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Thomas v. Westgate Resort and Casino

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 1, 2017

MARK THOMAS Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
WESTGATE RESORT & CASINO and CAMI CHRISTENSEN Defendant.

          ORDER APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS (ECF NO. 1) AND SCREENING OF COMPLAINT (ECF NO. 1-1)

          GEORGE FOLEY, JR. United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 1), filed on September 27, 2016.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis

         Plaintiff filed this instant action and attached a financial affidavit to his application and complaint as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Reviewing Plaintiff's financial affidavit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the Court finds that Plaintiff is unable to pre-pay the filing fee. As a result, Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis in federal court is granted.

         II. Screening the Complaint

         Upon granting a request to proceed in forma pauperis, a court must additionally screen a complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). Specifically, federal courts are given the authority to dismiss a case if the action is legally “frivolous or malicious, ” fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant/third party plaintiff who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). A complaint, or portion thereof, should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted “if it appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claims that would entitle him to relief.” Buckey v. Los Angeles, 968 F.2d 791, 794 (9th Cir. 1992). A complaint may be dismissed as frivolous if it is premised on a nonexistent legal interest or delusional factual scenario. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989). Moreover, “a finding of factual frivolousness is appropriate when the facts alleged rise to the level of the irrational or the wholly incredible, whether or not there are judicially noticeable facts available to contradict them.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992). When a court dismisses a complaint under § 1915(e), the plaintiff should be given leave to amend the complaint with directions as to curing its deficiencies, unless it is clear from the face of the complaint that the deficiencies could not be cured by amendment. See Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995).

         The Court shall liberally construe a complaint by a pro se litigant. Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 2007). This is especially important for civil rights complaints. Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1261 (9th Cir. 1992). However, a liberal construction may not be used to supply an essential element of the claim absent from the complaint. Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 12 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Board of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)).

         Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Review under Rule 12(b)(6) is essentially a ruling on a question of law. See Chappel v. Laboratory Corp. of America, 232 F.3d 719, 723 (9th Cir. 2000). A properly pled complaint must provide a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombley, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Although Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, it demands “more than labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). The court must accept as true all well-pled factual allegations contained in the complaint, but the same requirement does not apply to legal conclusions. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950. Mere recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported only by conclusory allegations, do not suffice. Id. at 1949. Secondly, where the claims in the complaint have not crossed the line from plausible to conceivable, the complaint should be dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

         III. Instant Complaint

         a. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         Federal district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, deriving their power to hear cases from specific congressional grants of jurisdiction. United States v. Sumner, 226 F.3d 1005, 1009 (9th Cir. 2000). Limited jurisdiction means that federal courts (1) possess only that power authorized by the Constitution or a specific federal statute and (2) do not have jurisdiction over a matter simply because the alleged wrong occurred in the same city, county, or state in which the court sits. See U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1. Generally, subject matter jurisdiction may derive from diversity of the parties, which are “civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000 ... and is between citizens of different States, ” or from claims involving a federal question, which are “civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” See 28 U.S.C. § 1331; 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

         Rule 8(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that a “claim for relief must contain ... a short plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1). The burden of proving jurisdiction rests on the party asserting jurisdiction. See McNutt v. Gen. Motors Acceptance Corp. 298 U.S. 178, 182-83 (1936). Plaintiff does not state the grounds for the Court's jurisdiction in his complaint nor does the complaint contain allegations demonstrating that the Court has jurisdiction.

         b. ...


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