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Emrit v. Desert Parkway Behavioral Hospital

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

January 29, 2019



          Leslie E. Kobayashi United States District Judge

         On November 9, 2018, pro se Plaintiff Ronald Satish Emrit (“Plaintiff”) filed his Complaint (“Complaint”) and an Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (“Application”). [Dkt. nos. 1, 2.] The Court has considered the Complaint and 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 Hawaii (“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, the Court will reserve ruling on Plaintiff's Application until Plaintiff files his amended complaint.


         Plaintiff alleges he is a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada with a mailing address in Bowie, Maryland. [Complaint at ¶ 4.] According to the Complaint, Defendant Desert Parkway Behavioral Hospital's (“Defendant”) principal place of business or “nerve center” is in Las Vegas, Nevada; and Defendant has hospital facilities located throughout the country. [Id. at ¶ 5.] Plaintiff filed the instant matter with this district court, but he alleges jurisdiction and venue are proper in the United States District Court for the Central District of California because there is “complete diversity between the Plaintiff and the three defendants.”[1] [Id. at ¶ 8.] Plaintiff also asserts there is subject matter jurisdiction because the case involves a discussion of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) and the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). [Id. at ¶ 9.]

         Plaintiff alleges that, in the summer of 2016, he enrolled in the “Partial Hospitalization Program” (“PHP”) at Defendant's Las Vegas facility. [Id. at ¶¶ 12-13.] A mental health technician named “Jay” would drive Plaintiff from his residence in Las Vegas to Defendant's facility to participate in the PHP. [Id.] Plaintiff ultimately did not complete the PHP “due to circumstances beyond his control, ” but nevertheless, alleges he should have been placed in Defendant's Intensive Outpatient Therapy (“IOT”) program. [Id. at ¶ 14.] Plaintiff also asserts that, while he was an inpatient at Defendant's facility, he met Shyane Taylor Rios and a social worker named Gloria Medina. At an unspecified point in time, Ms. Medina brought Ms. Rios and Ms. Rios's boyfriend to Plaintiff's Las Vegas residence, causing the lessor of the property, Nicole Rocia Leal-Mendez, to ask Plaintiff to leave. [Id. at ¶¶ 16-19.]

         Plaintiff alleges the following claims: breach of contract and unjust enrichment based on Defendant's failure to assign Plaintiff to the IOT program after he failed to complete his PHP (“Count I”); negligence or negligence per se based on having to leave Ms. Leal-Mendez's residence and pay for temporary housing due to the actions of Ms. Rios (“Count II”); [id. at ¶¶ 21-23;] and intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) (“Count III”), presumably upon the same factual allegations set forth above, [id. at pg. 5, Prayer for Relief]. Plaintiff seeks punitive, compensatory, special, and treble damages in the amount of $250, 000. [Id. at pg. 6, Prayer for Relief.]

         Plaintiff appears to seek an additional $250, 000 for Defendant's alleged breach of contract, and also an injunction and/or specific performance to have Plaintiff re-entered into a health care treatment program for individuals with bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. [Id.]


         “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 ...

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