United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable John J. Tuchi, United States District Judge.
issue is pro se Plaintiff Paul Broxton's Amended
Complaint (Doc. 9). Upon screening Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint (Doc. 9) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2),
the Court finds that the Complaint fails to state the grounds
for the Court's subject matter jurisdiction. The Court
therefore dismisses the Complaint with permission to re-file,
if Plaintiff can cure its jurisdictional deficiencies, no
later than March 12, 2019.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)
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.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction in Federal Court
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.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) provides that “[a]
pleading that states a claim for relief must contain: (1) a
short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's
jurisdiction.” In other words, to proceed in federal
court, a plaintiff must allege enough in the complaint for
the court to conclude it has subject matter jurisdiction.
See Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller,
5 Fed. Practice & Procedure § 1206 (3d ed.
dismissal of Plaintiff's first Complaint on January 9,
2019, little has changed in the Amended Complaint. Plaintiff
now has a statement of the grounds for this Court's
subject matter jurisdiction, as required by Rule 8(a), but
the statement is insufficient to establish jurisdiction.
Plaintiff alleges “violations of my civil rights . . .
[HIPAA] violations on federal statutes/religious freedom . .
. not listening to me about according to my church.”
(Doc. 9 at 3.)
Plaintiff refers to the federal statute known as HIPAA-the
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-the Court
understands Plaintiff's claim to be one for an invasion
of his right to privacy under Arizona law. And while in some
instances plaintiffs have been able to seek redress for
alleged HIPAA violations under state law, HIPAA itself does
not provide for a private right of action. Webb v. Smart
Document Solutions, LLC, 499 F.3d 1078, 1081 (9th Cir.
2007); see also 29 U.S.C. § 1181 et
seq. That portion of Plaintiff's Complaint thus
raises only a state law claim, if any claim at all, and not
one arising under federal law.
also alleges “violations of my civil rights” and
refers specifically to federal statutes pertaining to
religious freedom. (Doc. 9 at 3.) But these allegations are
unclear and do not confer subject matter jurisdiction on the
Court. Applying a benefit-of-any-doubt standard to this
claim, the Court assumes that Plaintiff attempts to bring a
claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides for a
private right of action against a state actor for a
constitutional violation. To state a § 1983 claim, a
plaintiff must first allege state action. Determining whether
an entity is subject to suit under § 1983 is the
“same question posed in cases arising under the
Fourteenth Amendment: is the alleged infringement of federal
rights fairly attributable to the [government]?”
Sutton v. Providence St. Joseph Med. Ctr., 192 F.3d
826, 835 (9th Cir. 1999) (citing Rendell-Baker v.
Kohn, 457 U.S. 830, 838 (1982)). For a court to answer
this question in the affirmative, a plaintiff must show that
two requirements are met: (1) the deprivation to the
plaintiff by the entity “must result from a
governmental policy, ” and (2) the “the party
charged with the deprivation must be a person who may fairly
be said to be a [governmental] actor.” Id.
Plaintiff makes no attempt to identify any of the defendants
as state actors and thus has not satisfied the requirements
to bring a § 1983 claim.
Plaintiff's claims were cognizable under federal law,
they do not provide specific allegations against each
Defendant. A plaintiff may not collectively accuse multiple
defendants of committing misdeeds through a failure to
attribute any specific act to a specific defendant. Such
group pleading fails to comply with Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8(a)(2) because it does not give fair notice of the
claims against each defendant with the requisite specificity.
Riehle v. Bank of America, N. A., No.
CV-12-00251-PHX-NVW, 2013 WL 1694442, at *2 (D. Ariz. Apr.
18, 2013). Plaintiff must allege specifically how each
Defendant violated his constitutional rights by acting under
the color of state law. In his Complaint, Plaintiff does not
allege any cognizable wrongdoing against Defendant Mirza,
accuses Defendant Western Arizona Regional Medical Center
only of “bullying, ” and alleges wrongdoing on
the part of others not named as Defendants. (Doc. 9 at 4.)
Collectively, these sparse allegations fail to provide
sufficient notice to any Defendant of the claims against
defective complaint can be cured, the plaintiff is entitled
to amend the complaint before the action is dismissed.
Lopez v. Smith,203 F.3d 1122, 1127-30 (9th Cir.
2000). Here, the Court will give Plaintiff one last
opportunity to amend his Complaint, but any Second Amended
Complaint must meet the ...