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Blocker v. Universal Music Publ. Group

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division

December 1, 2014


Tyrone Blocker, Plaintiff, Pro se, Portland, OR.


DENNIS J. HUBEL, United States Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Tyrone Blocker (" Plaintiff") brings this action pro se against Defendant Universal Music Publishing (" Defendant"). Plaintiff refers to the operative pleading in this case as an " intellectual property complaint and business fraud." (Am. Compl. at 3.) In its entirety, Plaintiff's sole claim alleges the following: " [Defendant] fraudulently used my business and sold my intellectual property. See exhibits attached." (Am. Compl. at 3.)

The exhibits attached to the amended complaint appear to be: (1) an August 18, 2006 letter from the Internal Revenue Service addressed to Nest Coast LLC, in care of Tyrone Blocker, assigning an employer identification number; (2) an internet printout from the website, referring to Nest Coast Entertainment in Portland, Oregon; and (3) an internet printout from the website, listing fourteen music royalty companies located in the United States, including Nest Coast LLC, as well as a Google map.


It settled law that a district court must perform a preliminary screening of an in forma pauperis complaint and dismiss any claims which: (1) fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted; (2) are frivolous or malicious; or (3) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000) (concluding that § 1915(e)(2)(B) applies to non-prisoners).

In order to state a claim for relief, a complaint must contain " a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). When reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint filed by a pro se litigant, the court must liberally construe the pleading and accept as true all of the factual allegations contained therein. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007). But " the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions, " Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009), and " [t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. Rather, stating a claim requires " the plaintiff [to] plead[] factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id.

Along similar lines, a district court may dismiss a claim as factually frivolous when the facts alleged " lack[] an arguable basis in law or in fact, " Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989), or when they " rise to the level of the irrational or the wholly incredible, whether or not there are judicially noticeable facts available to contradict them, " Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33, 112 S.Ct. 1728, 118 L.Ed.2d 340 (1992). A claim may also " be dismissed as frivolous where a defense is obvious on the face of the complaint." Harris v. Rodriguez, No. 1:12-cv-00891, 2012 WL 4210118, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 18, 2012) (citing Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1228-29 (9th Cir. 1984)).


Plaintiff's application (Docket No. 1) to proceed in forma pauperis is granted solely for the purpose of screening his amended complaint. Even when construing Plaintiff's allegations with the liberality required under Ninth Circuit case law, they fall well short of stating a plausible claim for relief. Indeed, Plaintiff's amended complaint only contains a single conclusory statement that " [Defendant] fraudulently used [his] business and sold [his] intellectual property, " and Plaintiff's exhibits fail to shed any light on the basis for his cause of action against Defendant. Accordingly, Plaintiff's amended complaint should be dismissed with thirty (30) days leave to replead and cure the deficiencies described above.


The Findings and Recommendation will be referred to a district judge. Objections, if any, are due December 19, 2014. If no objections are filed, then the Findings and Recommendation will go under advisement on that date. If objections are filed, then a response is due January 5, 2015. When the response is due or filed, ...

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