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Languein v. Ahlin

April 8, 2009

MICHAEL LANGUEIN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AHLIN, ET. AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

(Doc. 1)

I. SCREENING ORDER

Michael Languein ("Plaintiff") is a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. Plaintiff and six others filed the Complaint in this action on July 23, 2008. (Doc. 1.) On January 29, 2009, this Court ordered the claims severed, with Plaintiff proceeding on his claims in this action and all other named plaintiffs proceeding in separate actions. (Doc. 23.) Thus, Plaintiff's claims are before the Court for screening at this time.

A. Screening Requirement

"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). A complaint, or portion thereof, should only be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it appears beyond doubt that Plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claim or claims that would entitle him to relief. See Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984), citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); see also Palmer v. Roosevelt Lake Log Owners Ass'n, 651 F.2d 1289, 1294 (9th Cir. 1981).

B. Summary of Plaintiff's Complaint

Plaintiff is a SVP at Coalinga State Hospital (CSH) in Coalinga, California -- where the acts he complains of occurred.

Plaintiff names defendants: Pam Ahlin, Acting Executive Director of CSH; Cynthia A. Radavsky, Deputy Director of Long Term Services (CDMH); Mr. Montoyo, Acting Director of DCPS; Gary Renzaglia, Clinical Administrator of CSH; and Linda Clark, Assistant Chief of SCH. It appears that Plaintiff only seeks injunctive relief via imposition of a number of policy changes at CSH.

Plaintiff complains that a number of policies and/or procedures at CSH infringe upon his ability to exercise his religion. The manner in which the Complaint is organized makes it difficult at best to ascertain specific factual basis for Plaintiff's generalized policy claims. On the first page of the Complaint, Plaintiff states that the named defendants violated, and denied him of, his Federal Constitutional rights to substantive due process, equal protection, and under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, and the State of California Constitution.*fn1 Thereafter, Plaintiff states broad and general allegations relating to a number of policies and/or procedures that, as best as the Court is able to decipher, relate to his ability to freely exercise his religion -- the Inyana Native American Spiritual Circle (INASC). Plaintiff fails to delineate which factual allegations he feels show violation(s) of any specific constitutional right(s). Screening Plaintiff's Complaint is further complicated by the disorganized and somewhat repetitive manner in which it is formatted. To wit, on the second page, Plaintiff lists some thirteen (though misnumbered) areas where he feels policies and procedures infringed on his rights; Plaintiff's statement of facts delineates twelve (though also misnumbered) such infringements; but, he delineates seventeen issues on which he requests injunctive relief. The Court provides Plaintiff with the following law that appears to apply to his claims. However, the Court is simply unable to ascertain any factual basis for a number of the issues upon which Plaintiff requests injunctive relief. It is Plaintiff's duty to correlate his claims for relief with their alleged factual basis. Plaintiff's complaint is also peppered with legal citations and quotes which are superfluous and only serve to obscure his factual allegations. It appears that Plaintiff has cut and pasted whole excerpts from published rulings in other cases into his Complaint which causes it to appear that he is pursuing instances and factual scenarios that have previously been litigated by other parties. If he chooses to file a first amended complaint, Plaintiff should avoid stating any legal citations, quotations, and/or argument. Plaintiff may be able to amend to correct deficiencies in his pleading so as to state cognizable claims. Thus, he is being given what appear to be the applicable standards and leave to file a first amended complaint.

C. Pleading Requirements

1. Linkage

The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides:

Every person who, under color of [state law]... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution... shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.

42 U.S.C. § 1983. The statute plainly requires that there be an actual connection or link between the actions of the defendants and the deprivation alleged to have been suffered by Plaintiff. See Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362 (1976). The Ninth Circuit has held that "[a] person 'subjects' another to the deprivation of a constitutional right, within the meaning of section 1983, if he does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative acts or omits to perform an act which he is legally required to do that causes the deprivation of which complaint is made." Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978). In order to state a claim for relief under section 1983, Plaintiff must link each named defendant with some affirmative act or omission that demonstrates a violation of Plaintiff's federal rights. Plaintiff fails to link any of the named defendants to any act or omission to demonstrate a violation of his federal rights. Further, Plaintiff mentions Rick Daley, Chief of CPS in his factual allegations, but fails to list him as a defendant in the caption, or anywhere else in his complaint. If Plaintiff intends to pursue claims against Chief Daley, he must appropriately identify him as a defendant in this action.

Further, all of the defendants named in this action are supervisors. Supervisory personnel are generally not liable under section 1983 for the actions of their employees under a theory of respondeat superior and, therefore, when a named defendant holds a supervisorial position, the causal link between him and the claimed constitutional violation must be specifically alleged. See Fayle v. Stapley, 607 F.2d 858, 862 (9th Cir. 1979); Mosher v. Saalfeld, 589 F.2d 438, 441 (9th Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 442 U.S. 941 (1979). To state a claim for relief under section 1983 based on a theory of supervisory liability, plaintiff must allege some facts that would support a claim that supervisory defendants either: personally participated in the alleged deprivation of constitutional rights; knew of the violations and failed to act to prevent them; or promulgated or "implemented a policy so deficient that the policy 'itself is a repudiation of constitutional rights' and is 'the moving force of the constitutional violation.'" Hansen v. Black, 885 F.2d 642, 646 (9th Cir. 1989) (internal citations omitted); Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989).

Plaintiff has not alleged any facts indicating that any of the defendants personally participated in the alleged deprivation of constitutional rights; knew of any violations and failed to act to prevent them; or promulgated or "implemented a policy so deficient that the policy 'itself is a repudiation of constitutional rights' and is 'the moving force of the constitutional violation.'" Hansen v. Black at 646. Although federal pleading standards are broad, some facts must be alleged to support claims under section 1983. See Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 168 (1993).

2. Exhibits

Plaintiff's complaint is ninety-three pages long. Only eleven pages of the complaint contain Plaintiff's factual allegations -- all other pages are exhibits. Plaintiff is advised that the Court is not a repository for the parties' evidence. Originals, or copies of evidence (i.e., prison or medical records, witness affidavits, etc.) need not be submitted until the course of litigation brings the evidence into question (for example, on a motion for summary judgment, at trial, or when requested by the Court). At this point, the submission of evidence is premature as Plaintiff is only required to state a prima facie claim for relief. Thus, in amending his ...


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