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Saterstad v. Maczala

United States District Court, D. Nevada

December 6, 2017

MARTIN SATERSTAD and RICHARD SATERSTAD, Plaintiffs,
v.
CAPTAIN MACZALA, C. #3231, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          GEORGE FOLEY, JR. United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' Applications to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (ECF Nos. 6 and 7), filed on October 12, 2017. Also before the Court is the screening of Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint (ECF No. 5), filed on October 6, 2017.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs' complaint is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs allege that officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department performed an illegal search and seizure of their residence on October 15, 2009 in violation of the Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Amendments. Officers arrived at Plaintiffs residence after Plaintiffs called 911 following an alleged armed robbery. Plaintiffs assert that rather than treat Plaintiffs like the victims they were, the police arrested Plaintiffs for murder and then conducted an illegal search of Plaintiffs' residence to gain access to the “Medicinal Marijuana grow” that Plaintiff, Richard Saterstad, had in his room. Plaintiffs argue that their rights have been continually violated since that time and they now seek compensatory damages. Plaintiffs also argue that they have been subjected to libel and slander due to the media's portrayal of them as murderers. . . .

         DISCUSSION

         I. Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

          Plaintiffs filed this instant action and attached financial affidavit to their applications and complaint as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Reviewing Plaintiffs' financial affidavits pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the Court finds that Plaintiffs are unable to pre-pay the filing fee. As a result, Plaintiffs' requests to proceed in forma pauperis in federal court are granted.

         II. Screening the Complaint

         Federal courts must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2).

         In addition to the screening requirements under § 1915A, pursuant to the PLRA, a federal court must dismiss a prisoner's claims, “if the allegation of poverty is untrue, ” or if the action “is frivolous or malicious, ” “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted is provided for in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and the Court applies the same standard under Section 1915(e)(2) when reviewing the adequacy of a complaint or amended complaint.

         Review under Fed.R.Civ.P. 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). Dismissal for failure to state a claim is proper only if it is clear that the plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of the claim that would entitle him or her to relief. See Morley v. Walker, 175 F.3d 756, 759 (9th Cir. 1999). In making this determination, the Court takes as true all allegations of material fact stated in the complaint, and the Court construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Warshaw v. Xoma Corp., 74 F.3d 955, 957 (9th Cir. 1996). Allegations in a pro se complaint are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. See Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972) (per curiam). While the standard under Rule 12(b)(6) does not require detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff must provide more than mere labels and conclusions. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-1965 (2007). A formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action is insufficient. Id., See Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).

         All or part of a complaint filed by a prisoner may therefore be dismissed sua sponte if the prisoner's claims lack an arguable basis either in law or in fact. This includes claims based on legal conclusions that are untenable (e.g. claims against defendants who are immune from suit or claims of infringement of a legal interest which clearly does not exist), as well as claims based on fanciful factual allegations (e.g. fantastic or delusional scenarios). See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989); see also McKeever v. Block, 932 F.2d 795, 798 (9th Cir. 1991).

         III. Instant Complaint

         A. Plaintiff's ...


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