Elwell v. District of Maine Court et al

Filing 3

ORDER: Dismissing Civil Action as Frivolous and for Failing to State a Claim Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). Signed by Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo on 11/19/2021. (All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(anh)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA CHARLES ELWELL, Case No.: 21-cv-1944-CAB-MDD Plaintiff, 10 11 v. 12 ORDER DISMISSING CIVIL ACTION AS FRIVOLOUS AND FOR FAILING TO STATE A CLAIM PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii) DISTRICT OF MAINE COURT, SOUTH PORTLAND POLICE, et al. 13 Defendants. 14 15 On November 15, 2021, Plaintiff filed a pro se complaint listing “All” as the 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 defendant in the caption and stating in the text that he “would like to sue 7 officers of the Maine State Police, The DA who emailed me, alot [sic] of South Portland Police officers, South Portland city Council, Boston Police, State of Massachusetts, DCF of Mass, the FBI in Washington, State of Maine, Cumberland County courts in Maine, and Suffolk, and Worcester county courts in Mass.” [Doc. No. 1 at 3.] Plaintiff did not prepay the civil filing fees required by 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a) at the time of filing; instead, he has filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). [Doc. No. 2.] I. Screening Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) A complaint filed by any person seeking to proceed IFP pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) is subject to sua sponte dismissal if it “(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief from a defendant 1 21-cv-1944-CAB-MDD 1 who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); Calhoun v. Stahl, 254 F.3d 2 845, 845 (9th Cir. 2001) (“[T]he provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) are not limited 3 to prisoners.”); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (“[S]ection 4 1915(e) not only permits, but requires a district court to dismiss an in forma pauperis 5 complaint that fails to state a claim.”). Congress enacted this safeguard because “a litigant 6 whose filing fees and court costs are assumed by the public, unlike a paying litigant, lacks 7 an economic incentive to refrain from filing frivolous, malicious, or repetitive lawsuits.” 8 Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992) (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 9 324 (1989)). 10 Complaints must also comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, which requires 11 that each pleading include a “short and plain statement of the claim,” FED. R. CIV. P. 12 8(a)(2), and that each allegation “be simple, concise, and direct.” FED. R. CIV. P. 8(d)(1). 13 See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009). In addition to the grounds for sua 14 sponte dismissal set out in § 1915(e)(2)(B), the district court may also dismiss a complaint 15 for failure to comply with Rule 8 if it fails to provide the defendant fair notice of the wrongs 16 allegedly committed. See Cafasso, U.S. ex rel. v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 F.3d 17 1047, 1059 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing cases upholding Rule 8 dismissals where pleadings were 18 “verbose,” “confusing,” “distracting, ambiguous, and unintelligible,” “highly repetitious,” 19 and comprised of “incomprehensible rambling”). 20 Here, Plaintiff’s complaint fails to comply with Rule 8 and fails to state a claim upon 21 which relief can be granted. The complaint appears to arise out of Plaintiff’s belief that he 22 was falsely arrested in Maine and/or Massachusetts and mistreated by various government 23 entities and officials in those states. The complaint, however, is largely incomprehensible 24 and rambling, does not provide a plain statement of a claim, and alleges few facts. 25 Moreover, the only thing that is clear from the complaint is that it concerns events in Maine 26 and Massachusetts that have no relation to this district, and that it purports to be against 27 only citizens or governmental entities in Maine and Massachusetts over whom courts in 28 California do not have personal jurisdiction, and many of whom likely qualify for some 2 21-cv-1944-CAB-MDD 1 sort of immunity from suit. Indeed, the complaint even refers to Plaintiff’s civil suits 2 against these defendants in Maine or Massachusetts courts, which is where Plaintiff’s 3 claims belong. In sum, the complaint is frivolous and fails to state a claim, and even if it 4 did state a claim, the complaint would be subject to dismissal or transfer for improper venue 5 and lack of personal jurisdiction over the defendants. 6 Accordingly, even if Plaintiff is entitled to proceed IFP, the complaint must be 7 dismissed as frivolous. Anderson v. Sy, 486 Fed. Appx. 644 (9th Cir. 2012) (“The district 8 court properly dismissed [the lawsuit] as frivolous because the complaint contains 9 indecipherable facts and unsupported legal assertions.”); Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 10 1103, 1105 (9th Cir. 1995) (“There is no abuse of discretion where a district court dismisses 11 under § 1915(d) a complaint “that merely repeats pending or previously litigated claims.”). 12 Moreover, “[w]hen a case may be classified as frivolous or malicious, there is, by 13 definition, no merit to the underlying action and so no reason to grant leave to amend.” 14 Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1128, n.8. 15 II. 16 For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED as follows: 17 1. The complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice to refiling in the appropriate 18 Conclusion court; 19 2. Plaintiff’s Application to Proceed IFP [Doc. No. 2] is DENIED AS MOOT; 20 3. The Court CERTIFIES that an IFP appeal from this order would be frivolous 21 and therefore would not be taken in good faith pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 22 1915(a)(3); and 23 4. The Clerk of Court shall CLOSE this case. 24 It is SO ORDERED. 25 Dated: November 19, 2021 26 27 28 3 21-cv-1944-CAB-MDD

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