United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division
OPINION & ORDER
AIKEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Chad Johnson seeks leave to proceed in forma
pauperis ("IFP") in this action. ECF No. 2*.
For the reasons set forth below, the Complaint, ECF No. 1, is
DISMISSED with leave to amend. The Court shall defer ruling
on Plaintiffs IFP petition pending submission of an amended
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. T\vombty, 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.
Complaint in this case is somewhat disjointed and difficult
to follow. From what the Court is able to infer, these are
the facts as alleged in the Complaint:
Chad Johnson was experiencing a mental health crisis and
checked into Sky Lakes Medical Center, a hospital in Klamath
Falls, Oregon. Johnson believed that he was going to die soon
and asked to write a goodbye letter. Security officers were
summoned due to Johnson's behavior. Johnson felt
intimidated and fled from the hospital. It seems that Johnson
was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of
these incidents because "the act of fleeing resulted in
a DUII." It also appears that Johnson was taken back to
the hospital, presumably by the police, for a blood draw and
he alleges that he was handcuffed to the bed and physically
assaulted, either by police or by hospital staff during this
second visit. Johnson has been charged with DUII and is
facing a substantial prison sentence. Johnson believes that
the hospital staff are responsible for his legal troubles
because he would not have committed the DUII if he had not
felt intimidated and fled the hospital during his first
are several issues with Johnson's Complaint, as currently
pleaded. The first and most serious is jurisdictional.
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction,
"possessing only that power authorized by Constitution
and statute." Gimn v. Minton, 568 U.S, 251, 256
(2013) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Federal jurisdiction may be based upon the presence of a
federal question or on diversity of citizenship, 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331, 1332. To invoke federal question
jurisdiction, a plaintiff must plead that the defendant has
violated some constitutional or statutory provision. To
establish diversity jurisdiction, a plaintiff must allege
that he or she is a citizen of one state, that all of the
defendants are citizens of other states, and that the damages
are more than $75, 000.
case, Plaintiff is asserting federal question jurisdiction
based on Defendant's alleged violation of 18 U.S.C.
§§ 248 and 18 U.S.C. § 351(e). Plaintiff has
not adequately pleaded a claim under either statute and he
asserts no other basis for federal question jurisdiction.
U.S.C. § 351(e) is a criminal statute which prohibits
assaults against a limited class of people, including members
and members-elect of Congress, heads of executive departments
and their chief deputies, the directors and deputy directors
of National Intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency,
major presidential or vice-presidential candidates, and
justices of the United States Supreme Court. 18 U.S.C. §
351(e), (a). Aside from the fact that 18 U.S.C. § 351(e)
is a criminal statute and does not create a private right of
action, Johnson has not alleged that he falls into any of the
categories of persons covered by the statute, nor does the
prospect of such an allegation strike the Court as plausible.
relevant part, as cited by Johnson, 18 U.S.C. § 248
creates both criminal penalties and civil remedies against
[B]y force or threat of force or by physical obstruction,
intentionally injures, intimidates or interferes with or
attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person
because that person is or has been, or in order to intimidate
such person or any other person or any class ...