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Bell v. Kurtz

November 10, 2010

HORACE BELL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
T. KURTZ, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHIN 30 DAYS

(Doc. 1)

Plaintiff Horace Bell ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") and is currently incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison ("KVSP") in Delano, California. Plaintiff is suing under Section 1983 for the violation of his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff also alleges that his rights under the California Constitution were violated. Plaintiff names T. Kurtz, N. Grannis, and G. Flippo as defendants ("Defendants"). For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Plaintiff's complaint fails to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and fails to state any cognizable claims. Plaintiff's complaint will be dismissed, with leave to file an amended complaint within thirty days.

I. 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).

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

Plaintiff claims that he suffered inhumane treatment and cruel and unusual punishment. However, Plaintiff's complaint does not set forth any of the facts that give rise to his complaint. Instead, Plaintiff's complaint requests the Court to take "judicial notice of attached staff complaint, parties involved and chronology of events." Plaintiff has attached approximately 80 pages of exhibits to his complaint. The exhibits include copies of administrative grievances, citizen's complaints, appeal tracking logs, letters from senators, doctor's orders, and letters to and from various people and organizations.

III. Discussion

A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8

The Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for failing to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. 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).

Plaintiff's complaint is neither "short" nor "plain." His complaint does not set forth his allegations in a "plain," straightforward manner. Instead, Plaintiff has simply attached 80 pages of various documents to his complaint. Even after reviewing the numerous documents, Plaintiff's claims and his allegations are unclear.

The Court will not review Plaintiff's documents and piece together facts to formulate causes of action on Plaintiff's behalf. Plaintiff must prepare a complaint that alleges facts setting forth the nature of each defendant's conduct and how they violated Plaintiff's rights.

In addition to the "short and plain" requirement under Rule 8, the Court will provide Plaintiff with the following formatting requirements. Plaintiff's allegations "must be simple, concise, and direct." Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(d)(1) (emphasis added). "A party must state its claims or defenses in numbered paragraphs, each limited as far as practicable to a single set of circumstances." Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10(b) (emphasis added). "[E]ach claim founded on a separate transaction or occurrence... must be stated in a separate count." Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10(b) (emphasis added).

Defendants are not sued collectively and each Defendant is only liable for the injuries caused by their own actions. See Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 633 (9th Cir. 1988) ("The inquiry into causation must be individualized and focus on the duties and responsibilities of each individual defendant whose acts or omissions are alleged to have caused a constitutional deprivation.") Plaintiff's amended complaint must clearly state individually for each Defendant 1) who that Defendant is; 2) what that Defendant did; 3) what right that Defendant violated; and 4) how that Defendant's actions violated that right. Plaintiff may not simply provide a narrative recounting a series of injuries he suffered, combine all Defendants, and vaguely allege that his Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated.

The Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for failing to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. Further, since Plaintiff's complaint fails to set forth any factual allegations or causes of action in a clear and straightforward manner, the Court ...


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