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Myers v. Alemedia

April 7, 2009

CHARLES MYERS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
E. ALEMEDIA, ET. AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Wunderlich United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

(Doc. 20)

I. SCREENING ORDER

Charles Myers ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. Plaintiff filed his Complaint on April 13, 2004. (Doc. 1.) The Court screened Plaintiff's Complaint and dismissed it with leave to amend. (Doc. 16.) Plaintiff did not amend within the required time such that a Findings and Recommendation issued for the action to be dismissed. (Doc. 17.) Subsequently, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint and objections to the Findings and Recommendations. (Docs. 20, 21.) The Court vacated the Findings and Recommendations of dismissal. (Doc. 23.) Thus, Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint is now before the Court for screening.

A. 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)).

B. Summary of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint

Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint is one hundred sixty three (163) pages of documents from which it is practically impossible to ascertain what constitutional claims Plaintiff is attempting to state. Per the Court's docket, Plaintiff is currently a state prisoner at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison ("SATF") in Corcoran, California -- which is the same facility of incarceration listed for Plaintiff on his First Amended Complaint. On the amended complaint form, Plaintiff fails to make any attempt to state the facts of his claims, or the relief which he seeks. Rather, Plaintiff refers to an "attached complaint." (Doc. 20, pg. 3.) However, no complaint for constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is attached. Plaintiff did attach a petition for writ of habeas corpus with memorandum of points and authorities, various inmate appeals and responses, work logs, medical records, and pharmacy records. If Plaintiff intended to challenge the legality or duration of his confinement, he is advised that a separate filing of a habeas corpus petition is the correct method for him to do so. Badea v. Cox, 931 F.2d 573, 574 (9th Cir. 1991), quoting, Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 485 (1973); Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 1 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. However, if Plaintiff intends to pursue issues raised in the attached petition for writ of habeas corpus as constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, then he must reformat his claims and their factual basis to present them in the proper document form -- i.e. as a complaint under § 1983, presenting his factual basis for all alleged constitutional violations without requiring that his allegations be gleaned from information stated in a habeas corpus petition. It appears from the Court's screening of the original Complaint, that Plaintiff might be intending to pursue claims for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Plaintiff may be able to amend to correct deficiencies in his pleading so as to state cognizable claims. Thus, he is once again given the applicable standards and leave to file a second amended complaint. However, since these standards were previously provided to Plaintiff, and this is his last opportunity he will be given to state cognizable claims.

C. Pleading Requirements

1. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)

"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. Pro. 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. Pro. 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)).

2. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a)

"The controlling principle appears in Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a) '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 opposing party.' Thus multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2. Unrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits, not only to prevent the sort of morass [a multiple claim, multiple defendant] suit produce[s], but also to ensure that prisoners pay the required filing fees-for the Prison Litigation Reform Act limits to 3 ...


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