United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division
OPINION & ORDER
MICHAEL MCSHANE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
John Salmons, Sr. seeks leave to proceed in forma
pauperis (“IFP”) in this action. ECF No. 2.
For the reasons set forth below, the Amended Complaint, ECF
No. 11, is DISMISSED with prejudice. Salmons's petition
to proceed IFP, ECF No. 2, is DENIED.
all parties instituting any civil action in United States
District Court must pay a statutory filing fee. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1914(a). However, the federal IFP statute, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(1), provides indigent litigants an opportunity
for meaningful access to federal courts despite their
inability to pay the costs and fees associated with that
access. To authorize a litigant to proceed IFP, a court must
make two determinations. First, a court must determine
whether the litigant is unable to pay the costs of commencing
the action. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Second, it must
assess whether the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune to such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
regard to the second of these determinations, district courts
have the power under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) to screen
complaints even before service of the complaint on the
defendants, and must dismiss a complaint if it fails to state
a claim. Courts apply the same standard under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) as when addressing a motion to dismiss
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Watison
v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012). To
survive a motion to dismiss under the federal pleading
standards, the complaint must include a short and plain
statement of the claim and “contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim for relief
that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “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. The plausibility standard . . . asks for more than a
sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. The court is not required to
accept legal conclusions, unsupported by alleged facts, as
se pleadings are held to less stringent standards than
pleadings by attorneys. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519, 520-21 (1972). That is, the court should construe
pleadings by pro se plaintiffs liberally and afford
the plaintiffs the benefit of any doubt. Karim-Panahi v.
Los Angeles Police Dep't, 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th
Cir. 1988). Additionally, a pro se litigant is
entitled to notice of the deficiencies in the complaint and
the opportunity to amend, unless the complaint's
deficiencies cannot be cured by amendment. Id.
the original Complaint, the Amended Complaint asserts claims
against the State of Oregon, the Oregon Department of Human
Services and the “State of Oregon Attorneys Generals
Office, ” (collectively, the “State
Defendants”), for actions taken with regard to a state
court juvenile dependency proceeding involving Salmons's
Amended Complaint also brings claims against the City of
Klamath Falls, the Carter Jones Collection Agency
(“Carter Jones”), and the Oregon Department of
Motor Vehicles (“DMV”). These claims relate to
disputes over the payment of fines for municipal code
violations and traffic tickets. The claims against Klamath
Falls, the DMV, and Carter Jones do not appear to have any
connection to the claims against the State Defendants.
The State Defendants
Amended Complaint, Salmons once again appears to bring his
constitutional claims against the State Defendants pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court previously dismissed these
claims with prejudice, as they are barred by sovereign
immunity. ECF No. 5. Salmons may not simply re-allege claims
which this Court has dismissed with prejudice. The Court
attempted to explain the original Complaint's other
deficiencies, so that Salmons would have the opportunity to
restate those claims on a legitimate basis, if he was able to
Salmons has reiterated his original claims essentially
unaltered. For example, Salmons once again alleges that his
children are his property, despite the Court's prior
explanation that this premise is categorically false. See
In Re Marriage of Winczewski, 188 Or.App. 667, 753
(2003) (“Children are not property.”) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted). The only substantive
change that the Court can discern is the addition of a
lengthy and repetitive discussion of the Seventh Amendment,
portions of which appear to have been lifted unaltered from
an editorial article published in Utah. See, e.g.,
Am. Compl. 2 (“In our interview last week with Vanessa
Sommerfield…”), 3 (“These are the same
legal safeguards Utah parents should be afforded.”).
Court previously explained, sovereign immunity is fatal to
Salmons's claims against the State Defendants. The
Eleventh Amendment provides that a state is immune from suit
in federal court unless Congress has abrogated the
state's immunity by appropriate federal legislation or
the state itself has waived it. Va. Office for Prot.
& Advocacy v. Stewart, 563 U.S. 247, 253-54 (2011).
It is similarly well settled that a state agency is entitled
to sovereign immunity from suit. P. R. Aqueduct &
Sewer Auth. v. Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., 506 U.S. 139,
144 (1993). Congress has not abrogated state sovereign
immunity in 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Braunstein v.
Ariz. Dep't of Transp., 683 F.3d 1177, 1188 (9th
Court previously dismissed Salmons' claims against the
State Defendants with prejudice. It is clear that, despite
the Court's guidance, Salmons is unable to find an