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Knight v. Federal Bureau of Investigation

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

November 13, 2013

PARKER MICHAEL KNIGHT, Plaintiff,
v.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION and GREGORY FOWLER, Defendants.

PARKER MICHAEL KNIGHT, Portland, or, Plaintiff, Pro Se.

S. AMANDA MARSHALL, United States Attorney, JAMES E. COX, JR., Assistant United States Attorney, Portland, OR, Attorneys for Defendant Federal Bureau of Investigation (hereinafter referred to as FBI).

OPINION AND ORDER

ANNA J. BROWN, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant FBI's Motion (#5) to Dismiss. For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS the FBI's Motion.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from Plaintiff's Complaint.

At some point Plaintiff applied for a job with the FBI. Plaintiff was interviewed by telephone and alleges he "was asked illegal questions regarding his disabilities." Compl. at ¶ II.

On July 1, 2013, Plaintiff filed a pro se complaint in Multnomah County Circuit Court against the FBI and Special Agent Gregory Fowler in which he alleges he "feel[s] American Disability Act amended 1991 and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) violation has occurred based on [Plaintiff's] disability, race, and age." Compl. at ¶ II. Plaintiff also alleges the following in Counts I through III:

Defendant and or his agents willfully, maliciously and intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon the Plaintiff.
* * *
Defendant and or his agents have intentional[ly], maliciously, and without just cause, slandered the Plaintiff's names, business and reputation[] in the community by making knowingly false, malicious and intentional statements about the Plaintiff, Plaintiff's family, and the Plaintiff's business.
* * *
Defendant and or [its] agents have intentionally, maliciously and without just cause, engaged in deceitful business practices and malicious and intentional fraud that were calculated to harm the Plaintiff[] and [his] business.

Compl. at ¶¶ III-V.

On July 18, 2013, the FBI removed the matter to this Court as an agency of the United States government pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1).

On August 20, 2013, the FBI filed a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds that the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction and Plaintiff failed to state a claim. Plaintiff did not file a response to the FBI's Motion. The Court took the FBI's Motion under advisement on September 27, 2013.

STANDARDS

I. Dismissal for lack of jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1)

Plaintiff has the burden to establish that the court has subject-matter jurisdiction. Robinson v. Geithner, 359 F.App'x 726, 728 (9th cir. 2009). See also Ass'n of Am. Med. Coll. v. United States, 217 F.3d 770 (9th Cir. 2000).

When deciding a motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1), the court may consider affidavits and other evidence supporting or attacking the complaint's jurisdictional allegations. Rivas v. Napolitano, 714 F.3d 1108, 1114 n.1 (9th Cir. 2013). The court may permit discovery to determine whether it has jurisdiction. Laub v. United States Dep't of Interior, 342 F.3d 1080, 1093 (9th Cir. 2003). When a defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction "is based on written materials rather than an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts to withstand the motion to dismiss." Mavrix Photo, Inc. v. Brand Tech., Inc., 647 F.3d 1218, 1223 (9th Cir. 2011)(citation omitted).

II. Dismissal for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)

To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." [ Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, ] 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955. 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. Id. at 556.... 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. Ibid. Where a complaint pleads facts that are "merely consistent with" a defendant's liability, it "stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. at 557, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (brackets omitted).

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). See also Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555-56. The court must accept as true the allegations in the complaint and construe them in favor of the plaintiff. Din v. Kerry, 718 F.3d 856, 859 (9th Cir. 2013).

"In ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion, a court may generally consider only allegations contained in the pleadings, exhibits attached to the complaint, and matters properly subject to judicial notice." Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 1212 (9th Cir. 2012)(citation omitted). A court, however, "may consider a writing referenced in a complaint but not explicitly incorporated therein if the complaint relies on the document and its authenticity is unquestioned." Swartz v. KPMG LLP, 476 F.3d 756, 763 (9th Cir. 2007)(citation omitted).

A pro se plaintiff's complaint "must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Thus, the Court has an "obligation [when] the petitioner is pro se ... to construe the pleadings liberally and to afford the petitioner the benefit of any doubt." Akhtar, 698 F.3d at 1212 (quotation omitted). "[B]efore dismissing a pro se complaint the... court must provide the litigant with notice of the deficiencies in his complaint in order to ensure that the litigant uses the opportunity to amend effectively." Id. (quotation omitted). "A district court should not dismiss a pro se complaint without leave to amend unless it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment." Id. (quotation omitted).

DISCUSSION

I. Service

As noted, Plaintiff filed this action against the FBI and Special Agent Fowler in Multnomah County Circuit Court and the FBI removed the matter to this Court. The FBI does not assert in its Notice of ...


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