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Lopez v. Hartley

November 10, 2010

GERARDO LOPEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES D. HARTLEY, 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

Plaintiff Gerardo Lopez ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis 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 Avenal State Prison ("ASP") in Avenal, California. Plaintiff names James D. Hartley, T. Allen, L. Warren, T. Ruiz, T. Kraemer, A. Matheuex, N. Lopez, and Harter as defendants ("Defendants"). For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Plaintiff's complaint fails to state any cognizable claims. Plaintiff's complaint will be dismissed with leave to file an amended complaint that cures the deficiencies identified in Plaintiff's claims.

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's one-paragraph complaint alleges:

Correctional personell[sic] being falsifying legal papers, reports, manuscripts, and reports from the incidents between inmates as well violating the time frame due process, overturned their filling[sic] reports procedures as well ours rights, like the denial of an investigators employees, and our statements privating[sic] our rights, so why not be investigated our judiciated an investigations for the warden and institutional officers because all the time they want to see us to be involved in serious riots and obligate to us to be part of all these kind of actions. Technically illegal decisions. (Compl. 3, ECF No. 1.)

The remainder of Plaintiff's complaint consists of twelve pages of exhibits, such as administrative appeals and staff complaints. The attached documents appear to be related to a rules violation report that Plaintiff received for possession of a controlled substance. The documents state that Plaintiff filed appeals because he was found guilty of the rules violation, but could not speak English, was not given his Miranda Rights, and that prison officials violated various time constraints related to the rules violation hearing and notice.

III. Discussion

A. Failure to State a Claim

Plaintiff's complaint fails to state any cognizable claims. Plaintiff's one-paragraph description of his claim is unclear. Plaintiff appears to be complaining about issues related to a rules violation report. However, Plaintiff fails to identify what each defendant did and fails to describe how he was injured from Defendants' actions.

Plaintiff is advised that his complaint must contain more than rambling and incoherent allegations and attached exhibits. Plaintiff's complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that [Plaintiff] is entitled to relief." Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) (emphasis added). "Each allegation 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).

Plaintiff's compliant "must simply 'give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Plaintiff's complaint must give Defendants' a fair opportunity to frame their defenses. It is very difficult to frame a defense to ...


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