United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER (1) DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH
LEAVE TO AMEND; AND (2) DENYING PENDING MOTIONS AS
Derrick K. Watson United States District Judge.
November 13, 2017, Ronald Satish Emrit, proceeding pro se,
filed a First Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 10) that once again
attempts to assert federal civil rights claims against the
Secretary of State of Hawaii and the Democratic Party of
Hawaii, alleging that he was unlawfully denied placement on
the ballot for the presidential election in 2016. This action
is one of the numerous, identical lawsuits Emrit has filed
this year alone. The First Amended Complaint, however,
suffers from many of the same deficiencies as Emrit's
initial Complaint, previously identified in the October 17,
2017 Findings and Recommendation, adopted by the Court on
November 6, 2017. Dkt. Nos. 4 (10/17/17 F&R) and 6
(11/6/17 Order Adopting F&R). Because Emrit once more
fails to state a claim for relief, the First Amended
Complaint is DISMISSED with leave to amend pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e). The Court also DENIES as moot all
pending motions, as discussed more fully below.
Emrit is appearing pro se, the Court liberally construes his
filings. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007); 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 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); see also Crowley v.
Bannister, 734 F.3d 967, 977-78 (9th Cir. 2013).
Although he is proceeding pro se, Emrit is more than familiar
with his federal court filing and pleading responsibilities,
given his numerous prior actions.
The FAC Is Dismissed For Failure To State A
review of the FAC, the Court finds that Emrit again fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Standard of Review
Court subjects each civil action commenced pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a) to mandatory screening and can order
the dismissal of any claims it finds “frivolous,
malicious, failing to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeking monetary relief from a defendant immune
from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
is proper when there is either a “‘lack of a
cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts
alleged.'” UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Shelter
Capital Partners, LLC, 718 F.3d 1006, 1014 (9th Cir.
2013) (quoting Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990)). 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); 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.”).
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). 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 679.
The FAC Fails To State A Claim For Relief
preliminary matter, the Court observes that Emrit has filed
identical actions against other states, which have been
summarily dismissed pursuant to the district courts'
Section 1915 screening. For example, the District Court for the
Southern District of Indiana dismissed his claims against the
Secretary of State of Indiana and the Democratic Party of
Indiana, finding that Emrit's allegations that “his
constitutional rights were violated when the defendants
refused to place him on the ballot for the primary and
general presidential election in 2016, ” failed to
state a claim for violation of his equal protection and due
process rights, under Title VII or the ADA, and for breach of
contract or negligence. Emrit v. Lawson, 2017 WL
4699279, at *1 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 19, 2017). Likewise here,
Emrit's allegation that “there is no compelling
government objective in requiring him to obtain a minimum
number of petitions/signatures such that he can be placed on
the ballot in this state for the primary and general
elections in 2016 (already passed) and again in 2020 (in the
future of course), ” FAC ¶ 79, fails to state a
claim and “is frivolous.” Lawson, 2017
WL 4699279, at *2. First, Emrit fails to include any relevant
facts or legal authority in support of his claim, such as the
applicable Hawai‘i regulation or party rule requiring
petitions or signatures, whether he even attempted to comply
with the requirements previously, and who excluded him from
participation. Second, Emrit's vague constitutional
claim fails as a matter of law. See Lawson, 2017 WL
4699279, at *2 (“Emrit does not challenge the
number of petitions or any other specific requirement other
than he apparently disagrees with having to submit any
petitions because he believes there is no good reason for the
requirement. To the contrary, the Constitution confers upon
the states broad authority to regulate the conduct of
elections.”) (internal citation and quotation marks
omitted). Indeed, as noted by several courts, notwithstanding
Emrit's claims, signature and petition requirements are
“not only constitutional but [also] make common sense
that the government must put in place a structure for
elections.” Lawson, 2017 WL 4699279, at *2
(“Emrit's allegation that there is no compelling
governmental justification for the requirement that
prospective candidates must file a certain number of
petitions signed by voters of the state along with a
declaration of candidacy is frivolous.”).
these core deficiencies, the FAC suffers from several of the
same deficiencies identified in the original Complaint.
First, the FAC yet again fails to comply with Rule 8, which
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'” may be dismissed sua
sponte 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)); see also McHenry v.
Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1178-80 (9th Cir. 1996) (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”). That
is the case here. Even applying the most liberal pleading
standard, the Court cannot discern the conduct of ...