United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable John J. Tuchi, United States District Judge
issue are pro se Plaintiff Destiny Johnson'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 a claim and the basis for the Court's subject
matter jurisdiction. The Court will therefore dismiss the
Complaint with leave to amend.
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 federal
question jurisdiction but fails to state the basis for the
Court's jurisdiction by neglecting to identify the
federal statute, treaty, or provision of the United States
Constitution at issue in this case. (Compl. at 3.) The Court
must dismiss the Complaint for this reason alone, but
Plaintiff may file an Amended Complaint to identify the basis
of the Court's jurisdiction.
has also failed to allege enough facts to state a claim.
Plaintiff states that she was terminated from employment with
non-party Peckham Inc. by the U.S. Department of State and
that the termination was based on discrimination on account
of her disabilities. (Compl. at 4.) Among other damages,
Plaintiff seeks lost wages and compensation for a lost
retirement fund. (Compl. at 4.) It is unclear from the
allegations how a government agency fired Plaintiff from her
employment with an apparently private enterprise. Moreover,
if Plaintiff was an employee of Peckham Inc., it is unclear
how Plaintiff can seek lost wages from a government agency in
lieu of her employer.
example, Plaintiff is attempting to bring an employment
discrimination case, she must allege sufficient facts to
identify the employment relationship, describe the employment
conduct of the named Defendants-Secretary Michael R. Pompeo
and Director Gregory B. Smith-that was discriminatory, and
state when the conduct occurred. As indicated above,
Plaintiff must also state the statute or other legal
authority under which she is suing Defendants, who are
federal government employees.
Plaintiff is attempting to sue Defendants under Title VII,
“a plaintiff is required to exhaust his or her
administrative remedies before seeking adjudication of a
Title VII claim.” Lyons v. England, 307 F.3d
1092, 1103 (9th Cir. 2002) (citations omitted); see
also 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1). “Exhaustion
of administrative remedies under Title VII requires that the
complainant file a timely charge with the [Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)], thereby
allowing the agency time to investigate the charge.”
Lyons, 307 F.3d at 1104 (citing 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-5(b)). The statute requires that an EEOC charge be
filed within ...