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White v. State

December 15, 2008

BERNARD ANDREW WHITE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

(Doc. 1)

Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Bernard Andrew White ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on March 19, 2008.

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious," that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

"Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions," none of which applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Pursuant to Rule 8(a), a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). "Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. However, "the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations." Neitze v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). "[A] liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled." Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)).

II. Summary of Plaintiff's Complaint

Plaintiff names the State of California, Tehachapi Correctional Institution, Facility Captain Steadman, Correctional Lieutenant Boyer, Law Library Assistant Karlow, Correctional Officer T. Peterson and Correctional Lieutenant D. Randall as defendants. Plaintiff seeks money damages.

A. Immunity from Suit

Plaintiff may not name the State of California nor Tehachapi Correctional Institution as defendants. "The Eleventh Amendment bars suits for money damages in federal court against a state, its agencies, and state officials in their official capacities." Aholelei v. Dept. of Public Safety, 488 F.3d 1144, 1147 (9th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted). Plaintiff's claims fail as a matter of law.

B. Allegations Against Defendant T. W. Steadman

A plaintiff's complaint must satisfy the requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), which calls for a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Rule 8(a) expresses the principle of notice-pleading, whereby the pleader need only give the opposing party fair notice of a claim. Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. Rule 8(a) does not require an elaborate recitation of every fact a plaintiff may ultimately rely upon at trial, but only a statement sufficient to "give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Id. Rule 8(a) also requires that the plaintiff give notice of the relief which he seeks from the defendants.

Plaintiff's complaint does not comply with Rule 8(a). Plaintiff's allegations against defendant Steadman are confusing and fails to place defendant on notice as to the basis of plaintiff's claims against him. Plaintiff alleges, "The T. W. Steadman assigned Correctional Captain Making foul play under Computer making rules under the Department". (Doc. 1, Complaint, p. 3). This allegation, which is seemingly unrelated to the ...


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