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Weishampel v. Circle of Children

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division

September 19, 2019

WILLIAM M. WEISHAMPEL, Plaintiff,
v.
CIRCLE OF CHILDREN; CAROLINA ALLEN; THOMAS PRICE; CHARLES COXON Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          ANN AIKEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff William M. Weishampel filed this suit pro se and in forma pauperis against defendants Circle of Children, a nonprofit organization, and its board \ members Thomas Price, Carolina Allen, and Charles Coxon. Plaintiff held many positions at Circle of Children, including caretaker, executive director, and board member. Plaintiff alleges that defendants wrongfully terminated him from those S positions.

         Circle of Children, now known as Triangle Lake Center ("TLC"), moves to I dismiss plaintiffs claims. For the reasons stated below, the Motion to Dismiss (doc. 57) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. Additionally, plaintiff is ordered to amend the Complaint to include the changes he asked for the Court's leave to make in his motions to amend (docs. 19-21), LEGAL STANDARDS

         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 Ail. Corp. v. Twotnbly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A complaint is construed in favor of the plaintiff, and its factual allegations are taken as true. Daniels-Hall v. Nat'l Educ. Ass'n, 629 F.3d 992, 998 (9th Cir. 2010). "Generally, the scope of review on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is limited to the [c]omplaint[.]" Id.

         Pro se pleadings are held to less stringent standards than pleadings by attorneys. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). That is, courts should construe pleadings by pro se plaintiffs liberally and afford the plaintiffs the benefit of any doubt. Karim-Panahi v. L.A. 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.

         DISCUSSION

         TLC's Motion asserts that the Complaint should be dismissed because (1) the claims are time barred; (2) plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; and (3) the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claims under Rule 12(b)(1).

         I. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         The Court will consider TLC's Rule 12(b)(1) motion separate from its Rule 12(b)(6) motions. Subject matter jurisdiction grants power to federal courts to hear a case and can never be waived or forfeited. Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U.S. 134, 141 (2012). Courts may consider subject matter jurisdiction at any time sua sponte. Id . Federal subject matter jurisdiction must be based upon either the presence of a federal question or on diversity of citizenship, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332, A. Federal Question

         To invoke federal question jurisdiction, a plaintiff must plead that the defendant has violated some constitutional or federal statutory provision. 28 U.S.C. § 1331; Franchise Tax Ed. v. Construction Laborers, 463 U.S. 1, 27-28 (1983).

         In this case, plaintiff cites multiple federal statutes as bases for federal question jurisdiction. However, many of the statutes cited are criminal statutes that allow the United States government to prosecute individuals for committing criminal acts. See Compl. Ex. at 1 (citing 18 U.S.C. § 1028; 18 U.S.C. § 1708; 18 U.S.C. § 2292; 18 U.S.C. § 1622; 10 U.S.C. § 929, Art. 129; 18 U.S.C. § 1623; 18 U.S.C. § 2319(b); 25 C.F.R. § 11.401; 25 C.F.R. § 11.429; 43 C.F.R. § 9269.3). These federal criminal statutes do not generally provide a private right of action. See Cent. Bank of Denver, N.A. v. First Interstate Bank of Denver, N.A., 511 U.S. 164, 190 (1994).

         Plaintiff also asserts a claim for "wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information" under 42 U.S.C. § 1320(d)(6). Compl. Ex. 1 at 1. Section 1320(d)(6) is a Social Security statute and does not address disclosure of sensitive health information.

         Next, plaintiff asserts a defamation claim under 28 U.S.C. § 4101, which is a definition section for a chapter of the United States Code about foreign judgments. Section 4101 does not provide a cause of action for defamation.

         Finally, Plaintiff asserts a copyright claim under 17 U.S.C. § 501, which provides a cause of action for copyright infringement. Id. To state a claim for copyright infringement, a plaintiff must show that they are the legal or beneficial owner of the exclusive right under a copyright. 17 U.S.C. ยง 5010b). Plaintiff has not alleged facts demonstrating that he is the owner of a legal copyright, nor do the facts of this case suggest that any copyright issues are implicated. Therefore, plaintiff has failed to state a copyright claim. ...


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