Frost v. Steyer et al

Filing 40

ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1915, WITHOUT FURTHER LEAVE TO AMEND. Re: Dkt. Nos. 34 39 . Signed by Judge Nathanael Cousins on 5/15/2017. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(lmh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/15/2017)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 10 VINTON P. FROST, Plaintiff, United States District Court Northern District of California 11 v. 12 13 ROBIN VASAN, and others, Defendants. 14 Case No. 16-cv-05883 NC ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1915, WITHOUT FURTHER LEAVE TO AMEND Re: Dkt. Nos. 34, 39 15 16 This order is the Court’s screening review of Vinton Frost’s First Amended 17 Complaint, filed April 3, 2017. As explained below, the Court dismisses the First 18 Amended Complaint with prejudice and without leave to amend, finding that the complaint 19 is factually frivolous and fails to state a claim. Further attempted amendment would be 20 futile. 21 I. Procedural Background 22 Frost is representing himself “pro se” without an attorney. The Court previously 23 found that he could not afford to pay the Court’s filing fees. Dkt. No. 8. Frost consented 24 to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Dkt. No. 6. 25 Frost’s original complaint charged twelve individual defendants, a United States 26 Senator, a university, two corporate entities, and additional unspecified defendants that 27 allegedly conspired with a secret elite group of businessmen and the CIA to torment Frost 28 since 2003. Dkt. No. 1. The Court dismissed Frost’s original complaint, finding it to be Case No. 16-cv-05883 NC 1 factually frivolous; failing to state a claim for relief; and failing to satisfy the procedural 2 rules of pleading. Dkt. No. 8. Despite dismissing the complaint, the Court permitted Frost 3 leave to amend his complaint if he could cure the deficiencies in his initial complaint. Dkt. 4 No. 8. 5 Upon Frost’s motions, the Court twice extended the deadline for him to file an 6 amended complaint. Dkt. Nos. 11, 22. Frost, seeking to stay the case, appealed to the 7 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but that court determined that it lacked jurisdiction to 8 review a non-final order. Dkt. No. 38. Ultimately, Frost timely filed his First Amended 9 Complaint. Dkt. No. 34. II. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 Legal Standard This order is the Court’s second screening review for civil actions filed in forma 12 pauperis (IFP) under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Having previously found the initial 13 complaint to be factually frivolous and legally deficient, this order assesses whether the 14 First Amended Complaint cures the shortcomings. 15 Pleadings by litigants representing themselves must be liberally construed. 16 Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Furthermore, “the rule favoring liberality in 17 amendments to pleadings is particularly important for the pro se litigant.” Lopez v. Smith, 18 203 F.3d 1122, 1131 (9th Cir. 2000). 19 A complaint filed by any person proceeding in forma pauperis (IFP) is subject to a 20 mandatory and sua sponte review and dismissal by the Court if the complaint is frivolous, 21 malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief 22 from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); Lopez, 203 23 F.3d at 1126-27. A complaint is “frivolous” if it “lacks an arguable basis either in law or 24 in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989). A complaint may be dismissed as 25 “factually frivolous” only if the facts alleged are “clearly baseless,” which encompasses 26 allegations that are fanciful, fantastic and delusional. Denton v. Hernandez, 112 S. Ct. 27 1728, 1733 (1992). 28 The IFP statute “accords judges not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on Case No. 16-cv-05883 NC 2 1 an indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the 2 complaint’s factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are 3 clearly baseless.” Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. Examples of such claims include fantastic or 4 delusional scenarios. Id. at 328; see Suess v. Obama, 2017 WL 1371289, at *2 (C.D. Cal. 5 Mar. 10, 2017) (dismissing complaint alleging conspiracy among President, CIA, and FBI 6 to torment plaintiff over six year period); O’Diah v. State of Cal. Workers’ Comp. Bd., 7 1993 WL 219323, at *2 (N.D. Cal. May 12, 1993) (dismissing complaint alleging 8 conspiracy among federal and state judges and their law clerks); Sierra v. Moon, 2012 WL 9 423483, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 8, 2012) (dismissing as factually frivolous an alleged conspiracy by defendants with ex-military and CIA to defraud plaintiffs’ interests and 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 murder him); Demos v. United States, 2010 WL 4007527, at *2 (D. Ore. Oct. 8, 2010) 12 (dismissing complaint that alleged plaintiff was captured by pirates disguised as law 13 enforcement officers); Reid v. Mabus, 2015 WL 9855875, at *1 (D. Ore. Nov. 16, 2015) 14 (dismissing complaint alleging a massive conspiracy targeting 300,000 individuals with 15 “electronic harassment”). 16 III. Analysis 17 Frost’s First Amended Complaint reduces the number of defendants and the 18 complexity of the narrative as compared to the original complaint. Frost alleges that 19 Stanford University, the city of Palo Alto, the Palo Alto Police Department, and two 20 individuals who are executives with Silicon Valley finance businesses conspired against 21 him in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. 22 As a starting point, that statute is a criminal statute providing for punishment of 23 conspiracies by two or more persons to “commit any offense against the United States, or 24 to defraud the United States.” The criminal statute, however, does not create a civil private 25 right of action. Willing v. Lake Orion Community Schools Bd. of Trustees, 924 F. Supp. 26 815 (E.D. Mich. 1996); Lamont v. Haig, 539 F. Supp. 552, 558 (D. S. Dakota 1982); 27 Fiorino v. Turner, 476 F. Supp. 962, 963 (D. Mass. 1979). In any case, Frost does not 28 allege that defendants have committed an offense against or defrauded the United States. Case No. 16-cv-05883 NC 3 1 The gist of his complaint seems to be that defendants have conspired against him. 2 The core problem with the First Amended Complaint, just like the original 3 complaint, is that the factual allegations appear to be frivolous. Frost believes that there is 4 a vast conspiracy of businesses, universities, police, governments, and government 5 agencies against him.1 He asserts the conspirators drugged him, surveilled him, and stole 6 his medical files. Frost demands $200 million in compensatory damages. Dkt. No. 34. I am sympathetic to the trauma described by Frost in both of his complaints. But I 7 8 find that the scenario he has described is the same type of fantastic and baseless allegations 9 dismissed by other courts. See Neitzke, Suess, O’Diah, Sierra, Demos, and Reid, cited 10 above. Finally, on May 12, 2017, Frost filed a motion asking for leave to file a United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 supplemental pleading. Dkt. No. 39. The Court has considered that request. First, Frost 13 wishes to remove Stanford University as a defendant and replace it with the Board of 14 Trustees of Stanford University. The motion does not describe the factual basis for the 15 request. Second, Frost states he wishes to add a claim under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 16 “on the basis of de novo exclusion of rights protections as ‘federally homeless’ . . .” These 17 proposed amendments confirm the Court’s assessment that further amendment would be 18 futile. 19 IV. Conclusion 20 “When a case may be classified as frivolous or malicious, there is, by definition, no 21 merit to the underlying action and so no reason to grant leave to amend. Lopez, 203 F.3d 22 at 1127 n.8. Accordingly, the Court dismisses Frost’s amended complaint with prejudice 23 and without leave to amend. Silva v. Di Vittorio, 658 F.3d 1090, 1106 (9th Cir. 2011) 24 (affirming dismissal of RICO claim with prejudice and without leave to amend because it 25 failed to state a claim and was frivolous), overruled on other grounds as stated by Richey 26 v. Dahne, 807 F.3d 1202, 1209 n.6 (9th Cir. 2015); Cahill v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 27 28 1 The Court takes notice of the pleadings filed by Frost in subsequent civil cases filed in this District: 17-cv-1239 JCS; 17-cv-1240 JCS; 17-cv-1308 LB; and 17-cv-1587 LB. Case No. 16-cv-05883 NC 4 1 336, 339 (9th Cir. 1996) (leave to amend may be denied where further amendment would 2 be futile). The Court will enter final judgment and terminate this case. 3 4 IT IS SO ORDERED. 5 6 Dated: May 15, 2017 7 _____________________________________ NATHANAEL M. COUSINS United States Magistrate Judge 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Case No. 16-cv-05883 NC 5

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