United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable John J. Tuchi, United States District Judge.
issue are pro se Plaintiff Chester Lee Marks's
Complaint (Doc. 1, Compl.) and Application to Proceed in
District Court without Prepaying Fees or Costs (Doc. 2).
Having determined that Plaintiff does not have the means to
pay the Court's fees in this case, the Court will grant
the Application. However, as set forth below, upon screening
Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2), the Court has found that the Complaint fails to
state claims and demonstrate the Court's subject matter
jurisdiction. The Court will therefore dismiss the Complaint.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)
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.
Rule 8, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
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)). 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).
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.
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).
Complaint, Plaintiff states that the Court has subject matter
jurisdiction in this case under the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
42 U.S.C. §§ 554 and 2000e, “civil rights
78-civil rights 781, V and statutes 78 K 1554, ” 28
U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332, and 28 U.S.C. §§
1441 and 1607. (Compl. ¶ 1.) The Civil Rights Act of
1964 and 42 U.S.C. § 2000e are the bases for
jurisdiction over a claim of discrimination in the context of
employment, and Plaintiff raises no such claim here. The
other statute Plaintiff cites, 42 U.S.C. § 554, does not
exist. “Civil rights 78-civil rights 781, V and
statutes 78 K 1554” are not identifiable to the Court,
and the Court cannot determine to what Plaintiff is
referring. The removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1441, and
the statute providing that foreign states are not entitled to
immunity for counterclaims, 28 U.S.C. § 1607, also bear
no relation to Plaintiff's claims in the Complaint.
leaves 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332 as possible bases
for subject matter jurisdiction here. Diversity jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 arises when there is a
controversy between citizens of different states. Plaintiff
has not alleged that he and Defendants are citizens of
different states-indeed, he alleges that all parties are
citizens of Arizona-so diversity jurisdiction does not apply
question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 arises when
a plaintiff alleges a claim under federal law. In the
Complaint, Count One is a tort claim against Defendant Amber
Dixon, which arises under Arizona state law, not federal law.
(Compl. ¶¶ 32-33.) Count One thus provides no basis
for jurisdiction in federal court. Counts Two, Three and Four
are against an arbitrator, a state court judge, and a state
clerk of court for alleged actions they took in their
respective roles, and Plaintiff alleges these claims arise
under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the
Constitution. (Compl. ¶¶ 34-44.)
Plaintiff does not so state in the Complaint, such claims
could only arise under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983
provides for a private right of action against a state actor
for a constitutional violation. In Count Two, Plaintiff does
not allege that arbitrator John L. Stoss is a state actor,
nor is such an allegation plausible when considering