United States District Court, D. Arizona
G. Campbell United States District Judge.
John Priestley, Jr., apparently as a beneficiary of the John
Priestley, Sr. Trust, filed his complaint in this case on
November 28, 2016. Doc. 1. He has also filed an amended
application to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”).
Doc. 11. The Court will grant his application for IFP status,
screen his complaint, and dismiss the complaint for failure
to state a claim.
proceedings, a district court “shall dismiss the case
at any time if the court determines that . . . the action . .
. fails to state a claim on which relief can be
granted[.]” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). While much of
§ 1915 concerns prisoner litigation, § 1915(e)
applies to all IFP proceedings. Lopez v. Smith, 203
F.3d 1122, 1126 n.7 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). “Section
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) . . . allows a district court to dismiss
sua sponte . . . a complaint that fails to state a
claim[.]” Id. at 1130. “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 1127. A district court
dismissing a case under this section “should grant
leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was
made, unless it determines that the pleading could not
possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts.”
Id. at 1127-29 (citations omitted).
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
“[a] pleading that states a claim for relief must
contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). This short and plain statement “need
not contain detailed factual allegations; rather, it must
plead ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Clemens v.
DaimlerChrysler Corp., 534 F.3d 1017, 1022 (9th Cir.
2008) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007)); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“The plausibility standard . . .
asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully”). Legal conclusions couched as
factual allegations are not given a presumption of
truthfulness and “conclusory allegations of law and
unwarranted inferences are not sufficient.” Pareto
v. F.D.I.C., 139 F.3d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1998).
Dismissal is appropriate where the complaint lacks a
cognizable legal theory, lacks sufficient facts alleged under
a cognizable legal theory, or contains allegations disclosing
some absolute defense or bar to recovery. See Balistreri
v. Pacifica Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.
1988); Weisbuch v. County of L.A., 119 F.3d 778,
783, n.1 (9th Cir. 1997).
claims appear to be focused on two houses in Buckeye,
Arizona, that previously were held in the John Priestly, Sr.
Trust. Plaintiff sues the Internal Revenue Service, an
Oklahoma Indian tribe, the Public Integrity Section of the
United Sates Department of Justice, two judges, some
attorneys, and others. His 36-page complaint contains a
somewhat rambling narrative that appears to allege various
wrongs committed by Defendants, including fraud upon lending
institutions, breach of fiduciary duties, money laundering,
and violations of the RICO statutes. The complaint describes
a case, apparently filed in the Cleveland County, Oklahoma,
where Plaintiff claims to have received a default judgment
against “Successor Trustee A” of the trust.
Plaintiff requests that the Court enter some order barring
action by the United States District Court for the Western
District of Oklahoma, an accounting of the trust, a criminal
investigation, and other forms of relief that re not clear.
complaint contains virtually no facts in support of these
claims. Attached to the complaint are copies of
correspondence to Plaintiff from Rick D. Moore and
Associates, dated May 19, 2016; a handwritten note to
“Dear Ms. Adams” from Plaintiff, dated May 23,
2016; an order from the United States District Court for the
Western District of Oklahoma allowing in forma pauperis
appearance by a party to Case No. 16-1234-W, dated November
14, 2016; a December 6, 2004 letter to Mr. Andrew Fairbow,
Special Agent, FBI from Rick Moore, CEO/General Counsel,
Indigenous Nations Federal Charter Association; and a Letter
3618 (04-2002) from the Internal Revenue Service. It is
unclear how these documents relate to Plaintiff's
complaint fails clearly to state the basis for this
Court's jurisdiction, is difficult to understand,
contains few facts, and fails to state a plausible claim for
relief. The complaint also fails to state the legal nature of
Plaintiff's claim or the actions of Defendants that give
rise to liability. The Court will dismiss the complaint for
failure to state a claim.
Leave to Amend and Plaintiff's Obligations.
pro se litigant must be given leave to amend his or her
complaint unless it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies
of the complaint could not be cured by amendment.”
Karim-Panahi v. L.A. Police Dep't, 839 F.2d 621,
623 (9th Cir. 1988). The Court will dismiss the complaint
without prejudice and allow Plaintiff to file an amended
complaint that properly states a claim for relief. Plaintiff
shall have until February 24, 2017 to file
an amended complaint.
is advised that he must become familiar with, and follow, the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Rules of the United
States District Court for the District of Arizona
(“Local Rules”), which may be obtained in the
Clerk of Court's office. For purposes of the amended
complaint, Plaintiff is directed to Rule 8 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8(a) provides that a complaint
“must contain (1) a short and plain statement of the
grounds for the court's jurisdiction, . . . (2) a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, and (3) a demand for the relief
sought.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). These pleading requirements
shall be set forth in separate and discrete paragraphs. Rule
8(d) provides that each such paragraph “must be simple,
concise, and direct.” Fed. R Civ. P. 8(d)(1).
“short and plain statement of the claim” required
by Rule 8(a)(2) must not only designate a cause of action,
but must also include enough factual allegations to render
the claim plausible. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677. Such
factual allegations must provide enough information to
“allow the court to draw the reasonable inference
that the defendant[s are] liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. at 678.
Plaintiff fails to prosecute this action or to comply with
the rules or any Court order, the Court may dismiss the
action with prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 41(b). See Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d
1258, 1260-61 (9th Cir. 1992) (holding that the district
court did not abuse its discretion ...