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Priestley v. Two Houses in Buckeye

United States District Court, D. Arizona

May 9, 2017

John Priestley, Jr., Plaintiff,
Two Houses in Buckeye, Maricopa County, AZ, et al., Defendants.


          David G. Campbell United States District Judge

         Plaintiff 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. On January 30, 2017, the Court screened Plaintiff's complaint, entered an order dismissing the complaint for failure to state a claim, and granted Plaintiff until February 24, 2017 to file an amended complaint. Doc. 12. The Court dismissed the amended complaint for failure to state a claim, failure to follow Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and failure to follow this Court's order of January 30, 2017. Id. Plaintiff was afforded one final opportunity to file an amended complaint in compliance of Rule 8 and this Court's orders (Docs. 12, 19). On May 1, 2017, Plaintiff filed his second amended complaint. Doc. 22. The Court has reviewed Plaintiff's second amended complaint, and will dismiss it without further leave to amend.

         I. Legal Standard.

         In IFP 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).

         II. Second Amended Complaint.

         As with the original and first amended complaints, Plaintiff's claims continue to focus on two houses in Buckeye, Arizona. Unlike the first two complaints, however, Plaintiff's second amended complaint names only two Defendants: Rick Dane Moore, Esq., and Patrick Priestly, successor trustee of the John J. Priestly Trust. See Doc. 22. The second amended complaint alleges a number of wrongs committed by other parties, including allegations that a judge “acting under color of law” violated Plaintiff's civil rights. Id. at 5-6. Plaintiff requests that the Court “allow hearing by telephone to review alleged racketeering acts; compare I.R.S. records available . . . [and] Appoint a Certified Fraud Analyst at Defendant's expense upon preliminary finding of fraud.” Id. at 19-20. Plaintiff also demands that the Court “abrogate the anti injunction act or follow 13-2314.04 B to prevent and restrain further abuse of Judicial power. . . . order replacement of the entire stock portfolio to be replaced . . . . [order Defendants to] cease and desist cutting trees/replace $20, 000[, ]” and grant other forms of relief that are not clear.

         Plaintiff alleges few new facts in his second amended complaint. See Doc. 22. Most are incomplete and fail to either identify the actor or provide needed context. Furthermore, the complaint frequently fails to connect Plaintiff's alleged facts to his claims. The amended complaint fails to state the basis for this Court's jurisdiction, the legal nature of Plaintiff's claim, or the actions of Defendants that give rise to liability.

         A. Rule 8.

         Rule 8 provides that a complaint should contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “Each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). A complaint that fails to comply with these requirements may be dismissed. See McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1179-80 (9th Cir. 1996).

         Plaintiff fails to allege specific facts showing how each Defendant violated the particular right at issue in a given count. Plaintiff scatters facts throughout the complaint and includes allegations that seem irrelevant.

         B. Immune Parties.

         Plaintiff does not name an immune party as a Defendant to the action, but the second amended complaint does allege claims against a judge. See Doc. 22 at 5-6. Specifically, Plaintiff states that “[t]he Plaintiff claims this Judge whose duty is to protect civil rights is acting under color of law. . .The actions of these Defendants in concert with a Judge acting under color of law violating due process entitles Plaintiff to vindication from this conviction and relief from any sentence, penalty or sanction imposed.” Id. Plaintiff appears to allege that an Oklahoma judge conspired with opposing parties to rule against Plaintiff. The Court need not sift through more because the judge in question is entitled to judicial immunity for decision made in the adjudication of cases. Forrester v. White, 484 U.S. 219, 227 (1988) (“When applied to the paradigmatic judicial acts involved in resolving disputes between parties who have invoked the jurisdiction of a court, the doctrine of absolute judicial immunity has not been particularly controversial.”) Because the violation Plaintiff alleges against the judge stems from a decision made from the bench, Plaintiff's claim may not stand.

         C. Federal Law Claims.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983, § 1985, § 1986, § 1988, “the Fifth, Sixth Amendments, and Fourteenth Amendments, Freedom of speech and Freedom of Association and Equal protection, and ...

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