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Broughton v. Yates

August 25, 2010

KENDALL BROUGHTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES YATES, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION, WITH PREJUDICE, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (Doc. 11) OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE IN 30 DAYS

I. Procedural History

Plaintiff Kendall Broughton is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is currently housed at Corcoran State Prison. The original complaint arose out of Plaintiff's exposure to Valley Fever which he contracted while housed at Pleasant Valley State Prison (Pleasant Valley).

Plaintiff initially filed this action in Fresno County Superior Court on November 7, 2007. On February 26, 2008, the case was removed to this Court by Defendants Yates and Igbinosa. 28 U.S.C § 1441(a). Plaintiff filed a response to Defendants' notice of removal on March 14, 2008, requesting the Court remand the action. The Court issued an order denying Plaintiff's request for remand on April 17, 2009. On October 23, 2009, the Court issued an order dismissing the original complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and allowed Plaintiff thirty days to amend. Plaintiff filed an application for extension of time which was granted on December 10, 2009. A first amended complaint was filed on January 15, 2010.

II. 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 "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted," or that "seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C § 1915A(b).

In determining whether a complaint states a claim, the Court looks to the pleading standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Under 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)(2). "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. V. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 555 (2007)). "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability . . . 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, although a court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

III. Discussion

A. Amended Complaint

An amended complaint supercedes the original complaint, Forsyth v. Humana, Inc., 114 F.3d 1467, 1474 (9th Cir. 1997); King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567 (9th Cir. 1987), and must be "complete in itself without reference to the prior or superceded pleading." Local Rule 220. Therefore, "[a]ll causes of action alleged in an original complaint which are not alleged in an amended complaint are waived." King, 814 F.2d at 567 (citing to London v. Coopers & Lybrand, 644 F.2d 811, 814 (9th Cir. 1981)); accord Forsyth, 114 F.3d at 1474.

The first amended complaint does not allege claims against either defendant named in the original complaint, effectively waiving those prior claims. The first amended complaint alleges that Matthew Cate,*fn1 Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, was responsible for sending Plaintiff to Pleasant Valley despite knowing that there was a high infection rate from Valley Fever. While incarcerated at Pleasant Valley, Plaintiff contracted Valley Fever. Therefore, Defendant Cate is allegedly responsible for exposing Plaintiff to Valley Fever.(Doc. 11, Amend. Comp., § 2.)

B. Failure to State a Claim

Under § 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

The statute clearly requires that there be an actual connection or link between the actions of the defendants and the deprivation alleged to have been suffered by the plaintiff. See Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978). Government officials may not be held liable for the actions of their subordinates under a theory of respondeat superior. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1948. Since a government official cannot be held liable under a theory of vicarious liability in ยง 1983 actions, Plaintiff must plead that the official has violated the Constitution through his own individual actions. Id. at 1948. In other words, to state a claim for ...


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