Castaneda v. Swanson & Youngdale et al
ORDER dismissing remainder of this action as it pertains to Swanson & Youngdale without prejudice. By Magistrate Judge Charles S. Miller, Jr. (BG) Distributed on 2/1/2017 (rh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NORTH DAKOTA
Jose R. Salazar Castaneda,
Swanson & Youngdale, et. al.,
Case No. 1:16-cv-337
The plaintiff, Jose R. Salazar Castaneda ("Castaneda"), initiated the above-entitled action
pro se and in forma pauperis on September 19, 2016.1 The court conducted a pre-service review
of Castaneda’s complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Thereafter, on November 17, 2016,
the court issued an order to show cause why it should not dismiss Castaneda’s complaint for failing
to allege a basis for this court’s jurisdiction.
On December 12, 2016, Castaneda filed a response to the court’s order to show cause in
which he agreed to the dismissal of his claims Job Service North Dakota but objected to the
dismissal of his discrimination claim against his former employer, Swanson & Youngdale.
On December 21, 2016, the court issued an order that provided in relevant part the following:
There being no objection from Castaneda, his claims against Job Service
North Dakota are DISMISSED. The court next turns to Castaneda’s statements
regarding Swanson & Youngdale.
Put bluntly, the court did not discern a claim of employment discrimination
when conducting its pre-service review of the pleadings in this case. And for good
reason. The central focus of Castaneda’s complaint and the attachments was on the
issue of employment insurance benefits and his claimed entitlement to them. His
complaint made no mention of employment discrimination other than a fleeting
On October 4, 2016, Castaneda filed notice of his consent to the undersigned’s exercise of jurisdiction over
this matter. (Docket No. 7).
reference in his prayer for relief for alleged “sexual harassment [he] was put through
at the oil field with co-workers.” (Docket No. 5).
When determining whether the complaint states a claim, the court must look
to Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), which requires only "a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544 (2007). Also, the court must consider the Supreme Court's admonition
that pro se complaints are to be "liberally construed" and "held to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89 (2007) (per curiam). While these pleadings requirements are minimal and do not
require a detailed recitation of the facts, even a pro se litigant must state enough in
terms of the facts and grounds for relief to give the defendant fair notice of what the
claim is and to indicate that the right to relief is at least plausible, even if the chances
for success are remote. Id.; see also Hughes v. Banks, 290 Fed. App’x 960 (8th
Cir.2008) (stating that even a pro se complaint must allege sufficient facts to support
claims advanced); Carter v. Hassel, 316 Fed. App’x 525 (8th Cir. 2008) (allegations
insufficient to describe the violation of a constitutional right with respect to certain
of the claims); Kozikowski v. C.I.R., 258 Fed. App’x 60 (2007) (unpublished per
curiam) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 for the proposition that
a complaint must plead enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible and
dismissing a pro se complaint).
In construing the complaint, the court must weigh all factual allegations in
the plaintiff’s favor, unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31-33 (1992) (court may disregard factual allegations that
are clearly baseless, fanciful, fantastic, or delusional); Martinez v. Turner, 977 F.2d
421, 423 (8th Cir. 1992) (citing Nietske v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989), for
the proposition that a complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in fact or is
based on an indisputable meritless legal theory). Just because a plaintiff is
proceeding pro se, does not mean that the court is required to ignore facts pled in the
complaint when they undermine the plaintiff's claim. The court may accept as true
all facts pled in the complaint and conclude from them that there is no claim stated
as a matter of law. E.g., Edwards v. Snyder, 478 F.3d at 830; Thompson v. Ill. Dep’tt
of Prof’l Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753-754 (7th Cir. 2002) (citing other cases).
In this case, Castaneda’s stray, conclusory reference to sexual harassment is
insufficient to state a claim for relief under the pleading requirements set forth above.
Before taking action, the court shall afford Castaneda the opportunity file an
amended complaint setting forth in detail the basis for his employment
discrimination claim Accordingly, Castaneda is granted leave to file an amended
complaint. Castaneda shall have until January 13, 2017, to file an amended complaint
that sets forth in his claim(s) against Swanson & Youngdale. Any amended
complaint filed by Castaneda will be subject to a pre-service screening upon receipt.
(Docket No. 11).
Castaneda’s deadline for filing an amended complaint has lapsed. Notably, he has neither
filed an amended complaint addressing the pleading deficiencies identified by the court nor
otherwise requested additional time to do so. Thus, the operative pleading in this case is the
complaint originally filed by Castaneda, which the court previously concluded failed to set forth a
cognizable claim against Swanson & Youngdale. Accordingly, the court DISMISSES the
remainder of this action as it pertains to Swanson & Youngdale WITHOUT PREJUDICE pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated this 1st day of February, 2017.
/s/ Charles S. Miller, Jr.
Charles S. Miller, Jr., Magistrate Judge
United States District Court
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