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Ng v. Wong

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

September 24, 2019

SING CHO NG, Plaintiff,
v.
TERENCE K. WONG, et al. Defendants.

          ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE REGARDING SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION

          JAMES L. ROBART, United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the court is Plaintiff Sing Cho Ng’s complaint. (Compl. (Dkt. # 4).) Magistrate Judge Brian A. Tsuchida granted Mr. Ng leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) on August 30, 2019. (8/30/19 Order (Dkt. # 3).) However, Magistrate Judge Tsuchida also recommended that the court review complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) prior to issuing any summons. (See Id . at 1.)

         II. BACKGROUND

         Mr. Ng brings his complaint against a King County Superior Court Judge Janet Helson, a deputy clerk and a bailiff of King County Superior Court, an attorney who represented parties who were adverse to Mr. Ng in proceedings in King County Superior Court, and other “yet-be-identified [sic] King County Superior Court officials. (See Compl. at 1-2.) Although his complaint is disjointed and difficult to follow, he appears to be complaining about the results of two state court unlawful detainer actions filed to remove him from certain property. (See generally id.)

         This is the fourth action that Mr. Ng has filed in this court since 2017 against a related and overlapping group of defendants. See Ng. v. King King Ass’n, et al., No. C17-1515RAJ (“Ng I”); Ng. v. Metz, et al., No. C18-0690JCC (“Ng II”); Ng v. Metz, et al., No. C18-1212RSM (“Ng III”).

         Ng I addressed Mr. Ng’s claims related to his landlord’s rent increase and subsequent actions taken to evict Mr. Ng. (See generally, Ng I, Dkt. #4.) Mr. Ng maintained that his landlord acted in concert with other defendants to remove Mr. Ng from his apartment and allow a construction project to proceed. (Id.) On July 30, 2018, the court dismissed Ng I for failure to state a claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), with leave to amend. (See generally, id., Dkt. # 30.) Mr. Ng filed an amended complaint on August 22, 2018. (See id., Dkt. # 34.) On March 28, 2019, the court dismissed Mr. Ng’s amended complaint with prejudice because the allegations in his amended complaint “effectively mirror[ed] those pled in [his] initial complaint.” (Id., Dkt. # 52 at 3.)

         Ng II addressed Mr. Ng’s claims related to Judge Helson’s adjudication of two state court unlawful detainer actions, which were filed to remove Mr. Ng from the property. (See generally, Ng II, Dkt. #5.) The first state court unlawful detainer action was quickly dismissed. (See id.) The second was pursued to judgment-albeit with various alleged irregularities of which Mr. Ng complains-and appealed to the state court of appeals. (See id.) On July 9, 2018, prior to issuing summons, the court dismissed Ng II based on 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). (Id., Dkt. # 10.) On appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Mr. Ng’s complaint. (Id., Dkt # 20.)

         Ng III rehashed the claims advanced in Ng II and followed the court’s dismissal of Ng II. (See generally Ng III, Dkt. # 9 (Compl.); see also id., Dkt. # 13 (OSC) at 2.) On November 20, 2018, the court dismissed Ng III prior to issuing summons. (Id., Dkt. # 13.) On July 16, 2019, the Ninth Circuit dismissed Mr. Ng’s appeal as frivolous. (Id., Dkt. # 22.)

         Mr. Ng filed his current action on August 29, 2019-a little over one month following the Ninth Circuit’s dismissal of Mr. Ng’s appeal of Ng III as frivolous. (See IFP Mot. (Dkt. # 1).) Mr. Ng once again rehashes the claims he advanced in Ng II and Ng III. (See generally Compl.) Although lengthy and even more disjointed than his prior complaints, Mr. Ng again complains of many alleged procedural and substantive irregularities and perceived errors that occurred in various state court actions. (See generally id.)

         III. ANALYSIS

         Where a plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis, as Mr. Ng does here, the court is to dismiss the action, at any time, if it 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). Because federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, a plaintiff also bears the burden of establishing that a 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). Mr. Ng must meet this burden by pleading sufficient allegations to show a proper basis for the federal court to assert subject matter jurisdiction over the action. McNutt v. Gen. Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936).

         Here, as in Ng III, Mr. Ng does not establish the court’s subject matter jurisdiction because the action is barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. That doctrine prevents federal district courts from otherwise exercising jurisdiction in a narrow set of “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.” Lance v. Dennis, 546 U.S. 459, 464 (2006) (quoting Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 54 U.S. 280, 284 (2005)) (quotation marks omitted). The doctrine is premised on the United ...


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