United States District Court, D. Nevada
WEKSLER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
plaintiffs Wendell Dwayne O'Neal and Thirteenth
Dimension, LLC bring this lawsuit that arises out of a
dispute about commercial liability insurance for automobiles
advertised for rent on Craigslist. In the 66-page complaint,
plaintiffs bring claims against Zurich Insurance Company,
Inc. and eight other defendants. Plaintiffs move to proceed
in forma pauperis. (IFP Application (ECF No. 1).)
O'Neal submitted the affidavit required by 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a) showing an inability to prepay fees or costs
or give security for them. O'Neal's request to
proceed in forma pauperis therefore will be
granted. The court now screens O'Neal's
complaint (ECF No. 1-1) as required by 28 U.S.C. §
before the court is O'Neal's motion to file
electronically (ECF No. 2), filed on August 31, 2018.
before the court is O'Neal's notice of outstanding
filing fee waiver decision (ECF No. 4), filed on April 18,
2019. The court construes this notice as a motion.
granting a request to proceed in forma pauperis, a
court must screen the complaint under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). In screening the complaint, a court must identify
cognizable claims and dismiss claims that are frivolous,
malicious, file to state a claim on which relief may be
granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Dismissal for failure to state a claim under §
1915(e)(2) incorporates the standard for failure to state a
claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir.
2012). To survive § 1915 review, a complaint must
“contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). The court liberally construes pro se complaints
and may only dismiss them “if it appears beyond doubt
that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of
his claim which would entitle him to relief.”
Nordstrom v. Ryan, 762 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir. 2014)
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).
considering whether the complaint is sufficient to state a
claim, all allegations of material fact are taken as true and
construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Wyler Summit P'ship v. Turner Broad. Sys. Inc.,
135 F.3d 658, 661 (9th Cir. 1998) (citation omitted).
Although 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, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action is
insufficient. Id. Unless it is clear the
complaint's deficiencies could not be cured through
amendment, a pro se plaintiff should be given leave to amend
the complaint with notice regarding the complaint's
deficiencies. Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103,
1106 (9th Cir. 1995).
Screening the complaint
brings a case on behalf of himself and Thirteenth Dimension,
LLC for damages they suffered related to a scheme regarding
rental cars that allegedly were offered for rent by defendant
Roadrunner, advertised on the website Craigslist, and insured
by Zurich. (See generally Compl. (ECF No. 1-1) at
1-8.) Specifically, O'Neal alleges defendants
discriminated against African Americans and misrepresented
the availability of liability insurance coverage for
short-term leases of California rental cars in Las Vegas,
Nevada. (Id. at 6-8.) O'Neal further alleges
intricate facts regarding his grandchildren's involvement
in a transaction with Roadrunner and his subsequent
investigation of that transaction. (Id. at 10-31).
O'Neal also describes emotional damages he has suffered
due to his previous designation as a vexatious litigant in
this district in litigation involving the defendants.
(Id. at 29-33.) Finally, he makes various
allegations regarding allegedly improper conduct that
defendants engaged in during previous litigation in this
court and Nevada state court. (Id. at 34-60.)
O'Neal requests $7, 500 in monetary damages and punitive
damages in excess of $10 million. (Id. at 61-66.)
litigants have the right to plead and conduct their own cases
personally. 28 U.S.C. § 1654. But pro se litigants do
not have authority to represent anyone other than themselves.
See Simon v. Hartford Life, Inc., 546 F.3d 661, 664
(9th Cir. 2008) (stating that a non-attorney plaintiff may
not pursue a claim on behalf of others in a representative
capacity). The rationale for this rule is that the
“competence of a layman representing himself [is]
clearly too limited to allow him to risk the rights of
others.” Oxendine v. Williams, 509 F.2d 1405,
1407 (4th Cir. 1975) (per curiam) (holding that it was an
error to permit an inmate who was unrepresented by an
attorney to represent other inmates in a class action against
the prison superintendent). Additionally, limited liability
companies cannot represent themselves and must be represented
by an attorney. In re Am. W. Airlines, 40 F.3d 1058,
1059 (9th Cir. 1994) (stating that “[c]orporations and
other unincorporated associations must appear in court
through an attorney.”).
that O'Neal is a pro se litigant and does not have the
authority to represent Thirteenth Dimension, this case cannot
proceed as to both plaintiffs. Further, this case cannot
proceed as to O'Neal as an individual. Although
O'Neal specifically identifies the harm that he suffered,
O'Neal does not specify which factual allegations in the
complaint pertain to him and which allegations pertain to
Thirteenth Dimension. Thus, even liberally construing
O'Neal's complaint, given the interconnectedness of
the intricate factual allegations, the court is unable to
determine which allegations apply only to O'Neal. The
court therefore will recommend dismissal of the complaint
without prejudice for O'Neal (1) to file an amended
complaint solely on his own behalf, and/or (2) to retain an
attorney to represent Thirteenth Dimension, who should
determine what claims, if any, to pursue on behalf of
O'Neal chooses to file an amended complaint on his own
behalf, he is advised all defendants must be identified in
the caption of the pleading and that he must specify which
claims he is alleging against which defendants. Although the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure adopt a flexible pleading
policy, O'Neal still must give defendants fair notice of
each of the claims he is alleging against each defendant.
Specifically, he must allege facts showing how each named
defendant is involved and the approximate dates of their
further is advised that in drafting his amended complaint,
all this is required is that he state, in short and plain
terms, a claim showing an entitlement to relief. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Although O'Neal must give the
defendants fair notice of the claims alleged against them,
intricately detailed and lengthy factual allegations are not
necessary. O'Neal further is advised that the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure rely on discovery and summary
judgment, rather than the pleadings, to flesh out the
disputed facts of the case. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
26-37, 56. Thus, O'Neal need not attach lengthy exhibits
and other evidence to his amended complaint. If the amended