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McCracken v. Shapiro & Sutherland LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

December 26, 2017

ELLEN M MCCRACKEN, Plaintiff,
v.
SHAPIRO & SUTHERLAND LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Ronald B. Leighton United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff McCracken's “Dramatically Amended Proposed Complaint” in support of her application to proceed in forma pauperis [Dkt. # 21] and on McCracken's Motion for Relief from Fraud and Emergency Injunctive Relief [Dkt. # 22]

         The latter motion asks this court to “restore her only financial asset (apparently, historic private residential property in Oregon), and implicitly suggests that there is some final order (apparently regarding the foreclosure of that property) in an Oregon Court that she claims was wrongly decided. There is not a final order in this case and it is wholly unclear what order she asks this court to vacate or otherwise relieve her from.

         It is clear, however, that this Court is not an appellate court. It cannot and will not review decisions of other courts, and Rule 60 does not give it the power to vacate the decision of some other 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, 125 S.Ct. 1517, 1521, 161 L.Ed.2d 454 (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 Motion for Relief from some unspecified fraud allegedly committed in another proceeding is DENIED. A Motion to correct such conduct is properly addressed to the court where it occurred, or to an appropriate appellate court after an appeal of the adverse judgment.

         McCracken's proposed amended complaint is 117 pages long. It purports to plausibly articulate the “who what when where and why” of her complaint against Shaprio & Sutherland, the law firm that apparently represented Wells Fargo in the still-unidentified underlying litigation or foreclosure proceeding. However, instead of telling a coherent story, identifying the parties and the facts, she continues to use conclusory labels, accusations and legal citations and quotations that have no apparent connection to any plausible factual story.

         McCracken has also attempted to add a host of new defendants (including this Court, for harming her by requiring an amended complaint) but there is no articulation of who they are or what they did, when, where, or why they did it, or with what actual, actionable effect on McCracken. Instead, there is page after page with passages like this:

         (Image Omitted)

         [Dkt. #21 at 50] The only thing that can be gleaned from this is that McCracken is objecting to Judge Panner's conduct in some other case. Labelling her claims “§1983 claims” does not change their essential character: she is seeking redress here for conduct that occurred in some other litigation.

         A 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).

         A 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)). 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.

         Ordinarily, the Court will permit pro se litigants an opportunity to amend their complaint in order to state a plausible claim. See United States v. Corinthian Colleges, 655 F.3d 984, 995 (9th Cir. 2011) (“Dismissal without leave to amend is improper unless it is clear, upon de novo review, that the complaint could not be saved by any amendment.”)

         McCracken's proposed amended complaint is a significant step away from meeting this standard. It continues to avoid addressing why this Court has jurisdiction to reverse or undo a foreclosure that apparently already took place in Oregon. That foreclosure apparently already resulted in litigation and an adverse outcome there-possibly as early as 2011, though there are references to a 2017 decision, as well. It remains entirely unclear what the law firm representing Wells Fargo actually factually did or why it was actionable. Instead the complaint simply repeats that McCracken is the victim of fraud, elder abuse and the like. She claims the law firm obtained a judgment without first acquiring in rem jurisdiction, but as described above (and previously) this Court cannot and will not review or reverse other courts' decisions. The rest is largely incomprehensible. There is no plausible claim ascertainable from McCracken's lengthy submittal, and the few facts that are alleged demonstrate that the claim is not viable in this Court.

         The Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis based on this proposed amended complaint is therefore DENIED. McCracken shall pay the filing fee within 21 days or this matter will be DISMISSED. All other pending Motions (and ...


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