United States District Court, D. Arizona
Stephen S. Edwards, Plaintiff,
Lakewood Community Association, Defendant.
Honorable John J. Tuchi United States District Judge.
issue are the Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 17), Motion for
Default Judgment (Doc. 21), and “Opposition and Rule
12(c) Motion for Judgment Against the Lakewood Community
(HOA)” (Doc. 22) filed by Plaintiff Stephen S. Edwards,
who proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis
in this matter.
cases such as the present one 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.
Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 17, “SAC”),
Plaintiff raises eight claims against two Defendants:
Lakewood Community Association and Maricopa County Superior
Court. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a 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)). Even where a complaint has the
factual elements of a cause of action present but scattered
throughout the complaint and not organized into a
“short and plain statement of the claim, ” it may
be dismissed for failure to satisfy Rule 8(a). Sparling
v. Hoffman Constr. Co., 864 F.2d 635, 640 (9th Cir.
1988). A dismissal for failure to state a claim can be based
on either (1) the lack of a cognizable legal theory or (2)
insufficient facts to support a cognizable legal claim.
Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d
696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). “[A] plaintiff's
obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his
‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted).
Maricopa County Superior Court is Not a Jural Entity
Arizona, a plaintiff may sue a government entity only if the
state legislature has granted that entity the power to sue or
be sued. Schwartz v. Superior Court, 925 P.2d 1068,
1070 (Ariz.Ct.App. 1996). Maricopa County Superior Court is a
non-jural entity-that is, it cannot be sued-and thus the
Court must dismiss Plaintiff's claims against the
Maricopa County Superior Court with prejudice and deny
Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment against Maricopa
County Superior Court. See Yamamoto v. Santa Cruz Cty.
Bd. of Supervisors, 606 P.2d 28, 29 (Ariz.Ct.App. 1979).
Count 1 - Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Count 1, Plaintiff apparently tries to raise a claim under
the FDCPA, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 et seq., and
apparently bases the claim on the placement of a judgment
lien on Plaintiff's property by the attorney for
Defendant Lakewood Community Association (hereafter,
“Defendant”). “As a threshold matter, the
FDCPA applies only to a debt collector who engages in
practices prohibited by the Act in an attempt to collect a
consumer debt.” Mansour v. Cal-Western Reconveyance
Corp., 618 F.Supp.2d 1178, 1182 (D. Ariz. 2009). None of
Plaintiff's factual allegations plausibly gives rise to a
claim that Defendant tried to collect a consumer debt from
Plaintiff or engaged in prohibited practices under the FDCPA
in doing so. The Court must thus dismiss this claim. Because
Plaintiff may be able to cure these defects by amendment, the
Court will dismiss the claim without prejudice. See Lopez
v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000).
Count 2 - Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Count 2, Plaintiff apparently tries to raise a claim under
the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. From the
allegations in the SAC, it is not apparent under which Title
of the ADA Plaintiff intends to proceed. Because Plaintiff
does not appear to be Defendant's employee, the Court
presumes Plaintiff is not proceeding under Title I. Nor does
Defendant appear to be a public entity, so Title II is
inapplicable. Title III, which applies to private entities
providing public services, requires entities to make
reasonable accommodations so that people with disabilities
can participate in and enjoy those services. See PGA
Tour, Inc. v. Martin, 532 U.S. 661, 674-77 (2001).
allegations in the SAC are wholly insufficient to state a
claim under Title III of the ADA. For example, no factual
allegations address what public services Defendant provides
or how Defendant failed to reasonably accommodate people with
disabilities in doing so. Instead, Plaintiff's
allegations are that Defendant “is operating illegally
as a for profit Community, ” followed by citations to
the Fair Housing Act. (SAC at 5-6.) The Court must thus
dismiss this claim, but will do so without prejudice. See
Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1130.
Count 3 - Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Count 3, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant engaged in extreme
and outrageous behavior by “prolonging litigation for 3
years based on Lies” by its lawyer. (SAC at 9.) Under
Arizona law, the tort of intentional infliction of emotional
distress requires proof of three elements: (1)
“extreme” or “outrageous” conduct on
the part of the defendant; (2) the defendant's intent to
cause emotional distress or reckless disregard of the near
certainty that such distress ...