Rodriguez et al v. San Diego Police Department et al

Filing 4

ORDER granting 2 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis, denying 3 Motion to Appoint Counsel. The complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. No later than January 10, 2017, Plaintiffs may file an amended complaint that corrects all the problems this order has identified. Signed by Judge Larry Alan Burns on 12/16/16. (All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(kas)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 MARCOS RODRIGUEZ, et al., 12 CASE NO. 16cv3019-LAB (NLS) Plaintiffs, ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS; vs. 13 14 15 ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL; AND SAN DIEGO POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., ORDER OF DISMISSAL Defendants. 16 17 18 19 20 Plaintiffs filed a hand-written complaint bringing numerous claims, along with a motion to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) and a motion for appointment of counsel. The Court has reviewed the motion to proceed IFP and is satisfied Plaintiffs meet the 21 standard. The motion is therefore GRANTED. In Marcos Rodriguez’s motion for 22 appointment of counsel, the sole reason why Mr. Rodriguez believes he is entitled to 23 appointment of counsel is his poverty. The motion does not mention any attorneys or legal 24 organizations he contacted about providing low-cost or pro bono legal services, nor does it 25 mention the possibility of a contingency fee arrangement. Instead, he apparently concluded 26 no one would take his case because of his poverty and did not inquire further. 27 Plaintiffs in civil cases have no right to appointment of counsel. Under exceptional 28 circumstances, the Court may request counsel to represent indigent civil litigants. See -1- 16cv3019 1 Palmer v. Valdez, 560 F.3d 965, 970 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1)). Here, 2 Mr. Rodriguez has not looked for counsel who might be willing to take his case, and has not 3 given a good explanation why he has not. Because no extraordinary circumstances are 4 present here, the motion is DENIED. 5 The Court will be required to screen the complaint of a plaintiff proceeding IFP, and 6 to dismiss it to the extent it fails to state a claim. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); Lopez v. 7 Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). Here, the complaint seems to be 8 bringing a laundry list of claims. Although the caption names two other Plaintiffs, it is written 9 entirely from Mr. Rodriguez’s perspective and signed only by him. His claims, in summary 10 11 12 are: 1. Twenty years ago someone tried to kill his baby. Someone in the Las Vegas Metropolice force apparently was involved in some way. 2. He was “stacked”1 by the police and gang members. 13 14 3. His neighbor who lives downstairs, and his friends, are irradiating him with “WiFi Science”. 15 4. He wants to bring all these people to court to investigate the truth. 16 5. He wants to find records concerning his wife’s participation in a murder in Las Vegas. 17 6. He wants to protect his daughter. 18 19 The complaint falls far short of the standard set forth in Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a), which 20 requires a short and plain statement of his claim, showing that he is entitled to relief, as well 21 as a short and plain statement of the grounds for the Court’s jurisdiction. In addition, the 20- 22 year-old claim arising from an alleged attempted murder appears to be time-barred. 23 The Court does not appear to have jurisdiction over these claims. The parties are not 24 diverse, so diversity jurisdiction is out of the question. Except for the unclear claim based 25 on police “stacking” him, none of the claims appear to arise under federal law. No basis for 26 27 28 1 The briefing uses this term more than once, so it does not appear to be a misspelling of “stalking” or some other word. But its meaning is unclear here. “Stacking” can refer to making gang-related hand signs, but why police would be doing that to him, and what claim it gives rise to are never explained. -2- 16cv3019 1 this Court’s exercise of jurisdiction appears in the complaint. It may be that Plaintiffs have 2 some kind of claim that can be raised in state court, but the complaint does not show why 3 this Court can exercise jurisdiction over these claims. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(1). 4 The caption does not comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(a). It lists three Plaintiffs and no 5 Defendants. On the civil cover sheet, Rodriguez lists the San Diego Police Department, Sgt. 6 David Felkins, Chief of Police Shelly Zimmerman, and the “Sherif[f] of Metro Las Vegas, 7 Nev. & Officers” as Defendants. None of these Defendants’ connection with his claims is 8 ever explained. 9 The complaint should have been signed by all three Plaintiffs. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10 11(a). An unsigned pleading must be stricken unless the omission is promptly corrected. 11 Id. 12 13 Finally, the handwritten complaint is barely legible, and does not comply with the Civil Local Rule 5.1(a). 14 The complaint is therefore DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. No later than 15 January 10, 2017, Plaintiffs may file an amended complaint that corrects all the problems 16 this order has identified. If they do not do this within the time permitted, or if their amended 17 complaint does not correct the problems this order has identified, the case will be dismissed 18 without leave to amend. 19 20 21 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. DATED: December 16, 2016 23 24 HONORABLE LARRY ALAN BURNS United States District Judge 25 26 27 28 -3- 16cv3019

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?