Plaintiff is an inmate at California State Prison -- Sacramento ("CSP-Sac") proceeding without counsel in an action brought under 42 U.S.C. Â§ 1983. The case was referred to the undersigned by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Â§ 636(b)(1).
Plaintiff has requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Â§ 1915. His declaration makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. Â§ 1915(a)(1) and (2), and accordingly, the request is granted.
However, federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. Â§ 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted," or "seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." Id. Â§ 1915A(b).
A district court must construe a pro se pleading "liberally" to determine if it states a claim and, prior to dismissal, tell a plaintiff of deficiencies in his complaint and give plaintiff an opportunity to cure them. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130-31 (9th Cir. 2000). While detailed factual allegations are not required, "[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 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "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 claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to a "probability requirement," but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.
Id. (citations and quotation marks omitted). Although legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations, and are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Id. at 1950The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides: Every person who, under color of [state law] . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution . . . shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress . . . .
42 U.S.C. Â§ 1983. An individual defendant is not liable on a civil rights claim unless the facts establish the defendant's personal involvement in the constitutional deprivation or a causal connection between the defendant's wrongful conduct and the alleged constitutional deprivation. See Hansen v. Black, 885 F.2d 642, 646 (9th Cir. 1989); Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743-44 (9th Cir. 1978).
The court has reviewed plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Â§ 1915A. It appears that plaintiff intends to pursue claims based on allegations of: (1) prison officials' deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs (in failing to properly respond to incidents in which he has been "out on the ground" or has fallen to the ground) and (2) plaintiff's desire to eat no meat based on his Christian beliefs. However, plaintiff has failed to state a cognizable claim against any defendant on either issue.
Plaintiff does not allege facts showing how any defendant was personally involved in the alleged deprivations of his federal rights. Plaintiff names as defendants "Menon" and one other, whose name is not legible from the complaint but is perhaps "Dwight." Compl. at 2. Plaintiff's factual allegations, however, contain no mention of the defendants named in the caption, alleging only that an unspecified correctional officer failed to assist him when he was "on the floor," that unspecified medical staff informed him that there was not much other than x-rays they could do for him, and that he does not eat meat because he is a Christian and was told by unspecified person(s) to speak to the chaplain about it. Compl. at 3-4. These allegations fail make out cognizable claims because they do not inform how each named defendant was personally involved in the alleged constitutional deprivations.
As to plaintiff's free exercise of religion claim, the allegations additionally fail to contain sufficient factual content for the court to draw the reasonable inference that any named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Plaintiff does not allege that any defendant took some act that placed a substantial burden on plaintiff's observation of his religious beliefs. See Hernandez v. Comm'r, 490 U.S. 680, 699 (1989).
Plaintiff must file an amended complaint to proceed. Plaintiff's amended complaint, should he file one, must be legible and must clearly identify the individuals he intends to name as defendants. Plaintiff must also include sufficient factual allegations linking each defendant to an act or omission that would indicate a deprivation of plaintiff's federal rights.
Any amended complaint must show that the federal court has jurisdiction and that plaintiff's action is brought in the right place, that plaintiff is entitled to relief if plaintiff's allegations are true, and must contain a request for particular relief. Plaintiff must identify as a defendant only persons who personally participated in a substantial way in depriving plaintiff of a federal constitutional right. Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978) (a person subjects another to the deprivation of a constitutional right if he does an act, participates in another's act or omits to perform an act he is legally required to do that causes the alleged deprivation). If plaintiff contends he was the victim of a conspiracy, he must identify the participants and allege their agreement to deprive him of a specific federal constitutional right.
In an amended complaint, the allegations must be set forth in numbered paragraphs. Fed.R. Civ. P. 10(b). Plaintiff may join multiple claims if they are all against a single defendant. Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a). If plaintiff has more than one claim based upon separate transactions or occurrences, the claims must be set forth in separate paragraphs. Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(b). Unrelated claims against different defendants must be pursued in multiple lawsuits.
The controlling principle appears in Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a): 'A party asserting a claim . . . may join,  as independent or as alternate claims, as many claims . . . as the party has against an opposing party.' Thus multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against ...