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Flores v. United States

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

January 8, 2016

XAVIER FLORES, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, DENYING AS MOOT PLAINTIFF’S APPLICATION TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF FEES OR COSTS, AND DENYING PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL

Derrick K. Watson United States District Judge

INTRODUCTION

On January 7, 2016, Plaintiff pro se Xavier Flores filed a Complaint and Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (“Application”). The Complaint attempts to assert claims against the United States and the Department of State. Because Flores’ claims are barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity, and do not satisfy Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 or 12(b)(6), the Court DISMISSES the Complaint with prejudice, DENIES the Application as moot, and DENIES his request for appointment of counsel.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court subjects every in forma pauperis proceeding to mandatory screening and orders the dismissal of the case if it is “frivolous or malicious, ” “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (2000) (stating that 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) “not only permits but requires” the court to sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint that fails to state a claim).

Flores is proceeding pro se, and, therefore, the Court liberally construes his 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 also recognizes that “[u]nless it is absolutely clear that no amendment can cure the defect . . . a pro se litigant is entitled to notice of the complaint’s deficiencies and an opportunity to amend prior to dismissal of the action.” Lucas v. Dep’t of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995). Nevertheless, the Court may dismiss a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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. Cal., 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).”).

A plaintiff must allege “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). 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). 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 v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). 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. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

Rule 8 mandates that a complaint include a “short and plain statement of the claim.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “[E]ach 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’” may be dismissed for failure to 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)). 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”).

Claims may also be dismissed sua sponte where the Court does not have federal subject matter jurisdiction. 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 the district court and counsel to be alert to jurisdictional requirements.”); Kuntz v. Lamar Corp., 385 F.3d 1177, 1183 n.7 (“A federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over an unconsented suit against the United States.”). Lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be raised at any time. Id.

DISCUSSION

Upon review of the Complaint, the Court finds that Flores fails to establish this Court’s jurisdiction over this matter and to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Even liberally construed, the Complaint fails to state any discernible basis for judicial relief. Flores alleges as follows:

Currently, I cannot continue my work because there are authorize[d] access to[] many of my data. Mainly from U.S. agents, the public, and possibly foreign influence.
This responsibility/accountability falls on the U.S. government and the U.S. ...

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