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Moore v. Kailua Kona Properties, LLC

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

May 10, 2018



         Leslie E. Kobayashi, United States District Judge

         On May 1, 2018, pro se Plaintiff Jewel del Mar Moore (“Plaintiff”) filed her Complaint and Request for Injunction (“Complaint”) and an Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (“Application”). [Dkt. nos. 1, 2.] The Court has considered the Application as a non-hearing matter pursuant to Rule LR7.2(e) of the Local Rules of Practice of the United States District Court for the District of Hawai`i (“Local Rules”). For the reasons set forth below, the Complaint is hereby dismissed without prejudice. In other words, Plaintiff has the Court's permission to file an amended complaint to try to cure the defects in the Complaint. In addition, Plaintiff's Application is denied. If Plaintiff chooses to file an amended complaint, she must pay the required filing fee.


         “Federal courts can authorize the commencement of any suit without prepayment of fees or security by a person who submits an affidavit that demonstrates he is unable to pay.” Smallwood v. Fed. Bureau of Investigation, CV. NO. 16-00505 DKW-KJM, 2016 WL 4974948, at *1 (D. Hawai`i Sept. 16, 2016) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1)).

The Court subjects each civil action commenced pursuant to Section 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); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (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); Calhoun v. Stahl, 254 F.3d 845, 845 (9th Cir. 2001) (per curiam) (holding that “the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) are not limited to prisoners”).

Id. at *3.

         In addition, this Court has recognized that the following standards apply in the screening analysis:

Plaintiff is appearing pro se; consequently, the court liberally construes her pleadings. 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); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126 (9th. [sic] Cir. 2000).
Despite the liberal pro se pleading standard, 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. 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) (holding that district court may dismiss cases sua sponte pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) without notice where plaintiff could not prevail on complaint as alleged). . . . “Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, ” possessing “only that power authorized by Constitution and statute.” United States v. Marks, 530 F.3d 799, 810 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). The assumption is that the district court lacks jurisdiction. See Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 377. Accordingly, a “party invoking the federal court's jurisdiction has the burden of proving the actual existence of subject matter jurisdiction.” Thompson v. McCombe, 99 F.3d 352, 353 (9th Cir. 1996).

Flores v. Trump, CIVIL 16-00652 LEK-RLP, 2017 WL 125698, at *1 (D. Hawai`i Jan. 12, 2017) (some alterations in Flores) (citation omitted), reconsideration denied, 2017 WL 830966 (Mar. 2, 2017).


         I. Plaintiff's Claims

         Plaintiff appears to be challenging a judicial foreclosure and ejectment from her property. She alleges Defendant U.S. Bank produced and used fraudulent documents, which resulted the transfer of Plaintiff's property to Defendant Kailua Kona Properties, LLC. [Complaint at pg. 7.[1] She alleges she and her family have suffered mental anguish, stress, and anxiety, which diminished their quality of life and resulted in Plaintiff's divorce and disability. Plaintiff seek monetary damages and a court order quieting title to the property. [Id. at pg. 10.]

         Plaintiff states the events giving rise to her claim occurred in July 2007. [Id.] Plaintiff's quiet title claim is likely subject to a six-year statute of limitations, pursuant to Haw. Rev. Stat. § 657-1(4).[2]See, e.g., Lynch v. Bank of New York Mellon, CIVIL 17-00195 LEK-RLP, 2017 WL 3568667, at *2 (D. Hawai`i Aug. 15, 2017) (noting the defendants' argument that the quiet title claim should be dismissed as time barred, but declining to address the argument because of other deficiencies in the claim's factual allegations). Although it is not clear exactly what specific claims Plaintiff is pursuing in this case, she appears to be asserting fraud claims, which would also be subject to the § 657-1(4) six-year statute of limitations. See Galima v. Ass'n of Apartment Owners of Palm Court ex rel. Bd. of Dirs., CIVIL 16-00023 LEK-KSC, 2017 WL 1240181, at *17 (D. Hawai`i Mar. 30, 2017). Plaintiff may also be asserting a wrongful foreclosure claim, which would be subject to a six-year statute of limitations period pursuant to Haw. ...

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