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Sims v. Grannis

May 7, 2009

ERNEST SIMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GRANNIS, ET. AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

(Doc. 1)

I. SCREENING ORDER

Ernest Sims ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. Plaintiff filed his Complaint on December 6, 2007. (Doc. 1.)

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 Complaint

Plaintiff is currently housed at Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison ("SATF") in Corcoran, California. At the time of the issues complained of in his complaint, Plaintiff was a state prisoner at Wasco State Prison ("WSP") in Wasco, California. Plaintiff names defendants Inmate Appeals Branch Chief N. Grannis, Correctional Officer Raydon McCoy, Lieutenant L.R. Peterson, Captain T. Ellis, WSP Associate Warden J.Haviland, CCII Appeals Coordinator Andrew S. Altnow, Chief Inmate Appeals Examiner P. Enriquez, and Does 1 through 7. Plaintiff seeks injunctive, declaratory, and monetary damages.

Plaintiff's allegations revolve around two incidents in which he was issued a "CDC 115 Rules Violation Report (RVR)" for indecent exposure. The same day as each incident, he was placed in Administrative Segregation ("Ad-Seg") pending hearing and adjudication of the applicable RVR. Plaintiff complains of both subsequent disciplinary hearings.

Plaintiff fails to state any cognizable claims, but may be able to amend to correct the deficiencies in his pleading. Thus, he is being given the applicable standards based on his stated claims for relief and leave to file a first amended complaint.

C. Plaintiff's Complaint 1. Linkage Requirement

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 must clarify which Defendant(s) he feels are responsible for any violation(s) of his constitutional rights and their factual basis as his Complaint must put each Defendant on notice of Plaintiff's claims against him or her. See Austin v. Terhune, 367 F.3d 1167, 1171 (9th Cir. 2004). Plaintiff mentions a number of prison personnel in his factual allegations whom he has not named and/or identified as defendants in this action. If Plaintiff intends to pursue claims against these persons, he must appropriately identify them as defendants in this action. Further, Plaintiff must specifically identify which defendant(s) he feels are responsible for any given violation(s) of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff generally alleges that "Defendants" have violated various of his constitutional rights. Where there are a number of diverse defendants and a number of allegations, claims which vaguely refer to "defendants" or "other responsible authorities" will not suffice to place any defendant on notice of a plaintiff's claims so as to prepare a defense. McHenry v. Renne 84 F.3d 1172 (9th Cir. 1996).

Plaintiff names Appeals Coordinator Andrew S. Altnow and Chief Inmate Appeals Examiner P. Enriquez as defendants, but he fails to link either of them to any of his factual allegations. Both Appeals Coordinator Andrew S. Altnow and Chief Inmate Appeals Examiner

P. Enriquez are dismissed for Plaintiff's failure to link them to any affirmative act or omission that demonstrates a ...


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