UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
March 30, 2011
LARRY SMALL; J. TIM OCHOA; ACEVES; WATERS; ANAYA; SILVA; TRUJILLO; CATE; WILKINS; FOSTON; DOES 1 - 50,
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Michael M. Anello United States District Judge
(1) DISMISSING DEFENDANTS CDCR, STATE OF CALIFORNIA, DIRECTOR OF CORRECTIONS AND UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; (2) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO SERVE SUMMONS AND DIRECTING U.S. MARSHAL TO EFFECT SERVICE OF SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO FED.R.CIV.P. 4(c)(3) & 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d)
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On June 4, 2010, Plaintiff, Paul Adams, a state prisoner currently incarcerated at Ironwood State Prison located in Blythe, California and proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff also filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis ("IFP") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). On June 28, 2010, the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed IFP and sua sponte dismissed his Complaint for failing to state a claim. See June 28, 2010 Order at 5-6. On December 1, 2010, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint ("FAC"). Once again, the Court conducted a sua sponte screening and dismissed his First Amended Complaint for failing to state a claim. See Feb. 9, 2011 Order at 6. Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") on March 2, 2011.
II. SUA SPONTE SCREENING PER 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) AND § 1915A
As the Court stated in its previous Orders, the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") obligates the Court to review complaints filed by all persons proceeding IFP and by those, like Plaintiff, who are "incarcerated or detained in any facility [and] accused of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for, violations of criminal law or the terms or conditions of parole, probation, pretrial release, or diversionary program," "as soon as practicable after docketing." See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b). Under these provisions, the Court must sua sponte dismiss any IFP or prisoner complaint, or any portion thereof, which is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim, or which seeks damages from defendants who are immune. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A; Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (§ 1915(e)(2)); Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 446 (9th Cir. 2000) (§ 1915A).
Before amendment by the PLRA, the former 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d) permitted sua sponte dismissal of only frivolous and malicious claims. Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1126, 1130. An action is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in either law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989). However 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A now mandate that the court reviewing an IFP or prisoner's suit make and rule on its own motion to dismiss before effecting service of the Complaint by the U.S. Marshal pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 4(c)(2). Id. at 1127 ("[S]section 1915(e) not only permits, but requires a district court to dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint that fails to state a claim."); see also Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A).
"[W]hen determining whether a complaint states a claim, a court must accept as true all allegations of material fact and must construe those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Resnick, 213 F.3d at 447; Barren, 152 F.3d at 1194 (noting that § 1915(e)(2) "parallels the language of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)"). In addition, the Court's duty to liberally construe a pro se's pleadings, see Karim-Panahi v. Los Angeles Police Dept., 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir. 1988), is "particularly important in civil rights cases." Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1261 (9th Cir. 1992).
In his Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff no longer names the CDCR, the State of California, the Director of Corrections, or the United States of America as Defendants in this matter. The Court informed Plaintiff in its February 9, 2011 Order that any Defendant not renamed and all claims not re-alleged in the Second Amended Complaint would be deemed to have been waived. See Feb. 9, 2011 Order at 6 (citing See King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567 (9th Cir. 1987)). Thus, these Defendants are DISMISSED from this action.
As for the remainder of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, the Court finds that Plaintiff's claims are now sufficiently pleaded to survive the sua sponte screening required by 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b). Therefore, Plaintiff is entitled to U.S. Marshal service on his behalf. See Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1126-27; 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d) ("The officers of the court shall issue and serve all process, and perform all duties in [IFP] cases."); FED.R.CIV.P. 4(c)(3) ("[T]he court may order that service be made by a United States marshal or deputy marshal ... if the plaintiff is authorized to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915."). Plaintiff is cautioned, however, that "the sua sponte screening and dismissal procedure is cumulative of, and not a substitute for, any subsequent Rule 12(b)(6) motion that [a defendant] may choose to bring." Teahan v. Wilhelm, 481 F. Supp. 2d 1115, 1119 (S.D. Cal. 2007).
III. CONCLUSION AND ORDER
Good cause appearing therefor, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Defendants CDCR, the State of California, the Director of Corrections, or the United States of America are DISMISSED from this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b). The Clerk of Court is directed to terminate these Defendants from the Court's docket.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that:
2. Plaintiff's Motion to Serve Summons [ECF No. 17] is GRANTED. The Clerk shall issue a summons as to Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint [ECF No. 15] upon the remaining Defendants and shall forward it to Plaintiff along with a blank U.S. Marshal Form 285 for each of these Defendants. In addition, the Clerk shall provide Plaintiff with a certified copy of this Order, the Court's June 28, 2010 Order granting Plaintiff leave to proceed IFP [ECF No.
3], and certified copies of his Second Amended Complaint and the summons for purposes of serving each Defendant. Upon receipt of this "IFP Package," Plaintiff is directed to complete the Form 285s as completely and accurately as possible, and to return them to the United States Marshal according to the instructions provided by the Clerk in the letter accompanying his IFP package. Thereafter, the U.S. Marshal shall serve a copy of the Second Amended Complaint and summons upon each Defendant as directed by Plaintiff on each Form 285. All costs of service shall be advanced by the United States. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d); FED.R.CIV.P. 4(c)(3).
3. Defendants are thereafter ORDERED to reply to Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint within the time provided by the applicable provisions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(a). See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2) (while Defendants may occasionally be permitted to "waive the right to reply to any action brought by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility under section 1983," once the Court has conducted its sua sponte screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(b), and thus, has made a preliminary determination based on the face on the pleading alone that Plaintiff has a "reasonable opportunity to prevail on the merits," Defendants are required to respond).
4. Plaintiff shall serve upon Defendants or, if appearance has been entered by counsel, upon Defendants' counsel, a copy of every further pleading or other document submitted for consideration of the Court. Plaintiff shall include with the original paper to be filed with the Clerk of the Court a certificate stating the manner in which a true and correct copy of any document was served on Defendants, or counsel for Defendants, and the date of service.
Any paper received by the Court which has not been filed with the Clerk or which fails to include a Certificate of Service will be disregarded.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
© 1992-2011 VersusLaw Inc.