United States District Court, D. North Dakota
Jose R. Salazar Castaneda, Plaintiff,
Swanson & Youngdale, et. al., Defendants.
Charles S. Miller, Jr., Magistrate Judge.
plaintiff, Jose R. Salazar Castaneda ("Castaneda"),
initiated the above-entitled action pro se and in
forma pauperis on September 19, 2016. The court
conducted a pre-service review of Castaneda's complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Thereafter, on
November 17, 2016, the court issued an order to show cause
why it should not dismiss Castaneda's complaint for
failing to allege a basis for this court's jurisdiction.
December 12, 2016, Castaneda filed a response to the
court's order to show cause in which he agreed to the
dismissal of his claims Job Service North Dakota but objected
to the dismissal of his discrimination claim against his
former employer, Swanson & Youngdale.
December 21, 2016, the court issued an order that provided in
relevant part the following:
There being no objection from Castaneda, his claims against
Job Service North Dakota are DISMISSED. The court next turns
to Castaneda's statements regarding Swanson &
Put bluntly, the court did not discern a claim of employment
discrimination when conducting its pre-service review of the
pleadings in this case. And for good reason. The central
focus of Castaneda's complaint and the attachments was on
the issue of employment insurance benefits and his claimed
entitlement to them. His complaint made no mention of
employment discrimination other than a fleeting reference in
his prayer for relief for alleged “sexual harassment
[he] was put through at the oil field with co-workers.”
(Docket No. 5).
When determining whether the complaint states a claim, the
court must look to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), which requires only
"a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief." Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). Also, the court
must consider the Supreme Court's admonition that pro se
complaints are to be "liberally construed" and
"held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89 (2007) (per curiam). While these pleadings
requirements are minimal and do not require a detailed
recitation of the facts, even a pro se litigant must state
enough in terms of the facts and grounds for relief to give
the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and to
indicate that the right to relief is at least plausible, even
if the chances for success are remote. Id.; see
also Hughes v. Banks, 290 Fed. App'x 960 (8th
Cir.2008) (stating that even a pro se complaint must allege
sufficient facts to support claims advanced); Carter v.
Hassel, 316 Fed. App'x 525 (8th Cir. 2008)
(allegations insufficient to describe the violation of a
constitutional right with respect to certain of the claims);
Kozikowski v. C.I.R., 258 Fed. App'x 60 (2007)
(unpublished per curiam) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 for the proposition that a
complaint must plead enough facts to state a claim for relief
that is plausible and dismissing a pro se complaint).
In construing the complaint, the court must weigh all factual
allegations in the plaintiff's favor, unless the facts
alleged are clearly baseless. Denton v. Hernandez,
504 U.S. 25, 31-33 (1992) (court may disregard factual
allegations that are clearly baseless, fanciful, fantastic,
or delusional); Martinez v. Turner, 977 F.2d 421,
423 (8th Cir. 1992) (citing Nietske v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 325 (1989), for the proposition that a complaint is
frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in fact or is based
on an indisputable meritless legal theory). Just because a
plaintiff is proceeding pro se, does not mean that
the court is required to ignore facts pled in the complaint
when they undermine the plaintiff's claim. The court may
accept as true all facts pled in the complaint and conclude
from them that there is no claim stated as a matter of law.
E.g., Edwards v. Snyder, 478 F.3d at 830;
Thompson v. Ill. Dep'tt of Prof'l
Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753-754 (7th Cir. 2002)
(citing other cases).
In this case, Castaneda's stray, conclusory reference to
sexual harassment is insufficient to state a claim for relief
under the pleading requirements set forth above. Before
taking action, the court shall afford Castaneda the
opportunity file an amended complaint setting forth in detail
the basis for his employment discrimination claim
Accordingly, Castaneda is granted leave to file an amended
complaint. Castaneda shall have until January 13, 2017, to
file an amended complaint that sets forth in his claim(s)
against Swanson & Youngdale. Any amended complaint filed
by Castaneda will be subject to a pre-service screening upon
(Docket No. 11).
deadline for filing an amended complaint has lapsed. Notably,
he has neither filed an amended complaint addressing the
pleading deficiencies identified by the court nor otherwise
requested additional time to do so. Thus, the operative
pleading in this case is the complaint originally filed by
Castaneda, which the court previously concluded failed to set
forth a cognizable claim against Swanson & Youngdale.
Accordingly, the court DISMISSES the remainder of this action
as it pertains to Swanson & Youngdale WITHOUT PREJUDICE
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).