Marcos-Chavela v. United States Sports Teams et al

Filing 6

ORDER OF DISMISSAL. The Court DISMISSES Plaintiff's Complaint. Because Plaintiff's claims are barred by judicial immunity as to the judicial defendants, cannot be maintained against the private entities, and are frivolous, the Court DISMISSES the claims WITH PREJUDICE because amendment would be futile. Signed by Judge Marsha J. Pechman. (SB) (cc: Plaintiff via USPS)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 8 9 10 SUSAN MARCOS-CHAVELA, Plaintiff, 11 12 13 CASE NO. C22-980 MJP ORDER OF DISMISSAL v. U.S. SPORTS TEAMS, et al.,, Defendants. 14 15 16 The Court issues this Order of Dismissal after reviewing Plaintiff’s Complaint. (Dkt. No. 17 5.) Having reviewed the Complaint, the Court DISMISSES the Complaint WITH PREJUDICE 18 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) because the claims are barred by judicial immunity and 19 are frivolous and because the Complaint fails to state a claim for relief as required by Rule 8 of 20 the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 21 22 23 BACKGROUND Acting pro se, Plaintiff Susan Marcos-Chavela has filed what she purports to be a Bivens action against “Major League U.S. Sports Teams,” Starbucks, Judge Michael McShane, and 24 ORDER OF DISMISSAL - 1 1 Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Sonia Sotomayor. (Dkt. No. 5.) As best the Court can discern from 2 Plaintiff’s hand-written complaint, she complains about the display of Pride flags and 3 homosexuality which she claims has caused her to lose $1 million and other unspecified revenue, 4 and to lose both “Pride as an American” and “Pride for all Peoples.” (Dkt. No. 5 at 1-7.) Plaintiff 5 demands removal of Pride flags, and the “expulsion” of Judge McShane, Justice Kavanaugh, and 6 Justice Sotomayor. (Id. at 7-9.) ANALYSIS 7 8 9 A. Legal Standard There are certain minimum standards that apply to any complaint filed in federal district 10 court. The standards applicable to Plaintiff’s complaint are contained in Rule 8 of the Federal 11 Rules of Civil Procedure. To satisfy Rule 8, a complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter, 12 accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 13 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim 14 has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the 15 reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 16 678. “But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere 17 possibility of misconduct,” the allegations are inadequate to satisfy Rule 8. Id. at 679. And 18 “[w]here a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant’s liability, it stops 19 short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.” Twombly, 559 U.S. 20 at 557 (quotation omitted); see Adams v. Johnson, 355 F.3d 1179, 1183 (9th Cir. 2004) 21 (“[C]onclusory allegations of law and unwarranted inferences are insufficient to defeat a motion 22 to dismiss.”). 23 24 ORDER OF DISMISSAL - 2 1 When a plaintiff appears without counsel in a civil rights case, “the court must construe 2 the pleadings liberally and must afford plaintiff the benefit of any doubt.” Karim-Panahi v. Los 3 Angeles Police Dep’t, 839 F.2d 621, 624 (9th Cir. 1988). Yet this lenient standard does not 4 excuse a pro se litigant from meeting the most basic pleading requirements. See Am. Ass’n of 5 Naturopathic Physicians v. Hayhurst, 227 F.3d 1104, 1107-08 (9th Cir. 2000). 6 And because Plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed with this matter without paying 7 the filing fee, the Court is required to “dismiss the case at any time if the court determines” that 8 the action: (1) “is frivolous or malicious”; (ii) “fails to state a claim on which relief may be 9 granted” or (iii) “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 10 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Before the Court may dismiss the complaint as frivolous or for failure to 11 state a claim, it “must provide the pro se litigant with notice of the deficiencies of his or her 12 complaint and an opportunity to amend the complaint prior to dismissal.” McGucken v. Smith, 13 974 F.2d 1050, 1055 (9th Cir. 1992). Leave to amend need not be granted “where the 14 amendment would be futile or where the amended complaint would be subject to dismissal.” 15 Saul v. United States, 928 F.2d 829, 843 (9th Cir. 1991). 16 B. 17 Defects in Complaint Having reviewed Plaintiff’s Complaint, the Court finds that its claims are barred by 18 judicial immunity, do not state a claim for relief, and appear to be frivolous. The Court 19 DISMISSES the claims WITH PREJUDICE because amendment would be futile. 20 Bivens actions are the judicially-crafted counterpart to Section 1983. They enable victims 21 to sue individual federal officers for damages resulting from violations of constitutional rights. 22 Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). To state a claim under Bivens, a 23 plaintiff must allege facts showing that: (1) a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the 24 ORDER OF DISMISSAL - 3 1 United States was violated, and (2) the alleged deprivation was committed by a federal actor. 2 Van Strum v. Lawn, 940 F.2d 406, 409 (9th Cir. 1991). “Actions under § 1983 and those under 3 Bivens are identical save for the replacement of a state actor under § 1983 by a federal actor 4 under Bivens.” Id. 5 The first problem with Plaintiff’s Complaint is that its claims against Judge McShane and 6 Justices Kavanaugh and Sotomayor are barred by judicial immunity. As the Supreme Court has 7 explained: 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 this Court has consistently adhered to the rule that “judges defending against § 1983 actions enjoy absolute immunity from damages liability for acts performed in their judicial capacities. Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547 [87 S.Ct. 1213, 18 L.Ed.2d 288] (1967); Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349 [98 S.Ct. 1099, 55 L.Ed.2d 331] (1978).” Dennis v. Sparks, 449 U.S. 24, 27 (1980) (quoting Supreme Court of Virginia v. Consumers Union, 446 U.S. 719, 734–735 (1980)). From what the Court can understand from Plaintiff’s Complaint, she attacks a ruling of Judge McShane, which is a judicial act for which Judge McShane enjoys judicial immunity. (Dkt. No. 5 at 6.) Plaintiff’s claims against Justices Kavanaugh or Sotomayor are difficult to decipher, but they appear to attack actions taken in their judicial capacities. These claims are barred by judicial immunity. As such, the Court finds that the claims Judge McShane and Justices Kavanaugh and Sotomayor are barred by judicial immunity and must be DISMISSED with prejudice. Second, Plaintiff’s Bivens claims cannot be maintained against the remaining defendants because they are private entities and not federal agencies—Starbucks and U.S. Major League Sports Teams. As such, Plaintiff’s claims against them cannot be asserted under Bivens. Nor could these claims be restyled as § 1983 claims, because none of these entities is alleged to be acting under color of state law. The Court DISMISSES the claims against these Defendants. 24 ORDER OF DISMISSAL - 4 1 Third, Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to satisfy Rule 8 and its claims are frivolous. The 2 Complaint fails to allege with any clarity what rights are at issue, where the alleged wrongdoing 3 occurred, who undertook the alleged wrongdoing, how these acts harmed Plaintiff, and why she 4 is entitled to relief. Nor does the Complaint contain any allegations showing causation—how any 5 acts or omissions, policies, customs, or practices, allegedly caused a deprivation of Plaintiff’s 6 rights. And given the Court’s present understanding of the allegations in the Complaint, the 7 Court finds the claims to be frivolous. Plaintiff’s complaints about homosexuality and Pride flags 8 lack any arguable basis in law and fact. See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). 9 These are two independent bases on which the Court finds the Complaint must be DISMISSED. 10 CONCLUSION 11 Given the deficiencies described above, the Court DISMISSES Plaintiff’s Complaint. 12 Because Plaintiff’s claims are barred by judicial immunity as to the judicial defendants, cannot 13 be maintained against the private entities, and are frivolous, the Court DISMISSES the claims 14 WITH PREJUDICE because amendment would be futile. See Saul, 928 F.2d at 843; 28 U.S.C. § 15 1915(e)(2)(B). 16 The clerk is ordered to provide copies of this order to Plaintiff and all counsel. 17 Dated July 29, 2022. 18 A 19 Marsha J. Pechman United States Senior District Judge 20 21 22 23 24 ORDER OF DISMISSAL - 5

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