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Jones v. Bank of America NA

United States District Court, D. Arizona

December 8, 2017

James Jones, Plaintiff,
v.
Bank of America NA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Honorable John J. Tuchi, United States District Judge.

         At issue is pro se Plaintiff James Jones's Application for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 2) and Motion for Service (Doc. 4). Having determined that Plaintiff is unable to pay the Court's fees, the Court grants the Application (Doc. 2). However, as set forth below, upon screening Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court finds that the Complaint fails to state a claim and dismisses it without prejudice.

         I. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)

         For 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 1127. “The standard for determining whether a plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standard for failure to state a claim.” Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012).

         B. Subject Matter Jurisdiction in Federal Court

         Unlike 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). To proceed in federal court, a plaintiff must allege enough in the complaint for the court to conclude it has subject matter jurisdiction. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a); Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, 5 Fed. Practice & Procedure § 1206 (3d ed. 2014).

         C. Sufficiency of a Claim

         A complaint must include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The complaint must 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)). The Court is to construe a pro se plaintiff's complaint “liberally” and afford the plaintiff “the benefit of any doubt.” Watison, 668 F.3d at 1112 (citation omitted). For purposes of dismissal, the court considers only allegations contained in the complaint and those exhibits attached to the complaint. Parks Sch. of Bus., Inc. v. Symington, 51 F.3d 1480, 1484 (9th Cir. 1995).

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Sufficiency of the Complaint

         Upon review of Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1, Compl.), the Court finds that the Complaint fails to comply with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 10(b). Rule 8(a) requires that:

A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief, whether an original claim, counter-claim, cross-claim, or third-party claims, shall contain (1) a short and plain statement of the grounds upon which the court's jurisdiction depends, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new grounds of jurisdiction to support it, (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and (3) ...

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