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Wellington Yee Yun Pang and andrea Janet Pang v. Kwang Sok Yi

January 5, 2012

WELLINGTON YEE YUN PANG AND ANDREA JANET PANG, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
KWANG SOK YI, OWNER OF MAHALO REALTY INC.,
725 KAPIOLANI BLVD. #C 118 HONOLULU, HAWAII 96813, PH: (808) 593-2728 DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Michael Seabright United States District Judge

ORDER (1) DISMISSING PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT; AND (2) DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AS MOOT

I. INTRODUCTION

On December 27, 2011, Plaintiffs Wellington Yee Yun Pang and Andrea Janet Pang ("Plaintiffs") filed a Complaint against Defendant "Kwang Sok Yi, Owner of Mahalo Realty Inc., 725 Kapiolani Blvd. #C 118, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813, Ph: (808) 593-2728" ("Defendant"), asserting that Defendant stole Plaintiffs' assets and/or identities through forgery and fraud, and attempted to kill Plaintiffs. On January 4, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a "Motion for an [ex] Parte Temporary Restraining Order and for Expedited Injunction Against Harassment and Recovery Assets" ("Motion for TRO") seeking to prevent Defendant from contacting, threatening, or physically harming Plaintiffs.

Pursuant to Local Rule 7.2(d), the court determines these issues without a hearing. Based on the following, the court DISMISSES the Complaint with leave to amend, and DENIES the Motion for TRO as moot.

II. ANALYSIS

A. The Complaint Is Dismissed with Leave to Amend

1. Standards

Because Plaintiffs are proceeding pro se, the court liberally construes their pleadings. See Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987) ("The Supreme Court has instructed the federal courts to liberally construe the 'inartful pleading' of pro se litigants.") (citing Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam)).

The court may address a lack of subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte. Fiedler v. Clark, 714 F.2d 77, 78 (9th Cir. 1983); Belleville Catering Co. v. Champaign Mkt. Place, L.L.C., 350 F.3d 691, 693 (7th Cir. 2003) ("[I]nquiring whether the court has jurisdiction is a federal judge's first duty in every case."); Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3). Plaintiffs bear the burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). At the pleading stage, Plaintiffs must allege sufficient facts to show a proper basis for the court to assert subject matter jurisdiction over the action. McNutt v. Gen. Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936); Johnson v. Columbia Props. Anchorage, L.P., 437 F.3d 894, 899 (9th Cir. 2006); Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(1).

Further, the court may dismiss a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on its own motion for failure to state a claim. See Omar v. Sea-Land Serv., Inc., 813 F.2d 986, 991 (9th Cir. 1987) ("A trial court may dismiss a claim sua sponte under [Rule] 12(b)(6). Such a dismissal may be made without notice where the claimant cannot possibly win relief."); Ricotta v. California, 4 F. Supp. 2d 961, 968 n.7 (S.D. Cal. 1998) ("The Court can dismiss a claim sua sponte for a Defendant who has not filed a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)."). Additionally, a complaint that is "obviously frivolous" does not confer federal subject matter jurisdiction and may be dismissed sua sponte. Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227 n.6 (9th Cir. 1984); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3); Grupo Dataflux v. Atlas Global Grp., L.P., 541 U.S. 567, 593 (2004) ("[I]t is the obligation of both district court and counsel to be alert to jurisdictional requirements.").

"To survive a motion to dismiss [pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)], a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Weber v. Dep't of Veterans Affairs, 521 F.3d 1061, 1065 (9th Cir. 2008). This tenet -- that the court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in the complaint -- "is inapplicable to legal conclusions." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. Accordingly, "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S.at 555). Rather, "[a] claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S.at 556). Factual allegations that only permit the court to infer "the mere possibility of misconduct" do not show that the pleader is entitled to relief as required by Rule 8. Id. at 1950.

The court may also dismiss a complaint sua sponte for failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. Rule 8 mandates that a complaint include a "short and plain statement of the claim," Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), and that "each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(d)(1). A complaint that is so confusing that its "'true substance, if any, is well disguised'" does not satisfy Rule 8. Hearns v. San Bernardino Police Dep't, 530 F.3d 1124, 1131 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Gillibeau v. City of Richmond, 417 F.2d 426, 431 (9th Cir. 1969)); see also McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1180 (9th Cir. 1996) ("Something labeled a complaint but written . . . prolix in evidentiary detail, yet without simplicity, conciseness and clarity as to whom plaintiffs are suing for what wrongs, fails to perform the essential functions of a complaint.").

Put differently, a district court may dismiss a complaint for failure to comply with Rule 8 where the complaint fails to provide defendants with fair notice of the wrongs they have allegedly committed. See McHenry, 84 F.3d at 1178-80 (affirming dismissal of complaint where "one cannot determine from the complaint who is being sued, for what relief, and on what theory, with enough detail to guide discovery"); cf. Mendiondo v. Centinela Hosp. Med. Ctr., 521 F.3d 1097, 1105 n.4 (9th Cir. 2008) (finding dismissal under Rule 8 was in error where "the complaint provide[d] fair notice of the wrongs allegedly committed by defendants and [did] not qualify as overly verbose, confusing, or rambling"). Rule 8 requires more than "the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation[s]" and "[a] pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will ...


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