the 17 Court on Plaintiff’s Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”). For the reasons that 18 follow, the motion is DENIED and the action is DISMISSED under 28 U.S.C. 19 § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). 20 I. 21 BACKGROUND Plaintiff previously commenced a civil action in the Sonoma County Superior Court 22 against Defendant. See Timmons v. Zinn, No. SCV-251817.1 In connection with that 23 action, Defendant allegedly attempted to serve Plaintiff with unspecified papers while he 24 (Plaintiff) was in the Philippines. In the instant action, Plaintiff contends that Defendant’s 25 attempted service violates California law, a United States Department of State flyer and the 26 1 Though the substance of the state court action is not disclosed or apparent from the papers filed in this case, the Sonoma County Superior Court website indicates that the case 28 remains pending. 27 1 Philippine Rules of Court. Dkt. 1 at 4. Plaintiff further alleges that Sonoma County 2 Superior Court Judge Arthur Wick, relying on Defendant’s “fraudulent” proof of service, 3 improperly imposed sanctions against him. Id. at 5. As relief, Plaintiff requests that the 4 Court direct the state court judge enter a judgment against Defendant. Id. at 6. 5 II. DISCUSSION 6 A. 7 Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), federal courts are authorized to review claims filed STANDARD OF REVIEW 8 IFP prior to service and to dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that: (1) the 9 allegation of poverty is untrue; (2) the action is frivolous or malicious; (3) the action fails to 10 state a claim; or (4) the action seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from 11 such relief. A pleading filed by a pro se plaintiff must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. 12 Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). 13 To determine whether an IFP complaint passes muster under § 1915, the Court 14 applies the same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil 15 Procedure 12(b)(6). See Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998). A 16 complaint may be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim if the plaintiff 17 fails to state a cognizable legal theory, or has not alleged sufficient facts to support a 18 cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 19 1990). To survive a motion to dismiss, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, 20 accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 21 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). 22 The pleadings must “give the defendant fair notice of what ... the claim is and the grounds 23 upon which it rests.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (internal quotation marks 24 omitted). 25 B. 26 The Supremacy Clause provides that the “Constitution and the Laws of the United 27 States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof ... shall be the supreme Law of the Land; 28 and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or the ANALYSIS -2- 1 Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” U.S. Const. art VI, cl.2. “Under the 2 supremacy clause, federal law preempts state law when Congress expressly or impliedly 3 indicates an intention to displace state law, or when state law actually conflicts with federal 4 law.” Alaska Airlines, Inc. v. City of Long Beach, 951 F.2d 977, 982 (9th Cir. 1991). 5 Here, Plaintiff does not identify any state or other law that allegedly conflicts with 6 federal law. Rather, it appears that Plaintiff is complaining that the state court should not 7 have considered papers served on him in the Philippines on the ground that those papers 8 were not properly served. A federal court, however, has no jurisdiction to review state 9 court rulings. Kougasian v. TMSL, Inc., 359 F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2004) (holding that 10 the Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars federal district courts “from exercising subject matter 11 jurisdiction over a suit that is a de facto appeal from a state court judgment.”). Even if the 12 Court had jurisdiction, the Younger abstention doctrine counsels federal courts to avoid 13 interfering with ongoing state court proceeding. See Gilbertson v. Albright, 381 F.3d 965, 14 973 (9th Cir. 2004). 15 As Plaintiff has not alleged any cognizable claims against Defendant, the case must 16 be dismissed. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). In view of the underlying basis of this 17 action, the Court finds that amendment to the pleadings would futile. Leave to amend is 18 therefore denied. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000). 19 III. CONCLUSION 20 For the reasons stated above, 21 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED Plaintiff’s motion to proceed IFP is DENIED, and the 22 Complaint is DISMISSED without leave to amend. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), the 23 Court certifies that any appeal from said dismissal would not be in good faith. The 24 dismissal of the action is without prejudice to Plaintiff’s right to pursue his claims in a paid 25 complaint. The Clerk shall close the file and terminate any pending matters. 26 27 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: April 18, 2014 ______________________________ SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG United States District Judge 28 -3-

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