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Shu v. Hutt

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 28, 2018

DAVID SHU, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY HUTT, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS (EFC NO. 1) AND COMPLAINT (ECF NO. 1-2)

          CAM FERENBACH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court are pro se Plaintiff David Shu's application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 1) and complaint (ECF No. 1-2). For the reasons stated below, Shu's in forma pauperis application is granted. The Court, however, orders that Shu's complaint be dismissed without prejudice.

         Discussion

         Shu's filings present two questions: (1) whether Shu may proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) and (2) whether Shu's complaint states a plausible claim for relief. Each is discussed below.

         I. Whether Shu May Proceed In Forma Pauperis

         Shu 's application to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), a plaintiff may bring a civil action “without prepayment of fees or security thereof” if the plaintiff submits a financial affidavit that demonstrates the plaintiff “is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor.” According to Shu's affidavit, he receives $1, 307 per month from Social Security and the vast majority of that amount is used to cover monthly expense such as housing payments and utilities. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis is, therefore, granted.

         II. Whether Shu's Complaint States a Plausible Claim

         Because the Court grants Shu's application to proceed in forma pauperis, it must review Shu's complaint to determine whether the complaint is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a plausible claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) provides that a complaint “that states a claim for relief” must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the [plaintiff] is entitled to relief.” The Supreme Court's decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal states that to satisfy Rule 8's requirements, a complaint's allegations must cross “the line from conceivable to plausible.” 556 U.S. 662, 680 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 547, (2007)).

         “[A] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). If the 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. Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995).

         Shu's complaint is difficult to follow. It is 69 pages long, not taking into account the attached exhibits. (ECF No. 1-2). Though there are two defendants named in the caption, Shu often refers to a “Defendant” without indicating which of the defendants the statement applies to. It is unclear whether Shu intended to include the Santa Maria Post Office as a defendant in addition to the individual Postmaster General, as Shu refers to “Defendant Sierra Costal District office” on several occasions. (Id. at 32). On several occasions, Shu refers to Johnny Ala as a “Defendant, ” although Ala is not named in the caption. (Id. at 28). Shu spends many pages going into great depth regarding Mr. Bacilio, who is also not named as a defendant. (Id. at 5-27).

         For these reasons, Shu's complaint does not constitute a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the [plaintiff] is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Shu must amend the complaint to clarify the parties involved and focus on the facts relevant to his claims. To provide further guidance, the Court will also analyze the merits of Shu's complaint, to the extent possible.

         A. Jurisdiction and Venue

         The major allegations in Shu's complaint are that, after a false accusation of causing a car accident, he was wrongfully terminated by the Santa Maria Post Office in 2013 and put through fraudulent arbitration related to his termination in 2015. (ECF No. 1-2 at 2-5). Shu brings a claim for fraud against the arbitrator and claims for negligence, wrongful payment on a fraudulent claim, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and due process violations against the Postmaster General. (Id. at 54-65). Shu asks that the Court to vacate the arbitration award, reinstated him to his job with the Santa Maria Post Office, and compensate him for Defendants' actions. (Id. at 69). Shu asserts the Court has jurisdiction over this case based on diversity of citizenship and federal questions. (Id. at 1-2). According to the complaint, Defendants are residents of California and the District of Columbia. (Id. at 2).

         The Defendants' out-of-state residences make it possible for the Court to have diversity jurisdiction over this case. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). However, they also make it doubtful that this Court has personal jurisdiction over the Defendants or could be considered a proper venue. “Constitutional due process requires that defendants ‘have certain minimum contacts' with a forum state ‘such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.'” Morrill v. Scott Fin. Corp., 873 F.3d 1136, 1141 (9th Cir. 2017) (quoting Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)). The rules regarding proper venue emphasize ...


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