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Kenney v. Quality Publications

United States District Court, D. Arizona

January 31, 2019

Anthony C. Kenney, Plaintiff,
v.
Quality Publications, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Honorable John J. Tuchi, United States District Judge.

         At issue is pro se Plaintiff Anthony C. Kenney's Motion to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (Doc. 2). Having determined that Plaintiff is unable to pay the Court's fees, the Court grants the Application. However, as set forth below, upon screening Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court finds that the Complaint does not conform with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court therefore dismisses the Complaint with permission to re-file no later than February 11, 2019.

         I. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)

         For cases in which a party is permitted to proceed in forma pauperis, Congress provides 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. 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).

         C. 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).

         II. ANALYSIS

         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) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a).

         “Each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). Furthermore, 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)). 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 ...


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