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Andersen v. Portland Saturday Market

United States District Court, D. Oregon

November 20, 2017

STEVEN B. ANDERSEN, an individual, Plaintiff,
v.
PORTLAND SATURDAY MARKET, a nonprofit corporation, & LISA GUGINO, an individual, Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          MARCO A. HERNÁNDEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pro se Plaintiff Steven B. Andersen brings this action against Portland Saturday Market and Lisa Gugino. Plaintiff moves to proceed in forma pauperis [10]. Because Plaintiff has minimal income and significant debt, the Court grants the motion. However, for the reasons explained below, the Court dismisses the Complaint [1] without prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brings this case against Defendants Portland Saturday Market and Lisa Gugino, executive director of Portland Saturday Market. Compl. 2, ECF 1. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants breached their contract with Plaintiff and violated his rights under the Due Process Clause and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Id. at 2. These claims all stem from his dismissal as a member of Portland Saturday Market in October of 2015.

         Plaintiff asserts he was a member of Portland Saturday Market between April 8, 2012, and October 13, 2015. Id. Though the details surrounding his dismissal are hazy, Plaintiff's membership was allegedly terminated because of his conduct towards other members and employees of the market, including the alleged harassment of “[a] former friend and fellow vendor.” Id. at 2, 4. During this process, Plaintiff alleges he was not given any “opportunity to learn what conduct was considered by the board as being so inappropriate as to warrant a dismissal”. Id. at 3.

         Prior to his termination, Plaintiff alleges that he requested a meeting with the Board to address the “unfair treatment” he received from Defendant Gugino. Id. at 3. A hearing was scheduled and allegedly cancelled when the vendor withdrew her harassment complaint. Id. at 4. Plaintiff then filed a defamation lawsuit against the complaining vendor. Id. at 5. He alleges that this case was settled and the vendor “provided an affidavit that fully exonerated Plaintiff of the charge.” Id. During the course of the defamation case, Plaintiff allegedly learned from opposing council that there had been an additional complaint filed against Plaintiff with Portland Saturday Market. Id. The identity of this person was never disclosed to Plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff also alleges he was blackmailed by another member and the executive director. Id. at 6.

         Plaintiff claims that, as a result of his dismissal, he lost ten years of income amounting to actual damages of $323, 318. Id. at 7. He also seeks punitive damages in the amount of $2, 176, 682 because of the “unfair, discriminatory, and unlawful treatment he alleges he received from PSM staff and the Chair of the Board of Directors.” Id.

         STANDARDS

         A complaint filed in forma pauperis may be dismissed at any time, including before service of process, if the court determines that:

(B) the action or appeal-
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see also Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989) (sua sponte dismissals under section 1915 “spare prospective defendants the inconvenience and expense of answering” complaints which are “frivolous, malicious, or repetitive”); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126 n.7 (9th Cir. 2000) (section 1915(e) applies to all in forma pauperis complaints, not just those filed by inmates). A complaint is frivolous “where it lacks an ...


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