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Johnson v. Rembert

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

June 18, 2019

BRENDA M JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
TERRY LEE REMBERT, PIERCE COUNTY, JANA STEALING, DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT, Defendants.

          ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE OR AMEND THE COMPLAINT

          THERESA L. FRICKE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge and is before the Court on Plaintiff Brenda M. Johnson's (“plaintiff”) motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Dkt. 1) and proposed complaint (Dkt. 1-1). In light of the deficiencies in the complaint discussed below, the undersigned will not direct service of the complaint at this time. Plaintiff will be provided the opportunity by July 15, 2019 to show cause why the complaint should not be dismissed or to file an amended complaint. Plaintiff's application for IFP (Dkt. 1) shall be renoted for July 15, 2019.

         DISCUSSION

         A. Plaintiff's Proposed Complaint

         On June 11, 2019, plaintiff filed the instant motion and proposed complaint alleging negligence as well as numerous violations of her Constitutionally protected rights. Id. Plaintiff has named a number of defendants in her proposed complaint, including Terry Lee Rembert (“Rembert”), a Pierce County Corrections Officer and Johnson's ex-husband, Jana Stealing (“Stealing”), an employee of the “Department of Child Support”, “Pierce County Sherriff of Corrections” (presumably Pierce County Sheriff's Department) and “Department of Child Support” (presumably Washington State Department of Social and Health Services - Division of Child Support) (“DSHS”). Id.

         For the section of the proposed complaint titled “Statement of Claim, ” plaintiff states, “On (date) [sic] June 30, 1999, at (Pierce County) [sic] Pierce County Superior Court, the defendant(s) Terry Lee Rembert, Pierce County, Jana Stealing Department of Child Support: (1) performed acts that a person of ordinary prudence in the same or similar circumstance would not have done; or (2) failed to perform acts that a person of ordinary prudence would have done under the same or similar circumstances because …” (Dkt. 1-1 at 6.) Plaintiff then goes on to explain that shortly after dissolving her marriage with Rembert, Rembert petitioned for and received custody of their children. Id. Plaintiff also alleges that Rembert failed to make child support payments causing plaintiff to lose her home. Id. Plaintiff contends that the removal of her children and the foreclosure of her home constitute a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights and her right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Id.

         Next, plaintiff alleges that Rembert took, “approximately $6, 700 owed to Plaintiff from the IRS, ” and that “approx. $350.00 was taken from [plaintiff] in June 2016 when she worked for Amazon.” Id. Plaintiff concludes her allegations against Rembert by stating that, “Johnson finds Terry Lee Rembert liable for negligent [sic].” Id.

         Next, plaintiff contends that Pierce County, the State of Washington and the DSHS violated her Constitutionally protected rights. (Dkt. 1-1 at 7). Plaintiff states that she “tried to appeal such action and was denied her due process of the law [sic] in Pierce County through the State of Washington.” Id. Plaintiff does not identify what “action” she attempted to appeal. Id. Plaintiff also states that “DCS had no legal authority to break the laws” and that as a result of wrongdoing by the DSHS “her Fourteenth amendment rights fifth, [sic] amendment of due process of the law [sic] was violated.” Id. Plaintiff also alleges that she was not served with child support orders, “which broke the law by denying her right to defending [sic] her rights in a court of law.” Id. Finally, plaintiff alleges that the “Department of Child Support has failed to collect, enforce, and threaten Johnson [sic] with violations of her Constitutional rights for equal and fair treatment and due process of law.” Id.

         B. Standard of Review of a Proposed Complaint

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 8(a), a pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:

(1) A short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;
(2) A short and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief; and
(3) A demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.

         While the pleading standard under FRCP 8 “does not require ‘detailed factual allegations,' it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The pleading must contain more than “labels and conclusions” or “‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ...


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