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Williams v. Woodford

January 20, 2009

JOHN WESLEY WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WOODFORD, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DISREGARDING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND AS UNNECESSARY (Doc. 22)

I. Findings and Recommendations Following Screening of Amended Complaint

A. Background

Plaintiff John Wesley Williams ("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 originally filed this action with his cellmate. On December 1, 2006, the court severed the claims and ordered the clerk to open a new case for plaintiff's cellmate. That case was subsequently dismissed for failure to prosecute.

On February 1, 2008, this Court dismissed plaintiff's complaint with leave to file an amended complaint. (Doc. 16). After obtaining an extension of time, plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint, along with his amended complaint on April 21, 2008. (Doc. 22).

B. Order Disregarding Motion for Leave

Plaintiff was previously granted leave to file an amended complaint. Accordingly, he is not required to file a motion seeking leave. Plaintiff's motion is therefore DISREGARDED. The Court shall now screen plaintiff's amended complaint, filed April 21, 2008.

C. Screening Requirement

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. A court may dismiss a complaint only if it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations. Id. at 514. "'The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims. Indeed it may appear on the face of the pleadings that a recovery is very remote and unlikely but that is not the test.'" Jackson v. Carey, 353 F.3d 750, 755 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)); see also Austin v. Terhune, 367 F.3d 1167, 1171 (9th Cir. 2004) ("'Pleadings need suffice only to put the opposing party on notice of the claim . . . .'" (quoting Fontana v. Haskin, 262 F.3d 871, 977 (9th Cir. 2001))). 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)).

D. Summary of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint

Plaintiff is presently incarcerated at California State Prison, Los Angeles County. The events giving rise to this action occurred at North Kern State Prison. Plaintiff names Warden Lee Ann Chrones, Nola Grannis, M. Junious, K. Baker, C. Lugo, S. Smith, Becerra, Guiterrez, T.Vasquez, Perez/Marsh, W. Back, T. Tatum, Snodgrass and M. Wanderer as defendants. Plaintiff seeks preliminary injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and money damages. Plaintiff alleges a violation of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Plaintiff's amended complaint consists of a chronological rendition of facts -- beginning in April 2004 and concluding in August 2005 -- without delineating which facts he feels show violations of which of his constitutional rights. It is Plaintiff's duty to correlate his claims for relief with their alleged factual basis. The Court will not guess as to which facts Plaintiff believes show any given constitutional violation(s).

Further, it appears that many of the allegations in Plaintiff's amended complaint concern unrelated incidents involving different defendants. For example, Plaintiff's amended complaint begins with an allegation of malicious prosecution involving defendants Perez/Marsh, Smith, Chrones, Junious and Baker over an incident occurring on May 20, 2004 (Doc. 22, ¶¶20-25). Plaintiff's amended complaint later discusses an incident on September 24, 2004 involving defendant Tatum and a denial of religious services (Id., ¶39); allegations concerning mail tampering and retaliation in July and August 2004 by defendant Vasquez (Id., ¶25-35); and allegations that defendants Becerra, Guiterrez ...


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