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Ali v. Cash Time Title Loan Centers

United States District Court, D. Arizona

November 29, 2017

Andre H. Ali, Plaintiff,
v.
Cash Time Title Loan Centers, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Honorable Bruce G. Macdonald United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Andre Ali, filed a pro se Complaint (Doc. 1) and did not immediately pay the $350.00 civil action filing fee, but filed an Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (Doc. 2).

         I. APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

         The Court may allow a plaintiff to proceed without prepayment of fees when it is shown by affidavit that he “is unable to pay such fees[.]” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Plaintiff's statement, made under penalty of perjury, establishes that Plaintiff receives disability benefits. The statement also indicates that Plaintiff's sole asset is his vehicle and his expenses nearly equal his income. The Court finds Plaintiff is unable to pay the fees. Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (Doc. 2) will be granted.

         II. STATUTORY SCREENING OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

         This Court is required to dismiss a case if the Court determines that the allegation of poverty is untrue, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(A), or if the Court determines that the action “(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         A pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief[.]” Rule 8(a), Fed.R.Civ.P. While Rule 8 does not demand detailed factual allegations, “it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. Where the pleader is pro se, however, the pleading should be liberally construed in the interests of justice. Johnson v. Reagan, 524 F.2d 1123, 1124 (9th Cir. 1975); see also Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). Nonetheless, a complaint must set forth a set of facts that serves to put defendants on notice as to the nature and basis of the claim(s). See Brazil v. U.S. Dept. of Navy, 66 F.3d 193, 199 (9th Cir. 1995).

         A “complaint [filed by a pro se plaintiff] ‘must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Hebbe, 627 F.3d at 342 (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam)). “Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions.” Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 513, 122 S.Ct. 992, 998, 152 L.Ed.2d 1 (2002). “Given the Federal Rules' simplified standard for pleading, ‘[a] court may dismiss a complaint only if it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations.'” Id. at 514, 122 S.Ct. at 998 (quoting Hison v. King & Spaulding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 104 S.Ct. 2229, 81 L.Ed.2d 59 (1984)) (alterations in original); see also Johnson, et al. v. City of Shelby, Mississippi, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 346, 346 (2014) (“Federal pleading rules call for ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ' Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 8(a)(2); they do not countenance dismissal of a complaint for imperfect statement of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted”).

         If the Court determines that a pleading could be cured by the allegation of other facts, a pro se litigant is entitled to an opportunity to amend a complaint before dismissal of the action. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127-29 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). The Court should not, however, advise the litigant how to cure the defects. This type of advice “would undermine district judges' role as impartial decisionmakers.” Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231 (2004); see also Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1131 n.13 (declining to decide whether the court was required to inform a litigant of deficiencies).

         III. COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff's Complaint appears to allege that Defendant attempted to illegally collect a debt, and refused to accept Plaintiff's nationality. Compl. (Doc. 1) at 4, 7. Plaintiff seeks eight (8) million dollars as compensation for these alleged wrongs. Id. at

         IV. SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION

         As an initial matter, this Court must consider whether it has jurisdiction to hear Mr. Ali's claims. “Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 1675, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). A district court has original jurisdiction “of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. This is known as federal question jurisdiction. District courts also have original jurisdiction “of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between (1) citizens of different States; (2) citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state; (3) citizens of different States and in which citizens or subjects of a foreign state are additional parties; and (4) a foreign state, defined in section 1603(a) of this title as plaintiff and citizens of a State or of different States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332. This is referred to as diversity jurisdiction.

         Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1) cannot support diversity jurisdiction as Plaintiff and Defendant are both citizens of Arizona. See Compl. (Doc. 1). Furthermore, Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1) is devoid of any facts to support that he is alleging a violation of federal law. See id. The Complaint (Doc. 1) uses terms such as “pain and suffering, ” “predatory lending, ” and “religious discrimination” without explanation as to the circumstances or relevance of the terms to any legal wrong. Id. at 4, 7. Plaintiff also indicates that Defendant allegedly “refuse[d] to accept [his] nationality” without further explanation. Id. at 7. Exhibits attached to the Complaint include a letter to President Obama ...


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