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Martin v. Yates

October 13, 2009

CURTIS L. MARTIN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES A. YATES, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND HIS COMPLAINT AS MOOT

(Doc. 12)

ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, FOR FAILURE TO STATE ANY CLAIMS UPON WHICH RELIEF MAY BE GRANTED (Doc. 18) SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN 30 DAYS

I. Screening Order

Plaintiff Curtis L. Martin ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff commenced this action by filing in the Northern District of California on September 12, 2008. The case was transferred to the Eastern District of California on April 28, 2009.*fn1 On June 29, 2009, Plaintiff filed his first amended complaint. (Doc. 18.)

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).

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)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusion are not. Id. at 1949.

II. Summary of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint

Plaintiff was formerly incarcerated at Pleasant Valley State Prison ("PVSP") in Coalinga, California, where the events which gave rise to this action allegedly occurred. Plaintiff names as defendants: James A. Yates, warden; F. Igbinosa, chief medical officer; John Diep, M.D.; Howard Erhman, M.D.; and John and Jane Does 1 through 10.

Plaintiff's first amended complaint is incomplete. Several pages are missing, making it difficult to determine what Plaintiff's allegations are against each defendant. Plaintiff will thus be given leave to amend his complaint. Plaintiff also submitted eighty-six pages of exhibits with his amended complaint. Plaintiff is warned that the Court will not serve as a repository for the parties' evidence. Originals or copies of evidence (i.e., prison or medical records, witness affidavits, etc.) should 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 complaint, Plaintiff should simply state the facts upon which he alleges a defendant has violated his constitutional rights and refrain from submitting exhibits.

With regard to exhibits intended to support a complaint, such exhibits must be attached to the complaint and must be incorporated by reference. Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(c). With regard to exhibits that are properly attached to the complaint, Plaintiff is cautioned that it is not the duty of the Court to wade through his exhibits to determine whether or not he has claims cognizable under § 1983. Rather, the court looks to the factual allegations contained in plaintiff's complaint to determine whether or not Plaintiff has stated a cognizable claim for relief under § 1983. If Plaintiff attaches exhibits to his complaint, each exhibit must be specifically referenced. For example, Plaintiff must state "see Exhibit A" or something similar in order to alert the court to exactly which exhibit plaintiff is referencing. Plaintiff may not merely point the court to attached exhibits and expect that the court will read through all of the exhibits and determine which exhibit it appears that plaintiff is referring to. Further, if the exhibit consists of more than one page, Plaintiff must reference the specific portion of the exhibit.

Further, the Court deems it necessary to caution Plaintiff regarding the attachment of exhibits to his complaint. It is the experience of this Court that when prisoners proceeding without the assistance of counsel submit exhibits in support of their complaints, the exhibits serve only to confuse the record and make it much more difficult for the Court to determine whether or not the prisoner has any cognizable claims for relief. As previously stated, the Court looks to the factual allegations to determine whether or not the plaintiff has stated a claim for relief. The Court must assume that the plaintiff's factual allegations are true. Therefore, it is unnecessary, generally, for the plaintiff to submit evidence in support of his allegations.

Plaintiff's claim concerns his inadequate medical treatment. The Court provides the applicable law for Plaintiff to ...


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