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Thomas v. Perez

February 3, 2009


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


(Doc. 9)


(Docs. 11, 12, 13)

I. Screening Order

A. Procedural History

Plaintiff Rayshon Thomas ("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 August 13, 2007. On May 1, 2008, the court dismissed plaintiff's complaint, with leave to amend, for failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a). (Doc. 8.) On June 5, 2008 Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint. (Doc. 9).

B. 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. 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)).

C. Failure to Comply with Rule 18(a)

In the Court's screening order filed May 1, 2008, the Court noted that the bulk of Plaintiff's complaint concerned the conditions of his confinement, particularly with respect to the quality of food served at Madera County Department of Corrections. (Doc. 8, p.3:6-11). However, the Court noted that Plaintiff's complaint contained different causes of action arising from unrelated events involving different defendants. The Court found that Plaintiff was in violation of Rule 18(a) and dismissed Plaintiff's complaint with leave to amend.

Plaintiff's amended complaint does not cure the deficiency identified by the Court in its May 1, 2008 order. Plaintiff's amended complaint again contains allegations concerning different defendants and different events. For example, Plaintiff's first claim for relief concerns an allegation that he was fired from his job on August 29, 2004 as reprisal for complaints filed. Plaintiff also raises allegations of harassment and racial discrimination. Plaintiff names Lt. Perez, Bernie Macias, Robert Chimnkey, C/O Hernandez, C/O Mcintre, Cpl. Rodriguez, Cpl, Stony, Cpl, Zuniga, Sgt. Followill, C/O Cody, Chief Doug PaPagni collectively violated his rights under the First, Fifth, Eight and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.

Plaintiff's second claim for relief then concerns an incident in December 2006 where defendant Garcia refused to order milk for the inmates at dinner, and told Plaintiff to take milk from other inmates. Plaintiff states that he filed a complaint, and then raises an allegation of retaliation. Plaintiff again alleges a violation of his First, Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, this time against defendants Garcia, Lt. Perez, Sgt. Gonzales and Doug Papagni.

Plaintiff's third claim for relief then concerns an incident on January 1, 2007, where Plaintiff alleges that he was denied access to the courts by defendant Renee Martinez, Pete Martinez, J. Nobette, Sgt. Saeda, Cpl. Arrezola, Sgt. Fisher and the Madera Department of Corrections Transportation defendants. In total, Plaintiff alleges sixteen separate causes of action.

As was previously explained to Plaintiff, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 18(a) provides that "'[a] party asserting a claim to relief as an original claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, may join, either as independent or as alternate claims, as many claims, legal, equitable, or maritime, as the party has against an ...

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