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Bagent v. Mayberg

September 8, 2010

JOHN BAGENT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STEPHEN MAYBERG, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF CLAIMS, WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN 30 DAYS

Plaintiff John Bagent ("Plaintiff") is a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is currently housed in Coalinga State Hospital in Coalinga, California. Plaintiff is suing under Section 1983 for the violation of his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff's complaint describes numerous procedural deficiencies in the proceedings that resulted in his continued civil detainment. Plaintiff names Steven Mayberg (executive director, California Department of Mental Health, hereinafter "CDMH"), Robert Owen ("SVP Evaluator," CDMH), Nancy Rueschenberg ("SVP Evaluator," CDMH), Marc C. Patterson ("SVP Evaluator," CDMH), and Steven R. Jenkins ("SVP Evaluator," CDMH) as defendants. For the reasons set forth below the Court finds that Plaintiff fails to state any cognizable claims and will recommend that Plaintiff's claims be dismissed without leave to amend.

I. Screening

Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis in this action. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court shall dismiss any action brought in forma pauperis at any time if the Court determines that the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim, the Court uses the same pleading standard used 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. 544, 555 (2007)). "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (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.'" Id. (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. Id. "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).

II. Background

A. Procedural Background

Plaintiff filed the original complaint in this action on November 21, 2007. (Doc. #1.) On January 22, 2009, Plaintiff requested leave to file a first amended complaint. (Doc. #10.) The Court granted Plaintiff's request and Plaintiff filed his "Second Amended Complaint" on April 30, 2009.*fn1

(Doc. #14.) The Court screened Plaintiff's "Second Amended Complaint" on October 9, 2009. (Doc. #16.) The Court found that Plaintiff's "Second Amended Complaint" failed to state any cognizable claims and dismissed it with leave to file a "Third Amended Complaint" within 30 days.

Plaintiff filed his "Third Amended Complaint" on November 19, 2009. (Doc. #19.) This action proceeds on Plaintiff's "Third Amended Complaint."

B. Factual Background

1. Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated his rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff also claims that Defendants violated his rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages, injunctive relief, and declaratory relief. Plaintiff contends that the proceedings that caused and will continue to cause his continued civil confinement are unconstitutional.

Defendant Stephen Mayberg is the director of CDMH. Plaintiff claims that Mayberg was responsible for establishing the policies, practices, and procedures with respect to Plaintiff's civil detainment proceedings. Defendants Owen, Reuschenberg, Petterson, and Jenkins are contract psychologists who evaluated Plaintiff for the purposes of determining whether Plaintiff meets the criteria for continued involuntary civil confinement pursuant to California's Sexually Violent Predator Act ("SVPA").

Plaintiff complains that Defendants relied on improper evidence and failed to consider relevant evidence when rendering their diagnosis of Plaintiff. Plaintiff complains that Owen, Reuschenberg, Patterson, and Jenkins "impermissibly counted, for purpose[sic] of scoring the STATIC 99 risk assessment actuarial, offenses which were dismissed by the courts, and non-enumerated offenses, all of which is contrary to CDMH's written directives." (Third Am. Civil Rights Compl. 10:9-12, ECF No. 19.*fn2 ) Plaintiff contends that these offenses were impermissibly considered when Defendants rendered their diagnosis of Plaintiff. Plaintiff complains that Owen, Reuschenberg, Patterson, and Jenkins failed to consider Plaintiff's health and age when assessing Plaintiff's risk of re-offending. Plaintiff complains that Owen, Reuschenberg, Patterson, and Jenkins erroneously concluded that Plaintiff was not amenable to treatment outside a secure environment. Plaintiff also complains that Owen, Reuschenberg, Patterson, and Jenkins failed to mention Plaintiff's "level of dangerousness" in their reports. Additionally, ...


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