United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
HELIO J. LEAL DE LA HOZ, Plaintiff,
SPRINT CORPORATION, Defendant.
HONORABLE JOHN C. COUGHENOUR JUDGE
se Plaintiff Helio J. Leal de la Hoz has been granted
leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this matter
(Dkt. No. 1). Plaintiff first filed a complaint against
Defendant on September 12, 2017. (No. C17-1362-JCC, Dkt. No.
4.) The Court dismissed the complaint without prejudice,
finding no basis for subject matter
jurisdiction. (No. C17-1362-JCC, Dkt. No. 6.) Plaintiff
re-filed his complaint on March 6, 2018, addressing the
issues raised by the Court in its prior
dismissal. (Dkt. No. 5.) Summons has not yet been
issued, and the Court reviews Plaintiff's filing pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
re-alleges facts asserted in his prior complaint.
(Compare No. C17-1362-JCC, Dkt. No. 4, with
No. C18-0340-JCC, Dkt. No. 5.) He states that he attempted to
make a $40 payment on his Sprint bill at a Seattle Sprint
location, but when the payment was processed, it was credited
to an account not belonging to him. (Dkt. No. 5-1 at 1.) When
he brought the mistake to the attention of the store clerk
and manager, they refused to correct it or to refund the
payment and mistreated him. (Id.) Plaintiff's
amended complaint adds that this treatment amounted to an
attempt to murder him through a “cognitive dissonance
attack.” (Dkt. No. 5-1 at 5.) He alleges resulting
“adrenaline poisoning” and additional harm based
on lack of access to a cell phone. (Id.) Plaintiff
seeks “restitution, payment of damages, and exemplary
punishment” totaling $3, 004, 561, 840.00. (Dkt. No.
5-1 at 11.)
federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, a
plaintiff must establish that his case is properly filed in
federal court. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.,
511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994); In re Ford Motor Co./Citibank
(South Dakota), N.A., 264 F.3d 952, 957 (9th Cir. 2001).
At the pleading stage, this burden must be met by pleading
sufficient allegations to show a proper basis for the federal
court to assert subject matter jurisdiction over the action.
McNutt v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S.
178, 189 (1936). Additionally, 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. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). 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 sufficient to support subject matter
jurisdiction in this Court. For the Court to have
jurisdiction based on diversity, parties must be residents of
different states and the amount in controversy must exceed
$75, 000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff has
amended his complaint to request an award of $3, 004, 561,
840-a sum that includes $2, 00, 001, 200 in “exemplary
punitive damages, ” $1, 000, 000, 600 in compensatory
damages, and attorney fees for thousands of hours spent
litigating his case at an hourly rate of $500. (Dkt. No. 5-1
claim for $3, 000, 001, 800 in damages is facially frivolous.
The facts pled do not support a plausible basis for the
amount of compensatory or punitive damages sought.
(See Dkt. No. 5-2) (Plaintiff requests approximately
$1 billion in compensatory damages for “bodily injury
on account of potentially lethal adrenaline poisoning . . .
[and] assault with intent to commit murder” and
property damages for “lost evidence” and
inability “to access [an] iCloud drive”);
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 325 (a “frivolous”
complaint may include “inarguable legal
[conclusions]” and “fanciful factual
[allegations]”); State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v.
Campbell, 538 U.S. 408, 425 (2003) (“few awards
exceeding a single-digit ratio between punitive and
compensatory damages, to a significant degree, will satisfy
due process”). Furthermore, Plaintiff's claim for
attorney fees is not supported by 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
a pro se civil rights litigant is not entitled to
attorney fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Plaintiff cites
no statute or precedent to suggest he is entitled to such
Plaintiff's additional amendments fail to cure
jurisdictional deficiencies. Plaintiff's allegations that
Defendant violated federal and state criminal law do not
provide a basis for federal jurisdiction over this civil
case. (See Dkt. No. 5-1 at 7-9.) Finally,
Plaintiff's claim that the United States Government is a
defendant in this case is not supported by the record. (Dkt.
No. 5-1 at 6.) The complaint does not name the United States
as a defendant, nor does Plaintiff put forward any facts
stating a claim against the Government. See Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
earlier order, the Court gave Plaintiff 30 days to file an
amended complaint to fix the above-mentioned deficiencies,
but he failed to do so. (No. C17-1362-JCC, Dkt. No. 5.) Based
on the facts in the record, the Court determines that further
amendment will not cure 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). The Clerk is
DIRECTED to close the 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 this deficiency and providing an opportunity to
amend; Plaintiff failed to respond within the allotted time.
(No. C17-1362-JCC, Dkt. Nos. 5, 6.)
 Plaintiff's newly-filed complaint
details why he could not timely respond to the Court's
order to show cause. (Dkt. No. 5-1 at 3.) The Court is
sympathetic to the limitations Plaintiff faces, but notes
that the prior complaint was not dismissed solely because
Plaintiff did not meet its 30-day deadline; without