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Burrell v. Pacifica Solevita LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 27, 2018

PACIFICA SOLEVITA, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER (Docket Nos. 4, 6, 7)


         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 Plaintiff is proceeding in this action pro se and has requested authority pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 to proceed in forma pauperis. Docket No. 4. On May 16, 2018, Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging issues with her housing conditions and subsequent retaliatory conduct. See generally Docket No. 1-1. On May 16, 2018, the Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause why the case should not be dismissed without prejudice due to Plaintiff's failure to assert either federal question jurisdiction or diversity jurisdiction. Docket No. 3. Plaintiff has now filed a response and an amended response to the Court's order to show cause. Docket Nos. 5, 6.[1] Plaintiff has also filed an amended complaint.[2] Docket No. 7.

         I. In Forma Pauperis Application

         Plaintiff has submitted the affidavit required by § 1915(a). Docket No. 4. The Court concludes that Plaintiff has an inability to prepay fees and costs or give security for them. Accordingly, the request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). The Court will now review Plaintiff's amended complaint.

         II. Screening Complaint

         Upon granting an application to proceed in forma pauperis, courts additionally screen the complaint pursuant to § 1915(e). 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 who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). When a court dismisses a complaint under § 1915, 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).

         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 Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) is essentially a ruling on a question of law. See Chappel v. Lab. Corp. of Am., 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. Twombly, 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (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, 556 U.S. at 679. Mere recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported only by conclusory allegations, do not suffice. Id. at 678. Secondly, where the claims in the complaint have not crossed the line from conceivable to plausible, the complaint should be dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Allegations of a pro se complaint are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 & n.7 (9th Cir. 2010) (finding that liberal construction of pro se pleadings is required after Twombly and Iqbal).

         A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         Plaintiff submits that the Court has both federal question jurisdiction and diversity jurisdiction. See generally Docket No. 6.

         1. Federal Question Jurisdiction

         Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and possess only that power authorized by the Constitution and statute. See Rasul v. Bush, 542 U.S. 466, 489 (2004). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, federal courts have original jurisdiction over “all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” Cases “arise under” federal law either when federal law creates the cause of action or where the vindication of a right under state law necessarily turns on the construction of federal law. Republican Party of Guam v. Gutierrez, 277 F.3d 1086, 1088-89 (9th Cir. 2002). Whether federal-question jurisdiction exists is based on the “well-pleaded complaint rule, ” which provides that “federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint.” Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987); see also Docket No. 3.

         In the instant case, Plaintiff's amended response to the order to show cause and amended complaint assert claims under the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act of 1986, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Docket No. 6 at 1; see also Docket No. 7 at 11, 22-23. Claims under these statutes and the U.S. Constitution invoke the Court's federal question jurisdiction.[3]

         2. Diversity Jurisdiction

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, federal district courts have original jurisdiction over civil actions in diversity cases “where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000” and where the matter is between “citizens of different states.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332. In the instant case, Plaintiff fails to demonstrate that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction based on diversity. Plaintiff submits that only two Defendants, Pacifica Companies and Pacifica S.D. Management, are headquartered in California and, therefore, are diverse. Docket No. 6 at 2; see also 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1). As to the remaining two Defendants, Plaintiff fails to sufficiently assert diversity of citizenship. Id. (Plaintiff submits that “Pacific Solevita LLC is listed as [the] owner of [the] property where Plaintiff resides” and that Solevita Condominiums Homeowners Association is registered as a non-profit under Nevada law); see Allstate Ins. Co. v. Hughes, 358 F.3d 1089, 1095 (9th Cir. 2004) (stating that to establish diversity, ...

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