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Ashwell v. Lockhart

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

November 6, 2019

DANIEL DWAYNE ASHWELL, Plaintiff,
v.
SEAN PAUL LOCKHART, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, GRANTING LEAVE TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT, AND DENYING APPLICATION FOR COURT APPOINTED COUNSEL

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pro Se Plaintiff, Daniel Dwayne Ashwell, has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this matter. Dkt. #2. Plaintiff's Complaint was filed on November 5, 2019. Dkt. #3. Summonses have not yet been issued. Plaintiff has also filed an Application for Court-Appointed Counsel. Dkt. #4.

         The nature of Plaintiff's action is not apparent from his exceedingly brief Complaint, which he provides on the Court's third-party complaint form. Plaintiff identifies himself, Sean Paul Lockhart, and President Donald J. Trump in his Complaint. Dkt. #3 at 1-2. Plaintiff indicates that Mr. Lockhart is a missing person and that unidentified people-presumably the defendants-“are blocking a 17 year old [sic] FBI investigation.”[1] Id. at 2-3. As to President Trump, Plaintiff indicates that “Trump is a foot fetiscist [sic] whom stalks my Aunt Michele and she has multiple restraining orders on file.” Id. at 3. Plaintiff does not appear to seek any specific relief.

         Where a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the court will dismiss a 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); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000) (clarifying that § 1915(e) applies to all in forma pauperis proceedings, not just those filed by prisoners). Pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a claim for relief must contain:

(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, . . .;
(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that 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.”).

Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Plaintiff's Complaint fails to satisfy any of these three requirements.

         Most importantly, Plaintiff does not establish a clear jurisdictional basis for the Court to hear this case. As federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, a plaintiff 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). This burden, at the pleading stage, 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). A plaintiff may establish federal jurisdiction by pleading a “colorable claim ‘rising under' the Constitution or laws of the United States” or by pleading “a claim between parties of diverse citizenship that exceeds the required jurisdictional amount, currently set at $75, 000.” Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 513 (2006) (citations omitted). Plaintiff's Complaint does not establish this Court's jurisdiction.

         Further, the Complaint does not provide an adequate factual basis supporting Plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff does not indicate what, if any, interest he has in either of the events he identifies. Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 499 (1975) (noting that a “plaintiff generally must assert his own legal rights and interests, and cannot rest his claim to relief on the legal rights or interests of third parties”). Additionally, complaint must state a plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556, 557 (2007)). A plaintiff must plead “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. Plaintiff has not done so.

         Lastly, Plaintiff's Complaint gives no indication of what relief Plaintiff seeks. Rule 8 specifically requires that the Complaint include “a demand for the relief sought.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(3).

         Because Plaintiff's Complaint is wholly deficient, it will be dismissed.[2] However, where a complaint is dismissed for failure to state a claim, “leave to amend should be granted unless the court determines that the allegation of other facts consistent with the challenged pleading could not possibly cure the deficiency.” Schreiber Distrib. Co. v. Serv-Well Furniture Co., 806 F.2d 1393, 1401 (9th Cir. 1986). The Court will permit Plaintiff to amend his Complaint.

         Accordingly, and having reviewed Plaintiff's filings and the remainder of the ...


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