United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division
OPINION AND ORDER
AIKEN, United States District Judge.
Jeanne Camarena-Revis seeks leave to proceed in forma
pauperis ("IFP") in this action, (doc. 2). For
the reasons set forth below, the Complaint (doc. 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).
respect to the second determination, 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.,
January 23, 2019, plaintiff filed a Complaint against
defendant, Farmers Insurance ("Farmers"). In the
Complaint, plaintiff alleges that she was rear ended by a
driver who was insured by Farmers. Before the accident
plaintiff had no neck pain or known degenerative diseases.
After the accident, plaintiff was diagnosed with whiplash and
was either evaluated or treated by a psychiatrist. She has
experienced continuing neck pain and medical needs. Plaintiff
alleges that Farmers did not "list" or pay six of
plaintiffs health care providers for services related to the
accident. Compl. at 4. She seeks $775, 000 in damages.
are several issues with plaintiffs 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." Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251, 256
(2013) (quotation marks and citation omitted). Federal
subject matter 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. An objection that a particular court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction may be raised by any party,
or by the court on its own initiative, at any time.
Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 506
(2006); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). The court must dismiss any
case over which it lacks subject matter jurisdiction.
case, plaintiff is asserting federal question jurisdiction,
but plaintiff does not cite any federal statute or
constitutional provision as the basis for her claim. Instead,
in the section of the Complaint that asks for the basis for
federal question jurisdiction, plaintiff states "Tort
350 - Motor Vehicle Accident damages & medical bills that
are continuing." Compl. at 3. The allegations in the
Complaint also suggest that plaintiff seeks to raise a state
law tort claim for Farmers' failure to pay some of her
medical bills. Although federal courts may exercise diversity
jurisdiction over state law tort claims, plaintiffs filings
indicate that all parties are citizens of Oregon. Plaintiff
cannot, therefore, establish diversity jurisdiction and this
case must be dismissed.
Complaint also lacks sufficient factual allegations for the
Court to understand plaintiffs claim in anything but the most
general terms. For example, it is clear that plaintiff
believes that Farmers should pay certain medical bills
related to her car accident and that her right to that
payment arises in tort law. But the Complaint does not
specify what kind of tort claim plaintiff seeks to allege or
why Farmers should otherwise be required to pay plaintiffs
bills, when the accident and medical treatment occurred, or
how that treatment was related to her injuries from the
accident. Without that information, the Court is unable to
properly evaluate plaintiffs claim.
the Complaint is DISMISSED with leave to amend. In drafting
her amended complaint, plaintiff should bear in mind that the
Court does not know anything about the facts of her case,
other than what she includes in her pleadings.
reasons set forth above, the Complaint (doc. 1) is DISMISSED
with leave to amend. Plaintiff shall have thirty (30) days in
which to file an amended Complaint. Plaintiff is advised that
failure to file an amended complaint within the allotted time
will result in the entry of a judgment of dismissal. The
Court defers ruling on plaintiffs IFP ...