United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
HELIO J. LEAL DE LA HOZ, Plaintiff,
KLEEN-TECH SERVICES CORPORATION, Defendant.
HONORABLE JOHN C. COUGHENOUR JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's motion to
appoint counsel (Dkt. No. 7). Pro se Plaintiff Helio
J. Leal de la Hoz has been granted leave to proceed in
forma pauperis in this matter (Dkt. No. 5), and asks the
Court to appoint him counsel (Dkt. No. 7). Plaintiff first
filed this complaint against Defendant on October 24, 2017.
(No. C17-1579-JCC, Dkt. No. 1.) This Court dismissed the
complaint without prejudice, finding that Plaintiff failed to
state a claim upon which relief could be
granted. (Id. at Dkt. No. 9.) Plaintiff
re-filed his complaint on March 5, 2018, addressing the
issues raised by the Court in its prior
dismissal. (Dkt. Nos. 1-2, 1-3.) Summons has not yet
been issued. The Court reviews Plaintiff's complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
re-alleges the facts asserted in his prior complaint.
(Compare No. C17-1579-JCC, Dkt. No. 1-1,
with No. C18-0341-JCC, Dkt. No. 1-2.) Plaintiff
asserts that Defendant, his former employer, wrongfully
withheld wages from his paycheck. (Dkt. No. 1-2 at 2.)
Plaintiff also asserts that the Colorado Department of Labor
investigated this issue and ultimately awarded him the unpaid
wages and a monetary penalty. (Id.) Plaintiff
attached documents to his complaint that show Defendant paid
him the wages and monetary penalty. (Dkt. Nos. 1-4, 1-11,
the apparent administrative resolution of his claim,
Plaintiff asserts that Defendant still owes him the unpaid
wages because he “could have incurred in debt” an
amount equal to the unpaid wages “counting on his
wages” being paid. (Dkt. No. 1-3 at 1.) Additionally,
Plaintiff asserts that Defendant owes him “the value in
dollars of the time spent resolving this matter . . . i.e.
the time spent resolving this matter as equivalent to hourly
attorney fees, FRCP 54(d)(2)(A-C).” (Id.)
Plaintiff claims he has spent over 4000 hours litigating this
claim and seeks millions of dollars in attorney fees.
(Id. at 2.) Finally, Plaintiff asks the Court to
impose exemplary damages totaling $100, 000, 000.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss an
in forma pauperis complaint at any time if the
action fails to state a claim, raises frivolous or malicious
claims, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. “[A] 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)). “A claim has facial plausibility 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. A claim is frivolous if it “lacks an arguable
basis in fact or law.” Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
has not alleged facts that demonstrate his claim for relief
is plausible. By Plaintiff's own admission, Defendant
made payments that “take care of unpaid wages and
penalties imposed by the Colorado Department of Labor.”
(Dkt. No. 1-2 at 2.) Plaintiff's claim that he
“could have incurred debt amounting to [the original
amount owed] counting on his wages” is entirely
hypothetical and does not give rise to a plausible inference
that Defendant is liable for misconduct. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678. Plaintiff cites to Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 54 and 56, but neither of those rules provide a
cause of action.
request for “the value in dollars of the time spent
resolving this matter . . . i.e. the time spent resolving
this matter as equivalent to hourly attorney fees” is
not supported by the law. Unless specified by a statute, a
pro se plaintiff is not entitled to an award of
attorney fees. See Gonzalez v. Kangas, 814 F.2d
1411, 1411-12 (9th Cir. 1987) (collecting cases finding that
a pro se civil rights litigant is not entitled to
attorneys' fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1983). An award of
attorney fees is a remedy, not a cause of action, and
Plaintiff cites no statute or precedent to suggest he is
entitled to such fees. Finally, Plaintiff's claim for
$100, 000, 000 in exemplary damages is facially frivolous.
See State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Campbell, 538
U.S. 408, 425 (2003) (“[F]ew awards exceeding a
single-digit ratio between punitive and compensatory damages,
to a significant degree, will satisfy due process.”).
additional allegations are facially frivolous and do not
support a claim for relief. (See generally, Dkt.
Nos. 1-7, 1-8, 1-9) (Discussing how plaintiff has been the
victim of “social engineering based intervention”
intended to steal his property, and that he has responded by
filing or reporting “over 50 complaints with different
legal agencies around the world.”) In short,
Plaintiff's complaint suffers from the same deficiencies
as his first complaint, in that he fails to allege plausible
facts or identify a cognizable legal theory that support his
claims. Even in applying the Ninth Circuit's directive to
construe pro se complaints liberally, the Court
cannot find that Plaintiff has stated a claim upon which
relief can be granted. See Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d
338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010).
earlier order, the Court gave Plaintiff 21 days to file an
amended complaint in order to fix the above-mentioned
deficiencies, but he failed to do so. (No. C17-1579-JCC, Dkt.
Nos. 8, 9.) Based on the facts in the record, the Court
determines that further amendment will not cure the
deficiencies in Plaintiff's claims. Therefore, the Court
DISMISSES Plaintiff's complaint with prejudice and
without leave to amend. See AmerisourceBergen Corp. v.
Dialysist West, Inc., 465 F.3d 946, 951 (9th Cir. 2006)
(a court need not grant leave to amend where amendment would
be futile). Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel
(Dkt. No. 7) is accordingly DENIED as moot. The Clerk is
DIRECTED to close this case.
Clerk shall send a copy of this order to Mr. de la Hoz at 77
S. Washington Street, Seattle, Washington 98104.
 The Court issued an order advising
Plaintiff of the complaint's deficiencies and providing
an opportunity to amend, but he failed to respond within the
allotted time. (No. C17-1362-JCC, Dkt. Nos. 8, 9.)
 Plaintiff's newly-filed complaint
details why he could not timely respond to the Court's
order to show cause. (Dkt. No. 1-2 at 3.) The Court is
understanding of Plaintiff's hardships, but notes that
the prior complaint was not dismissed solely because
Plaintiff did not meet its 21-day amendment deadline; ...