Garza v. California Senators et al, No. 1:2017cv01388 - Document 4 (E.D. Cal. 2018)

Court Description: FINDINGS and RECOMMENDATIONS Recommending Dismissal of Action, With Prejudice, for Failure to State a Claim, signed by Magistrate Judge Barbara A. McAuliffe on 4/20/18. Objections to F&R Due Within Fourteen Days. (Marrujo, C)
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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 RAUL GARZA, 12 Plaintiff, 13 v. 14 15 16 17 CALIFORNIA SENATORS, CALIFORNIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES and BARACK OBAMA, Case No. 1:17-cv-01388-LJO-BAM FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION, WITH PREJUDICE, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM FOURTEEN (14) DAY DEADLINE Defendants. 18 19 Plaintiff Raul Garza (“Plaintiff”), a state prisoner appearing pro se in this civil rights 20 action, filed his complaint on October 16, 2017. Plaintiff’s complaint challenges the 21 implementation of “Obamacare.” According to Plaintiff, Obamacare’s existence threatens his 22 First Amendment right to free speech. Plaintiff’s Complaint is before the Court for screening. 23 I. Screening Requirement and Standard 24 The court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a 25 governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The 26 court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally 27 “frivolous or malicious,” that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek 28 monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2). 1 1 A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. 2 Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 3 F.2d 1221, 1227–28 (9th Cir.1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where 4 it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly 5 baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however 6 inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual basis. See Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 7 640 (9th Cir.1989); Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227. Plaintiff’s Allegations 8 II. 9 Plaintiff is currently housed at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi, 10 California (“CCI”). Plaintiff’s complaint alleges that former President Barack Obama’s healthcare 11 legislation violates Plaintiff’s First Amendment right to “free speech” because Plaintiff “should 12 not have to pay for something [he does] not need or want.” 13 Defendants “California Senators” and “California House of Representatives” for allegations that 14 Congressional leaders Paul Ryan and Kamala Harris obstructed President Donald Trump’s efforts 15 to repeal “Obamacare.” Plaintiff demands monetary damages in the amount of $2.3 trillion dollars 16 and declaratory and injunctive relief, and an express Order repealing President Obama’s tenure as 17 President of the United States. 18 19 III. (Doc. 1 at 4). Plaintiff also sues Analysis 1. Challenges to Legislation 20 In three counts, Plaintiff challenges the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also 21 known as “Obamacare,” as a violation of his “freedom of speech.” Plaintiff’s claims however, 22 are generalized grievances for which he has no standing. Baldwin v. Sebelius, 654 F.3d 877, 879 23 (9th Cir. 2011)(citing Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 573-74, 112 S. Ct. 2130, 119 24 L. Ed. 2d 351 (1992)). “[A] plaintiff raising only a generally available grievance about 25 government—claiming only harm to his and every citizen’s interest in proper application of the 26 Constitution and laws, and seeking relief that no more directly and tangibly benefits him than it 27 does the public at large—does not state an Article III case or controversy.” Id. Where, as here, 28 “[p]laintiff s stake is no greater and his status no more differentiated than that of millions of other 2 1 [citizens,] ... his harm is too vague and its effects too attenuated to confer standing.” Berg v. 2 Obama, 574 F.Supp.2d 509, 2008 WL 4691981, at *6 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 24, 2008); see Stamper v. 3 United States, No. 1:08 CV 2593, 2008 WL 4838073 (N.D. Ohio Nov. 4, 2008). Plaintiff is 4 bringing only generalized claims. 5 In addition, to establish standing a plaintiff must show that he has suffered an “injury in 6 fact.” “An injury in fact is ‘an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and 7 particularized, and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.’” Baldwin, 654 F.3d at 8 879 (quoting Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560). Since Plaintiff is a state prisoner and therefore he is not 9 subject to the Affordable Care Act or the individual mandate, he lacks standing to litigate matters 10 pertaining to other persons’ private or group insurance under the Affordable Care Act. See Flast 11 v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 99, 88 S.Ct. 1942, 20 L.Ed.2d 947 (1968) (a district court, when 12 determining whether a plaintiff has standing to sue, must focus on the status of the party who has 13 filed the complaint, and that the merits of the case are irrelevant). 14 15 16 Accordingly, the Court concludes that Plaintiff is without standing, that he cannot establish an injury in fact, and that this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear this matter. 2. Legislative Immunity 17 Second, the President of the United States is immune from suit with respect to actions 18 taken in his official capacity, such as the signing into law of the Affordable Care Act. See Nixon 19 v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 731, 751–52 & n. 32, 102 S.Ct. 2690, 73 L.Ed.2d 349 (1982). Defendants 20 “California Senators” and “California House of Representatives” are also immune from suit. The 21 Eleventh Amendment proscribes any suit against a state, or against a state agency or department 22 or state official, where “the state is the real, substantial party in interest,” unless the state consents 23 to suit. Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100–101 (1984); see also 24 MCI Telecom. Corp v. Bell Atlantic of Penn., 271 F3d 491, 503 (3d Cir. 2001) (states are 25 generally immune from private suits in federal court). The Eleventh Amendment is a 26 “jurisdictional bar which deprives federal courts of subject matter jurisdiction.” Blandak v. 27 Allegheny Ludlum Corp., 77 F.3d 690, 694 (3d Cir. 1996) (citing Pennhurst, 465 U.S. at 98–100). 28 The complaint before the court includes no cognizable claims, and contains no factual 3 1 allegations suggesting the existence of any cognizable claim. The Court therefore recommends 2 dismissal without leave to amend. 3 IV. 4 Plaintiff’s complaint fails to state a cognizable claim. The deficiencies in Plaintiff’s 5 complaint cannot be cured by amendment, and thus leave to amend is not warranted. Lopez v. 6 Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000). 7 8 Conclusion and Recommendation Accordingly, the Court HEREBY RECOMMENDS that this action be dismissed for failure to state a cognizable claim for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. 9 These Findings and Recommendation will be submitted to the United States District Judge 10 assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of Title 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l). Within fourteen 11 (14) days after being served with these Findings and Recommendation, Plaintiff may file written 12 objections with the Court. The document should be captioned “Objections to Magistrate Judge’s 13 Findings and Recommendation.” Plaintiff is advised that failure to file objections within the 14 specified time may result in the waiver of the “right to challenge the magistrate’s factual 15 findings” on appeal. Wilkerson v. Wheeler, 772 F.3d 834, 839 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing Baxter v. 16 Sullivan, 923 F.2d 1391, 1394 (9th Cir. 1991)). 17 18 19 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: /s/ Barbara April 20, 2018 A. McAuliffe _ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4