United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND RENOTING MOTION TO
PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Frances Du
Ju's (“Plaintiff”) motion to proceed in
forma pauperis (Dkt. 1) and proposed complaint (Dkt.
December 29, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant motion and
proposed complaint. Id. Plaintiff's claims are
based on factual allegations involving the foreclosure and
eviction from her home. In June of 2013, Plaintiff's home
was sold at a foreclosure sale. Dkt. 1-1, ¶ 4.5. In July
of 2013, Defendant John O'Neill filed an unlawful
detainer action in Clark County Superior Court. Id.
¶ 4.6. The court issued a writ, and the sheriff was
asked to enforce the writ by removing Plaintiff from her
home. Id. ¶¶ 4.7-4.9. The sheriff arrested
Plaintiff and booked her into jail. Id. ¶¶
4.9-4.10. Plaintiff was appointed counsel, and the case
proceeded to a jury trial with the jury returning a verdict
of guilty. Id. ¶¶ 4.14-4.20. The court
sentenced Plaintiff to ten days of community service.
Id. ¶ 4.20. Plaintiff unsuccessfully appealed
the conviction and sentence through the state courts and
eventually to the United States Supreme Court. Id.
¶¶ 4.23- 4.28. It seems that Plaintiff failed to
complete her sentence of community service, and the City of
Vancouver police arrested her. Id. ¶ 4.45.
Plaintiff spend four days in jail and asserts that the
conditions of confinement violated her rights. Id.
¶¶ 4.45-4.50. After Plaintiff was released from
jail, the Clark County Superior Court altered her sentence to
time served and removed probation requirements. Id.
¶¶ 4.51-4.52. Based on these allegations, Plaintiff
asserts ten causes of action ranging from constitutional
violations to violations of the code of judicial conduct.
Id. ¶¶ 5.1-13.3.
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); W.D. Wash. Local Rules LCR 3(b). However, the
“privilege of pleading in forma pauperis . . .
in civil actions for damages should be allowed only in
exceptional circumstances.” Wilborn v.
Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328 (9th Cir. 1986). The court has
broad discretion in denying an application to proceed in
forma pauperis. Weller v. Dickson, 314 F.2d 598
(9th Cir. 1963), cert. denied 375 U.S. 845 (1963).
In this case, Plaintiff's affidavit and in forma
pauperis application show an inability to prepay fees
and costs. See Dkt. 1.
even if a party satisfies the financial requirements for
eligibility to proceed in forma pauperis, the
Court's review of the application and underlying
complaint is not complete. Under the in forma
pauperis statute, the Court must dismiss the case
sua sponte if it determines at any time that (1) the
allegation of poverty is untrue, (2) the action is frivolous
or malicious, (3) the complaint fails to state a viable
claim, or (3) the action seeks monetary relief against an
immune defendant. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
case, Plaintiff's complaint fails to state viable claims
on some issues, seeks monetary relief against numerous immune
defendants, and is frivolous in some instances. First,
Plaintiff may not state a claim under federal criminal
statutes, the state court rules, the rules of professional
conduct, the code of judicial conduct, or former President
Obama's convention speech. Therefore, the Court dismisses
with prejudice Plaintiffs' second, third, sixth, seventh,
eighth, and ninth causes of action.
Plaintiffs asserts claims against defendants that are immune
from suit. Judges and courts are entitled to absolute
judicial immunity. Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349,
356 (1978). Similarly, prosecutors are entitled to absolute
prosecutorial immunity, Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S.
409, 418 (1976), and public defenders are not state actors
for purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Polk Cty. v.
Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 325 (1981). Therefore, the Court
dismisses with prejudice all courts and prosecutors as
defendants and dismisses all constitutional claims against
all public defenders.
Plaintiff's claims based on alleged erroneous state-court
rulings are barred. The Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars
“cases brought by state-court losers complaining of
injuries caused by state-court judgments rendered before the
district court proceedings commenced and inviting district
court review and rejection of those judgments.”
Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544
U.S. 280, 284 (2005). Although it is not clear in her claims,
Plaintiff does seek the relief of vacating her state-court
judgment and expungement of her state-court criminal record.
Any claim based on these ruling and/or seeking such relief
are barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.
for the remaining claims, Plaintiff fails to state viable
claims. For example, Plaintiff only states the text of the
constitutional amendments in her first cause of action.
See Dkt. 1-1, ¶¶ 5.1-5.6. Such a vague
pleading violates the federal rules of procedure that require
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2). Without stating which defendant violated what right,
Plaintiff has failed to show that she is entitled to any
relief. Therefore, the Court dismisses the remainder of
remaining question is whether Plaintiff should be allowed
leave to amend. “[A] district court's denial of
leave to proceed in forma pauperis is an abuse of
discretion unless the district court first provides a
plaintiff leave to amend the complaint or finds that
amendment would be futile.” Rodriguez v.
Steck, 795 F.3d 1187, 1188 (9th Cir. 2015). In this
case, the Court is unable to conclude that any amendment
would be futile. Plaintiff may have conditions of confinement
claims that are within the statute of limitations and have
not been brought in any other action. Therefore, the Court
GRANTS Plaintiff leave to amend her complaint. An amended
complaint shall be filed no later than February 16, 2018 and