Hartford v. City of Elma

Filing 30

ORDER granting 24 City of Elma's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim; denying 27 Plaintiff's Motion for Extension of Time and Oral Argument; Defendant City of Elma (ONLY) is DISMISSED from this case with prejudice and without leave to amend; signed by Judge Ronald B. Leighton.(DN) Modified on 1/25/2017 (DN). (cc to pltf) Modified on 1/25/2017 (DN).

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1 HONORABLE RONALD B. LEIGHTON 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 7 8 IRA HARTFORD, CASE NO. C15-5927RBL 9 Plaintiff, 10 ORDER GRATING MOTION TO DISMISS v. 11 THE CITY OF ELMA, et al., 12 Defendant. 13 14 THIS MATTER is before the Court on the City of Elma’s Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. #24] 15 and pro se Plaintiff Hartford’s responsive Motion for Extension and for Oral Argument. [Dkt. 16 #27]. Hartford repeatedly attempted to obtain in forma pauperis status, and each was rejected 17 [Dkt. #s 6, 8, and 10]. He ultimately paid the filing fee rather than seek in forma pauperis status 18 based on his most recent amended complaint. As the Court explained in each of its Orders, 19 Hartford was unable to articulate a plausible, viable claim against any defendant—it remains 20 unusually difficult to understand what he is complaining about. 21 This is the gist of the City’s Motion. It argues that none of Hartford’s various complaints 22 (the City counts seven total; the most recent appears to be Dkt. #23) articulates any facts or 23 claims against the City. Instead, they focus on the alleged misdeeds of Hartford’s prior attorney. 24 ORDER GRATING MOTION TO DISMISS - 1 1 The City argues that most of the amended complaints are improper, having been filed after it 2 Answered, but that none articulates a plausible claim against it or its employees or agents in any 3 event. It seeks dismissal under Fed. R. Civ. P 12(b)(6) or 12(c). 4 Hartford has filed a series of responses [Dkt. #s 26, 27 and 29] but none of them resolve 5 the issues with his pleadings, or his claims. He has not articulated any plausible set of facts that 6 support any viable claim against the City. The following passage is typical of his filings, and it is 7 not enough to meet the Iqbal standard applicable to claims in this Court: 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 ORDER GRATING MOTION TO DISMISS - 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 [Dkt. #27] As the City claims, he has not responded to the Motion in a manner that is coherent, and he has not met his burden on this motion. He has not stated plausible a claim. Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) may be based on either the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). A plaintiff’s complaint must allege facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. See Aschcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). A claim has “facial plausibility” when the party seeking relief “pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. Although the Court must accept as true the Complaint’s wellpled facts, conclusory allegations of law and unwarranted inferences will not defeat a Rule 12(c) motion. Vazquez v. L. A. County, 487 F.3d 1246, 1249 (9th Cir. 2007); Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001). “[A] plaintiff’s obligation to provide the ‘grounds’ of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief’ requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 24 ORDER GRATING MOTION TO DISMISS - 3 1 (2007) (citations and footnotes omitted). This requires a plaintiff to plead “more than an 2 unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me-accusation.” Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (citing 3 Twombly). 4 Although Iqbal establishes the standard for deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, Rule 12(c) 5 is “functionally identical” to Rule 12(b)(6) and that “the same standard of review” applies to 6 motions brought under either rule. Cafasso, U.S. ex rel. v. General Dynamics C4 Systems, Inc., 7 647 F.3d 1047 (9th Cir. 2011), citing Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine Inc., 867 F.2d 1188, 1192 8 (9th Cir.1989); see also Gentilello v. Rege, 627 F.3d 540, 544 (5th Cir. 2010) (applying Iqbal to 9 a Rule 12(c) motion). 10 On a 12(b)(6) motion, “a district court should grant leave to amend even if no request to 11 amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured 12 by the allegation of other facts.” Cook, Perkiss & Liehe v. N. Cal. Collection Serv., 911 F.2d 242, 13 247 (9th Cir. 1990). However, where the facts are not in dispute, and the sole issue is whether 14 there is liability as a matter of substantive law, the court may deny leave to amend. Albrecht v. 15 Lund, 845 F.2d 193, 195–96 (9th Cir. 1988). 16 Despite at least nine attempts, Hartford has failed to articulate any viable, plausible claim 17 against the City or its agents or employees. He has literally failed to state a plausible claim, and 18 he has legally so failed. The Court will not permit Hartford an additional attempt to articulate a 19 claim; he has not even hinted at the slightest suggestion of a viable claim against the City. The 20 City’s Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED and all of Hartford’s claims against it are DISMISSED, 21 with prejudice and without leave to amend. 22 Hartford’s own Motions [Dkt. #s 27] for additional time and for oral argument are 23 DENIED. He has been attempting to articulate a claim, and to obtain counsel, for more than a 24 ORDER GRATING MOTION TO DISMISS - 4 1 year. There is no reasonable basis for delaying the inevitable any longer, and the Court does not 2 need oral argument on this motion. 3 IT IS SO ORDERED. 4 Dated this 25th day of January, 2017. 6 A 7 Ronald B. Leighton United States District Judge 5 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 ORDER GRATING MOTION TO DISMISS - 5

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