United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division
ROBERT S. BONDICK Plaintiff,
BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
Aiken United States District Judge
Robert S. Bondick seeks leave to proceed in forma
pauperis ("IFP") in this action. (Doc. 2). For
the reasons set forth below, the Amended Complaint (doc. 26)
is DISMISSED without leave to amend, plaintiffs Motion for
Appointment of Pro Bono Counsel (doc. 3) is DENIED, and
plaintiffs IFP petition (doc. 2) is GRANTED.
plaintiff seeks to proceed IFP, district courts have the
power under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) to screen
complaints even before service of the complaint on 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)). The court is not required to
accept legal conclusions, unsupported by alleged facts, as
pleadings are held to less stringent standards than pleadings
by attorneys. Haines v. Kemer, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21
(1972). 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). A pro se
litigant is also entitled to notice of the deficiencies in
the complaint and the opportunity to amend, unless the
complaint's deficiencies cannot be cured. Id.
alleges that defendants contributed to the prolonged period
of homelessness that he experienced between 2014 and 2016 and
that, during that time, he was assaulted and severely injured
while sleeping outdoors in Eugene, Oregon.
initially filed this action against the Board of Governors of
the Federal Reserve System on April 9, 2019, along with an
IFP petition and Motion for Appointment of Pro Bono Counsel.
The Court dismissed the Complaint for lack of standing
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), granted plaintiff
leave to amend the complaint by May 29, 2019, and deferred
ruling on the IFP petition and motion for appointment of
filed his Amended Complaint on June 3, 2019. The Amended
Complaint alleges that plaintiff is disabled and his sole
source of income is Social Security benefits. Plaintiff also
alleges that, in February 2014, he "relocated to the
California and had to take up shelter in a hotel till he ran
out of money each month" and that his "credit
rating dropped, leaving it harder for him to find an
apartment." Amend. Compl. at 7.
Amended Complaint reasserts plaintiffs claims against the
Board of Governors and also names the Chair of the Board of
Governors, the Chair of the Office of the Comptroller of the
Currency, and the Chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation as defendants. The Amended Complaint appears to
allege that these defendants' policies and omissions
contributed to property management companies' practices
and standards that made it difficult for plaintiff to obtain
housing, including "the lending practice that allows the
governing viability of our fair housing laws, specifically
legally discriminating based on an allowable national
standard of a minimum monthly income requirements of at least
33-40X percent of the monthly rent," id. at 2,
and rules "that allow realty company's [sic] to
leave apartments vacant," id. at 7.
Specifically, plaintiff alleges that defendants "allowed
continuation of poor lending practices to realty
company's [sic] with out proper oversight, leaving the
Plaintiff homeless." Id. at 8. Plaintiff also
alleges that the "real-estate bubble that helped crate
[sic] the 2007-2010 financial crisis, could have been slowed
down to help fund real-estate and the construction market
that comes with it at 8.5 GPD of the stock market."
Id. at 7.
again, plaintiff has failed to allege standing. Article III
standing is a jurisdictional requirement for any claim filed
in federal court. Wilson v. Lynch, 835, 5.3d 1083,
1090 & n.2. To have standing, a "plaintiff must have
(1) suffered an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable
to the challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is
likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial
decision." Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct.
1540, 1547 (2016). At the pleading stage, the complaint must
contain facts establishing each element of standing.
those alleged in the original Complaint, the injuries alleged
in the Amended Complaint, including homelessness and physical
harm, are not "fairly traceable" to defendants'
conduct. The allegations added in the Amended Complaint,
which describe the legal framework governing the Federal
Reserve and federal financial policy and add further detail
to plaintiffs theory of liability, do not cure the
fundamental issue identified by this Court's earlier
opinion. Plaintiffs injuries remain "highly
indirect" and the result of "the independent
actions of [multiple] third part[ies] not before the
court," including the property management companies that
denied plaintiffs rental applications and the individuals who
attacked plaintiff. Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737,
plaintiff has failed to allege standing after the Court
provided him with an opportunity to amend. The Court
concludes that further amendment would be futile.
Accordingly, the Amended Complaint is dismissed without leave
has also filed a Motion for Appointment of Pro Bono Counsel
(doc. 3). Generally, there is no constitutional right to
counsel in a civil case. United States v. 30.64 Acres of
Land,795 F.2d 796, 801 (9th Cir. 1986). However,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), this Court has
discretion to request volunteer counsel for indigent parties
in exceptional circumstances. Wood v. Housewright,900 F.2d 1332, 1335 (9th Cir. 1990). To determine whether
exceptional circumstances exist, this Court evaluates the
plaintiffs likelihood of success on the merits and ability to
articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of
the legal issues involved. Id. at 1335-36, At this
stage, the Court ...