Leal de la Hoz v. Kleen-Tech Services Corporation

Filing 8

MINUTE ORDER directing Plaintiff to file an amended complaint no later than twenty-one (21) days from the date of this order; RENOTING plaintiff's 7 MOTION to Appoint : Noting Date 1/1/2018, authorized by U.S. District Judge John C Coughenour. (SWT) (cc: Plaintiff via USPS)

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THE HONORABLE JOHN C. COUGHENOUR 1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 7 8 9 HELIO J. LEAL DE LA HOZ, 10 11 12 Plaintiff, CASE NO. C17-1579-JCC MINUTE ORDER v. KLEEN-TECH SERVICES CORPORATION, 13 Defendant. 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 The following Minute Order is made by direction of the Court, the Honorable John C. Coughenour, United States District Judge: This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff’s motion to appoint a deputy marshal to execute service of summons and complaint on Defendant (Dkt. No. 7). On October 30, 2017, Magistrate Judge James Donohue granted Plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Dkt. No. 4). The Court has reviewed Plaintiff’s complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Plaintiff does not cite to any laws that the Defendant violated, but appears to allege that his former employer wrongfully withheld wages owed to him. (Dkt. No. 5 at 2.) He also asserts, however, that the Colorado Department of Labor investigated this issue and ultimately awarded him the unpaid wages and a monetary penalty. (Id.) Plaintiff attached documents to his complaint that show Defendant paid him the wages and monetary penalty. (Dkt. Nos. 5-3, 5-4, 5-5.) MINUTE ORDER C17-1579-JCC PAGE - 1 1 Notwithstanding the apparent administrative resolution of his claim, Plaintiff asserts that the 2 Defendant still owes him the unpaid wages because he “could have incurred in debt” an amount 3 equal to the unpaid wages “counting on his wages” being paid. (Id.) Additionally, Plaintiff 4 asserts that Defendant owes him “the value in dollars of the time spent resolving this 5 matter . . . i.e. the time spent resolving this matter as equivalent to hourly attorney fees, FRCP 6 54(d)(2)(A-C).” (Id.) Plaintiff seeks attorney fees in the amount of $472,500. (Id. at 5.) Finally, 7 Plaintiff asks the Court to impose exemplary damages totaling $100,000,000. (Id.) 8 Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss an in forma pauperis 9 complaint at any time if the action fails to state a claim, raises frivolous or malicious claims, or 10 seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. “[A] complaint must 11 contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its 12 face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 13 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that 14 allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct 15 alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. 16 Plaintiff has not alleged facts that demonstrate his claim for relief is plausible. By 17 Plaintiff’s own admission, Defendant made payments that “take care of unpaid wages and 18 penalties imposed by the Colorado Department of Labor.” (Dkt. No. 5 at 2.) Plaintiff’s claim that 19 he “could have incurred debt amounting to [the original amount owed] counting on his wages” is 20 entirely hypothetical and does not give rise to a plausible inference that Defendant is liable for 21 misconduct. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Plaintiff’s claim is also frivolous because it “lacks an 22 arguable basis in fact or law.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Plaintiff cites to no 23 law, and the Court is not aware of one, that would support his speculative claim for relief. 24 Plaintiff’s request for “the value in dollars of the time spent resolving this matter . . . i.e. 25 the time spent resolving this matter as equivalent to hourly attorney fees” is not supported by the 26 law. Unless specified by a statute, a pro se plaintiff is not entitled to an award of attorney fees. MINUTE ORDER C17-1579-JCC PAGE - 2 1 See Gonzalez v. Kangas, 814 F.2d 1411, 1411-12 (9th Cir. 1987) (collecting cases finding that a 2 pro se civil rights litigant is not entitled to attorneys' fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988). Plaintiff cites 3 no statute or precedent to suggest he is entitled to such fees. Finally, his claim for $100,000,000 4 in exemplary damages is facially frivolous. See State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Campbell, 538 5 U.S. 408, 425 (2003) (“[F]ew awards exceeding a single-digit ratio between punitive and 6 compensatory damages, to a significant degree, will satisfy due process.”) 7 Even in applying the Ninth Circuit’s directive to construe pro se complaints liberally, the 8 Court cannot find that Plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Hebbe v. 9 Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). But, the Court will not dismiss a claim unless “it is 10 absolutely clear that no amendment can cure the [complaint’s] defects.” Lucas v. Dep't of Corr., 11 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted). 12 Accordingly, the Court ORDERS that Plaintiff shall file an amended complaint no later 13 than twenty-one (21) days from the date of this order. In his amended complaint, Plaintiff must 14 include a short and plain statement demonstrating to the Court that there is a legal basis for his 15 claims against Defendant. Plaintiff shall identify what law or laws he believes Defendant has 16 violated, and how Defendant’s violation caused him to be harmed. 17 The Clerk is DIRECTED to renote Plaintiff’s motion to appoint a deputy marshal to 18 execute service of summons and complaint on Defendant (Dkt. No. 7) to January 1, 2018. The 19 Clerk is further DIRECTED to mail a copy of this order to Plaintiff at 77 S. Washington St., 20 Seattle, WA 98104. 21 DATED this 7th day of December 2017. 22 William M. McCool Clerk of Court 23 s/Tomas Hernandez Deputy Clerk 24 25 26 MINUTE ORDER C17-1579-JCC PAGE - 3

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