Spencer v. Johanson
ORDER Granting 2 Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis; Order Denying 3 Motion for Appointment of Counsel; and Order of Dismissal. The IFP motion shows Spencer lacks the funds to pay the filing fee, and the motion is granted. The complaint is dism issed without prejudice for failure to state a claim, and for failure to invoke the Court's jurisdiction. The motion for appointment of counsel is denied as moot. Signed by Judge Larry Alan Burns on 9/11/2017. (All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(lrf) Modified on 9/12/2017 to update docket text (lrf).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
Case No.: 17cv1798-LAB (JLB)
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO
PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS;
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR
APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL;
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
Plaintiff Alonzo Spencer, proceeding pro se, filed his complaint in this case along
with a motion to proceed in forma pauperis and a motion for appointment of counsel.
The IFP motion shows Spencer lacks the funds to pay the filing fee, and the motion is
GRANTED. The motion for appointment of counsel, however, is incomplete. Spencer
used a form to prepare this motion. In the area where he was to have described his efforts
to find an attorney to represent him, Spencer has said nothing.
A complaint filed by any person seeking to proceed IFP pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a) is subject to a mandatory and sua sponte review and dismissal by the court to
the extent it is “frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a), every complaint filed in federal court must contain a
short and plain statement of the grounds for the Court’s jurisdiction, and a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. The complaint,
which is illegible in places, alleges that Spencer worked for Falkenburg/Gilliam, Inc.
Later Pier Johanson was hired. Spencer alleges that Johanson harassed him on the job.
The complaint also says Johanson “took the Plaintiff to his Kang[a]roo Court” after
which Spencer was fired. Spencer is suing Johanson only, not Falkenburg/Gilliam or
anyone else. A review of state court records shows that spencer sued Johanson in 2009
for harassment, and Falkenberg/Gilliam Associates in 2013 for wrongful termination. 1
Besides failing to state a claim, the complaint identifies no basis for the Court’s
exercise of jurisdiction in this case. Spencer’s alleged harassment by a co-worker might
be actionable in state court, but it is not actionable here. Furthermore, it appears Spencer
already brought his claims in state court, which deprives this Court of jurisdiction to hear
them, under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. See Noel v. Hall, 341 F.3d 1148, 1154–56 (9th
Even if Spencer had shown why counsel could or should be appointed, he is not
bringing any claims over which the Court can exercise jurisdiction. The complaint is
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for failure to state a claim, and for failure to
invoke the Court’s jurisdiction. The motion for appointment of counsel is DENIED AS
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: September 11, 2017
Spencer’s spelling of these parties’ names has been inconsistent, but the two state law cases appear to
involve the exact same people. In the 2009 state court proceeding, the defendant’s name is spelled both
as “Per Johnson” and “Pierce Johnson”.
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