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High v. Manda

United States District Court, D. Nevada

August 18, 2017

JUAN X. HIGH, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL MANDA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Cam Ferenbach, United States Magistrate Judge.

         This matter involves pro se Plaintiff Juan X. High's civil action against Defendants Michael Manda, Ramiro Renteria, Tamas Lendvai, Jim O'Donnell, Juan Carlos Espinoza, Tricia Griffith, and Michael Sieger. Before the Court are High's Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 6) and Amended Complaint (ECF No. 5). For the reasons stated below, High's Amended Complaint is dismissed without prejudice.

         I. Discussion

         Plaintiff Juan X. High's filings present one question for the Court: whether his complaint states a plausible claim for relief. The Court concludes that it does not.

         A. High's Complaint Fails to State a Plausible Claim

         When a complaint is filed IFP, it must be dismissed prior to service of process if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks monetary damages from defendants who are immune from suit. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see also Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1226-27 (9th Cir. 1984). Generally, the Court liberally construes pro se pleadings and gives pro se plaintiffs the benefit of any doubt during initial review. See Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000). Additionally, if amending the Complaint would remedy the deficiencies, plaintiffs should be notified and provided an opportunity to amend. See Jackson v. Carey, 353 F.3d 750, 758 (9th Cir. 2003). In determining whether a complaint is frivolous, however, a court is not bound, as it usually is when making a determination based solely on the pleadings, “to accept without question the truth of the plaintiff's allegations.” See Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992) (emphasis in original). The Court may find a complaint factually frivolous “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.” See id.; see also O'Loughlin v. Doe, 920 F.2d 614, 617 (9th Cir.1990) (holding a complaint submitted in forma pauperis “is frivolous if it has no arguable basis in fact or law”).

         “Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction” and possess only the power to adjudicate cases that the Constitution and federal statutes permit. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994); see also Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 552 (2005). “A federal court is presumed to lack jurisdiction in a particular case unless the contrary affirmatively appears.” See Stock West, Inc. v. Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, 873 F.2d 1221, 1225 (9th Cir. 1989) (citing California ex rel. Younger v. Andrus, 608 F.2d 1247, 1249 (9th Cir. 1979)). A court's jurisdiction to resolve a case on its merits requires a showing that the plaintiff has both subject matter and personal jurisdiction. See Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S. 574, 577 (1999).

         Subject matter jurisdiction gives a court jurisdiction over the type of case that a plaintiff brings. Federal district courts have original jurisdiction over “all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. When a plaintiff states an actionable claim under federal law, district courts have supplemental jurisdiction over all claims in the case that are so related to claims providing original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).

         In this case, High's Complaint asserts four causes of action, all related to a vehicle accident allegedly caused by a faulty anti-braking system and driver's stability control module in a 2003 BMW 745Li vehicle purchased and driven by High. One of these causes of action arises under federal law, and the remainder arise under various state laws, for which High claims that this Court has supplemental jurisdiction. The Court will address the federal cause of action to determine whether it states a valid claim upon which relief may be granted.

         High's federal cause of action is brought under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (“MMWA”). Thus, the MMWA's jurisdictional prerequisites will be examined and tested against High's allegations. The remaining claims arise under Nevada state law. After reviewing High's Complaint and applicable law, the Court finds that the allegations in High's Complaint fail to state an actionable federal claim under the MMWA.

         a. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

         High's Complaint alleges that the Defendants' breach of express and implied warranties constitutes a violation of the MMWA. The MMWA provides that “a consumer who is damaged by the failure of a supplier, warrantor, or service contractor to comply with any obligation under [the MMWA], or under a written warranty, implied warranty, or service contract, may bring suit for damages and other legal and equitable relief ….” See 15 U.S.C. § 2310(d)(1). Federal and state courts have concurrent jurisdiction over MMWA actions (see id. at §§ 2310(d)(1)(A) & (B)), but no claim is cognizable by a federal court:

(A) if the amount in controversy of any individual claim is less than the sum or value of $25;
(B) if the amount in controversy is less than the sum or value of $50, 000 (exclusive of interests and costs) computed on the basis of all ...

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