The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Michael Seabright United States District Judge
ORDER (1) GRANTING DEFENDANTS JEFFERY N. BURLESON AND HAWAII
COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS;
(2) GRANTING DEFENDANTS
JUDGE GLEN S. HARA, AND
ELAINE NAHAKUELUA'S ) MOTION TO DISMISS; (3) SUA ) SPONTE DISMISSING
CLAIMS AS ) TO OTHER DEFENDANTS; AND
(4) GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND
ORDER (1) GRANTING DEFENDANTS JEFFERY N. BURLESON AND HAWAII COUNTY
POLICE DEPARTMENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS;
(2) GRANTING DEFENDANTS JUDGE JOSEPH P. FLORENDO, JUDGE GLEN S. HARA,
AND ELAINE NAHAKUELUA'S MOTION TO DISMISS;
(3) SUA SPONTE DISMISSING CLAIMS AS TO OTHER DEFENDANTS; AND (4)
GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND
On November 16, 2011, pro se Plaintiff Phillip B. Kriege ("Plaintiff") filed a Complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California asserting civil rights claims against Hawaii State Third Circuit Court Judges Glen S. Hara ("Judge Hara") and Joseph P. Florendo ("Judge Florendo"); Prosecuting Attorney Charlene Y. Iboshi ("Iboshi"); Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys Jeffery N. Burleson ("Burleson") and Roland J. Talon ("Talon"); "Bailiff of the Kealakekua Court" ("Bailiff"); "Clerk of the Kealakekua Circuit Court," Elaine Nahakuelua ("Clerk Nahakuelua"); and the Hawaii County Police Department ("HCPD").*fn1 Although not entirely clear from the Complaint, Plaintiff appears to assert that Defendants violated his constitutional rights when he was held in contempt of court and arrested on several occasions. On December 9, 2011, the Southern District of California transferred the action to this court.
Currently before the court are two Motions to Dismiss filed by: (1) Judge Florendo, Judge Hara, Clerk Nahakuelua, and Bailiff ("Court Defendants"); and (2) the HCPD and Burleson ("County Defendants"). Court Defendants argue that this court lacks jurisdiction over the claims against them, and both the Court Defendants and the County Defendants argue, among other things,*fn2 that the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Although not entirely clear, Plaintiff's Opposition appears to assert that his Complaint should be construed as a Petition for Habeas Relief. Based on the following, the court GRANTS the Motions to Dismiss -- regardless of how the Complaint is construed, it fails to state a plausible § 1983 claim or for habeas relief. Because the Complaint is deficient as to all Defendants, this dismissal is as to all Defendants and all claims.*fn3
The Complaint is vague, conclusory, disorganized, and accompanied by numerous attachments. Although the Complaint is difficult to follow, the court discerns the following allegations.
Plaintiff was a party in a civil lawsuit regarding the purchase of a Ford truck in the Third Circuit Court in the State of Hawaii that was filed on August 19, 2008 and assigned to Judge Florendo. Doc. No. 1, Compl. at 5-8. Judge Florendo allegedly discriminated against Plaintiff on the basis of race, intentionally prevented Plaintiff from receiving a fair trial, and unlawfully held Plaintiff in contempt of court after Plaintiff walked out of Judge Florendo's courtroom. Id. at 5-13. In a subsequent trial, Judge Hara allegedly conspired with Judge Florendo to deprive Plaintiff of his right to a fair trial. Id. at 11.
After the lawsuit with Judge Florendo, Plaintiff alleges that he was unlawfully arrested on four different occasions, two of which involved Officers Ibarra and Ivy. Id. at 6. Plaintiff further asserts that he suffered emotional distress because he was unlawfully denied access to the local flea market and harassed by the HCPD. Id. at 6-8. Plaintiff appears to explain that the harassment was inflicted in part by Officers Ibarra and Ivy when they commandeered "the roadways beyond the scope and intent of the state legislature." Id. at 18. Plaintiff asserts that this "commandeering" prevented him from hauling water to his home in the subdivision of the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. Id. at 15-17.
As to Burleson, the Complaint alleges that he: (1) filed a prosecutorial complaint against Plaintiff, alleging that Plaintiff committed "the offense of Criminal Contempt of Court," id. at 25; and (2) was aware of the conspiracy against Plaintiff and yet failed to use his prosecutorial power to prevent harm to Plaintiff. Id. at 13. As to Talon and Iboshi, the Complaint includes no specific allegations, but an attachment to the Complaint indicates that they filed a prosecutorial complaint alleging that Plaintiff committed "the offense of Theft in the Third Degree." Id. at 48.
As to Clerk Nahakuelua, Plaintiff asserts that she (1) purposely failed to credit his account when he made cash payments for court fees, and (2) lied to him on July 12, 2011 when she "guaranteed that no further court appearance was required." Id. at 7-8. Plaintiff further asserts that Bailiff intentionally delayed one of Plaintiff's trials and thus intentionally inflicted "personal and emotional distress" on Plaintiff. Id. at 14.
Plaintiff theorizes that all of the allegations described above were
part of an organized conspiracy to deprive him of his constitutional
rights, and that the conspiracy was orchestrated by Judge Florendo.
Id. at 8-17. The Complaint requests that the court grant various forms
of relief, including injunctive relief and damages.*fn4
Id. at 52-53.
On November 16, 2011, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. On December 9, 2011, the Southern District of California sua sponte found that venue was improper and transferred the case to the District of Hawaii. Doc. No. 10, Order Transferring Case at 3.
On December 14, 2011, County Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss. On February 16, 2012, Court Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff did not file an Opposition.
During an April 9, 2012 hearing on the Motions to Dismiss, Plaintiff asserted that he was seeking habeas relief, and the court granted Plaintiff's request for an extension of time to file an Opposition. On April 24, 2012, Plaintiff filed a document titled "Petition for Writ of Habues [sic] Corpus Ad Subjiciendum Under Rule 18 Hawaii F.R.C.P." Given the timing of Plaintiff's April 24 filing and its content (it contains no factual assertions and appears, at least in part, to address arguments raised by Defendants), the court construes it as an Opposition to the Motions to Dismiss. On April 30, 2012, Court Defendants and County Defendants filed Replies.
A. Rule 12(b)(1): Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) authorizes a court to dismiss claims over which it lacks proper subject matter jurisdiction.
Court Defendants are making a "facial attack" on subject matter jurisdiction because they assert that the allegations in the Complaint, on their face, fail to invoke federal jurisdiction. White v. Lee, 227 F.3d 1214, 1242 (9th Cir. 2000); Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004). When the allegations of a complaint are examined to determine whether they are sufficient on their face to confer subject matter jurisdiction, a court takes all allegations of material fact as true and construes such facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Fed'n of African Am. Contractors v. City of Oakland, 96 F.3d 1204, 1207 (9th Cir. 1996). In such an inquiry, the court limits its analysis to the complaint's allegations and attached documents. See Samco Global Arms, Inc. v. Arita, 395 F.3d 1212, 1214 n.4 (11th Cir. 2005) ("We use the same standard as the district court in analyzing a facial attack on jurisdiction, and therefore accept the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true and limit our inquiry to the complaint and the documents attached thereto.").
B. Rule 12(b)(6): Failure to State a Claim
Rule 12(b)(6) permits a motion to dismiss a claim for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted[.]" "To survive a motion to dismiss, 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (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, 556 U.S. at 678. 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); see also Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011) ("[A]llegations in a complaint or counterclaim may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively.").
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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S.at 556). In other words, "the factual allegations that are taken as true must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief, such that it is not unfair to require the opposing party to be subjected to the expense of discovery and continued litigation." Starr, 652 F.3d at 1216. "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S.at 555. Factual allegations that only permit the court to infer "the mere possibility of misconduct" do not show that the pleader is entitled to relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
The court may dismiss a complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) on its own motion. 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)."); see also Baker v. Dir., U.S. Parole Comm'n, 916 F.2d 725, 727 (D.C. Cir. 1990) ...