Harbord v. Bean et al

Filing 31

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS ; granting in part and denying in part defendant's 8 Motion to Remand ; vacating Court's 6 Order to Show Cause ; denying as moot Plaintiff's 15 Motion to Strike Affirmative Defense, 22 Motion to add defendants, and 24 Second Motion to Strike, by Judge Robert S. Lasnik. (Ken Burnes, Daniel Hurley, Mike LaGrange, Safeway Inc, Matthew Bean and Sue Bonnett terminated.) (SWT) (cc Plaintiff via USPS)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 7 8 9 HATSUYO HARBORD, Plaintiff, 10 No. C17-349RSL v. 11 12 MATTHEW BEAN, et al., Defendants. 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS This matter comes before the Court on the motion to remand or dismiss of defendants Safeway, Inc., Mike Lagrange, Sue Bonnett, Ken Barnes, and Daniel P. Hurley (the “Safeway Defendants”). Dkt. # 8. Proceeding pro se, plaintiff filed a complaint alleging various tort causes of action arising from an earlier employment discrimination lawsuit that plaintiff filed several years ago. Dkt. # 1. Specifically, plaintiff sues her former attorney, the opposing party’s attorney, and various defendants from that earlier case for “fraud, mistake, conditions precedent, official documents, special damage.” Plaintiff’s complaint also alleges discrimination by a number of Washington State Supreme Court clerks, apparently due to their failure to print certain documents.1 The Court, having reviewed the record as a whole under the standards articulated in 28 24 25 26 1 Plaintiff did not initially name those court clerks as defendants, but has since requested leave to add them as defendants. See Dkt. ## 1, 22. 27 28 ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS - 1 1 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and having construed the allegations of the complaint liberally, see 2 Bernhardt v. Los Angeles County, 339 F.3d 920, 925 (9th Cir. 2003), found that plaintiff’s 3 complaint was deficient because it did not contain allegations sufficient to establish federal 4 subject-matter jurisdiction over this case. Accordingly, the Court ordered plaintiff to file an 5 amended complaint within 28 days, remedying the jurisdictional deficiencies that the Court had 6 identified. See Dkt. # 5. To date, though plaintiff has not filed an amended complaint, she has 7 filed numerous other documents elaborating on her claims against the various defendants. See 8 Dkt. ## 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 28, 29, 30. 9 Meanwhile, the Safeway Defendants filed the motion now before the Court, categorizing 10 plaintiff’s complaint as an attempt at removal and asking the Court to remand the case to King 11 County Superior Court, or in the alternative to dismiss the case with prejudice. Dkt. # 8. Citing 12 plaintiff’s history of filing frivolous claims and appeals in Washington state courts and the 13 volume of filings in this case, the Safeway Defendants ask the Court to award attorney’s fees 14 and to enjoin plaintiff from filing any further actions against the Safeway Defendants without 15 prior approval of the Court. Dkt. # 8 at 10. 16 Though it does appear that plaintiff intended to “remove” her state case to federal district 17 court, see Dkt. # 24, as plaintiff in that case, she lacked the power to do so. See 28 U.S.C. 18 § 1441(a) (providing that a civil action brought in a state court may be removed “by the 19 defendant or the defendants”). Plaintiff initiated a new case in federal court by filing her 20 complaint here, see Dkt. # 1, and this Court lacks the authority to remand a case that originated 21 in federal court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447. Accordingly, the Court declines the Safeway 22 Defendants’ invitation to remand. 23 Instead, the Court concludes that plaintiff’s claims against the Safeway Defendants 24 should be dismissed with prejudice for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. When filing this case 25 in federal court, plaintiff asserted federal diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). See 26 Dkt. # 1-1. As plaintiff’s claims against the Safeway Defendants are all state-law claims, this is 27 28 ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS - 2 1 the only jurisdictional ground available to her. For this Court to exercise diversity jurisdiction, 2 however, the parties must be citizens of different states and the amount in controversy must 3 exceed $75,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) (establishing that the federal court’s basic diversity 4 jurisdiction extends to “all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds . . . $75,000 . . . 5 and is between . . . citizens of different States”). The Safeway Defendants assert, and plaintiff 6 does not dispute, that complete diversity does not exist between plaintiff and the Safeway 7 Defendants. See Dkt. # 1-1. Neither does the Court have jurisdiction over plaintiff’s claims 8 against her former attorney, Matthew Bean. Id. Accordingly, this Court lacks jurisdiction over 9 the claims against the Safeway Defendants and Mr. Bean, and they must be dismissed with 10 11 prejudice. Plaintiff’s claims against the Washington state supreme court clerks are dismissed without 12 prejudice. While plaintiff’s complaint fails to allege facts supporting a plausible Constitutional 13 claim against those individuals, see Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), this 14 Court would have federal question jurisdiction over those claims were they sufficiently pled. 15 See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Accordingly, those claims are dismissed without prejudice. 16 The Court declines to award the Safeway Defendants their attorney’s fees and costs. 17 Because the Court declines to treat plaintiff’s complaint as a removal, fees under 28 U.S.C. 18 § 1447(c) are not appropriate. Neither will the Court enjoin plaintiff from filing further actions 19 against the Safeway Defendants without a showing of merit. While plaintiff’s filings in this case 20 are certainly plentiful, they do not warrant an order limiting plaintiff’s access to this federal 21 forum at this time. 22 23 For the foregoing reasons, defendants’ motion (Dkt. # 8) is DENIED in part and 24 GRANTED in part. Plaintiff’s claims against defendants Safeway Inc., Mike Lagrange, Sue 25 Bonnett, Ken Barnes, Daniel P. Hurley, and Matthew Bean are dismissed with prejudice. 26 Plaintiff’s other claims are dismissed without prejudice. The Court’s order to show cause (Dkt. 27 28 ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS - 3 1 # 6) is hereby VACATED. Plaintiff’s “motion to strike affirmative defense” (Dkt. # 15), motion 2 to add defendants (Dkt. # 22), and second motion to strike (Dkt. # 24) are DENIED as moot. 3 The Clerk of Court is directed to enter judgment against plaintiff and in favor of defendants 4 Safeway Inc., Mike Lagrange, Sue Bonnett, Ken Barnes, Daniel P. Hurley, and Matthew Bean. 5 6 SO ORDERED this 15th day of May, 2017. 7 A 8 Robert S. Lasnik United States District Judge 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS - 4

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