United States District Court, D. Arizona
J. TUCHI, District Judge.
issue is pro se Plaintiff Ernest Bishop's
Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying
Fees or Costs (Doc. 2). Having determined that Plaintiff is
unable to pay the Court's fees, the Court grants the
Application. However, as set forth below, upon screening
Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1, Compl.) pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court has found that Plaintiff has
not satisfied the pleading requirements of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. The Court therefore dismisses the
Complaint with permission to file an Amended Complaint by
June 29, 2016.
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)
cases in which a party is permitted to proceed in forma
pauperis -that is, the party lacks the means to pay
court fees-Congress provided that a district court
"shall dismiss the case at any time if the court
determines" that the "allegation of poverty is
untrue" or that the "action or appeal" 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). Section 1915(e) applies
to all in forma pauperis proceedings. Lopez v.
Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000). "It is
also clear that section 1915(e) not only permits but requires
a district court to dismiss an in forma pauperis
complaint that fails to state a claim." Id. at
Subject Matter Jurisdiction and Pleading in Federal Court
state courts, federal courts only have jurisdiction over a
limited number of cases, and those cases typically involve
either a controversy between citizens of different states
("diversity jurisdiction") or a question of federal
law ("federal question jurisdiction"). See
28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332. The United States Supreme Court has
stated that a federal court must not disregard or evade the
limits on its subject matter jurisdiction. Owen Equip. &
Erections Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 374 (1978). Thus,
a federal court is obligated to inquire into its subject
matter jurisdiction in each case and to dismiss a case when
subject matter jurisdiction is lacking. See
Valdez v. Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1116
(9th Cir. 2004); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) provides that a complaint must
include "a short and plain statement of the grounds for
the court's jurisdiction" and "a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief." In other words, to proceed in
federal court, a plaintiff must allege enough in the
complaint for the court to conclude it has subject matter
jurisdiction. See Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R.
Miller, 5 Fed. Practice & Procedure § 1206 (3d ed.
2014). The complaint must also 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 Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
Complaint alleges that Defendant Bridget Wicks, a Nurse
Practitioner at the Guidance Center in Flagstaff, Arizona,
conducted an HIV test of Plaintiff despite his explicit
statement that he did not want to be tested. (Compl. at 2-4.)
He alleges that Ms. Wicks violated his civil rights in so
doing. (Compl. at 3-4.) Applying a benefit-of-any-doubt
standard to this claim, the Court assumes that Plaintiff
attempts to bring a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which
provides for a private right of action against a state actor
for a constitutional violation.
state a § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must first allege state
action. Determining whether an entity is subject to suit
under § 1983 is the "same question posed in cases
arising under the Fourteenth Amendment: is the alleged
infringement of federal rights fairly attributable to the
[government]?" Sutton v. Providence St. Joseph Med.
Ctr., 192 F.3d 826, 835 (9th Cir. 1999) (citing
Rendell-Baker v. Kohn, 457 U.S. 830, 838 (1982)).
For a court to answer this question in the affirmative, a
plaintiff must show that two requirements are met: (1) the
deprivation to the plaintiff by the entity "must result
from a governmental policy, " and (2) "the party
charged with the deprivation must be a person who may fairly
be said to be a [governmental] actor." Id.
the allegations in the Complaint do not meet either
requirement. The Complaint contains no allegations that the
procedures used by Ms. Wicks are part of a governmental
policy. Moreover, Ms. Wicks, is, based on the information
available to the Court, not a governmental actor.
Accordingly, Plaintiff fails to allege a state action
sufficient to raise a § 1983 claim. See id. at
Court cannot discern any other federal claim based on
Plaintiff's Complaint. The Court also does not find that
the Complaint alleges any state law claim relying on
diversity jurisdiction, but the Court notes that such a claim
would fail because Plaintiff has not alleged that his claim
involves a controversy between citizens of different states.
Rather, he only alleges that he lives in Arizona and that the
incident and Defendant's actions took place in Arizona.
Plaintiff's claims fail because he does not allege facts
sufficient for the Court to find it has subject matter
jurisdiction over his claims. Plaintiff may amend his
Complaint to the extent he can allege subject matter
jurisdiction by either showing his claims involve a
controversy between citizens of different states, and the
amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, or a question of
federal law, identifying the specific claim and what statute