United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
B. Leighton, United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on pro se Plaintiff
McCracken's Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis
[Dkt. #1] and on her Motion for Order of Service by the U.S.
Marshall [Dkt. #14]. McCracken has since paid the filing fee,
and her IFP application is thus moot. It is therefore DENIED.
Motion for Service is also DENIED, as she does not have
in forma pauperis status. See 28 U.S.C.
§1915. Furthermore, and in any event, the IFP
application would have been denied. It facially fails to
state a plausible claim, and fails to identify the basis for
this Court's jurisdiction over the subject matter or the
district court may permit indigent litigants to proceed
in forma pauperis upon completion of a proper
affidavit of indigency. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a). The Court has broad discretion in resolving the
application, but “the privilege of proceeding in
forma pauperis in civil actions for damages should be
sparingly granted.” Weller v. Dickson, 314
F.2d 598, 600 (9th Cir. 1963), cert. denied 375 U.S.
845 (1963). Moreover, a court should “deny leave to
proceed in forma pauperis at the outset if it
appears from the face of the proposed complaint that the
action is frivolous or without merit.” Tripati v.
First Nat'l Bank & Trust, 821 F.2d 1368, 1369
(9th Cir. 1987) (citations omitted); see also 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). An in forma pauperis
complaint is frivolous if “it ha[s] no arguable
substance in law or fact.” Id. (citing
Rizzo v. Dawson, 778 F.2d 527, 529 (9th Cir. 1985);
see also Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1228
(9th Cir. 1984).
pro se Plaintiff's complaint is to be construed
liberally, but like any other complaint it must nevertheless
contain factual assertions sufficient to support a
facially plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d
868 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007))
(emphasis added). A claim for relief is facially plausible
when “the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant
is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678.
federal court may dismiss sua sponte under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) when it is clear that the plaintiff has
not stated a claim upon which relief may be granted. See
Omar v. Sea-Land Serv., Inc., 813 F.2d 986, 991 (9th
Cir.1987) (“A trial court may dismiss a claim sua
sponte under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Such a dismissal may
be made without notice where the claimant cannot possibly win
relief.”). See also Mallard v. United States Dist.
Court, 490 U.S. 296, 307-08 (1989) (there is little
doubt a federal court would have the power to dismiss
frivolous complaint sua sponte, even in absence of
an express statutory provision). A complaint is frivolous
when it has no arguable basis in law or fact. Franklin v.
Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1228 (9th Cir. 1984).
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is a
threshold issue that must be raised sua sponte.
Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environment, 523
U.S. 83, 94-95 (1998). A federal court must have subject
matter jurisdiction, which can be established by either the
existence of a federal question or complete diversity of
citizenship of the parties. 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 1332. A
court is presumed to lack subject matter jurisdiction until a
plaintiff establishes otherwise. Kokkonen v. Guardian
Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375 (1994). See
also Terwilleger v. Soriano, No. C17-5624 RJB, 2017 WL
3424925, at *3 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 9, 2017).
complaint is facially frivolous. It is impossible to
comprehend, and no reader (or defendant, or court) can
possibly discern what she is actually complaining about: Who
did what that harmed her, when, where, why, and how? Why that
is actionable under some law, in this court? What is the
basis of this Court's jurisdiction over the subject
matter or the parties?
complaint answers none of these basic inquiries. It instead
consists mostly of long lists of case names and statutes and
(questionable) legal principles. There is a cryptic reference
to a prior (ongoing?) Oregon state court litigation that may
involve some of the same parties, and it appears that she
seeks to sue the judge in that case, here. But the actual
facts of the underlying dispute or claim or problem are not
claims are insufficient as a matter of law. First, this Court
cannot and will not review or reverse decisions made in state
court. The Rooker-Feldman doctrine precludes
“cases brought by state-court losers complaining of
injuries caused by state-court judgments . . . and inviting
district court review and rejection of those
judgments.” Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi
Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005). [W]hen
a losing plaintiff in state court brings a suit in federal
district court asserting as legal wrongs the allegedly
erroneous legal rulings of the state court and seeks to
vacate or set aside the judgment of that court, the federal
suit is a forbidden de facto appeal. Noel v.
Hall, 341 F.3d 1148, 1156 (9th Cir. 2003); Carmona
v. Carmona, 603 F.3d 1041, 1050 (9th Cir. 2008).
the doctrine of judicial immunity has a long and consistent
history. Indeed, it has been called “a seemingly
impregnable fortress in American Jurisprudence.”
Pierson .v Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 554 (1967). Like other
forms of official immunity, judicial immunity is an immunity
from suit, not just from ultimate assessment of damages.
Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 526 (1985).
judicial immunity is not overcome by allegations of bad faith
or malice, the existence of which ordinarily cannot be
resolved without engaging in discovery and eventual trial.
Pierson v. Ray, 87 S.Ct. at 1218 (“[I]mmunity
applies even when the judge is accused of acting maliciously
and corruptly”). See also Harlow v.
Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 815-819 (1982) (allegations of
malice are insufficient to overcome qualified immunity).
Thus, this court will not review the Oregon state court
decisions, and McCracken cannot sue here the judge in that
case for decisions he made there.
not appear that McCracken can plausibly state a claim arising
out of the Oregon state law case, or against the Oregon
Judge(s) in that case. Nevertheless, in lieu of outright
dismissal on the grounds outlined above, the Court will
instead ORDER McCracken to file a
dramatically revised AMENDED COMPLAINT
addressing the above deficiencies within 21
days or this matter will be
DISMISSED without further notice. If any