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James Lee Helm v. Adam Christianson

July 5, 2011

JAMES LEE HELM,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ADAM CHRISTIANSON, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



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

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION, WITH PREJUDICE, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM UNDER SECTION 1983 THIRTY-DAY OBJECTION PERIOD (Doc. 16)

Findings and Recommendations Following Screening of Amended Complaint

I. Procedural History

Plaintiff James Lee Helm, a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on December 4, 2009. On February 22, 2011, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint, with leave to amend, for failure to state a claim under section 1983. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on April 18, 2011.

II. Screening Requirement and Standard

The Court is required to screen Plaintiff's amended complaint and dismiss the case, in whole or in part, if the Court determines it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). 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). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice," Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007)), and courts "are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences," Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

Under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendantpersonally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

III. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint

A. Plaintiff's Claims

Plaintiff's claims arise from an approximately three-month period of time when he was housed at the Stanislaus County Jail for civil commitment proceedings. Plaintiff alleges that Sheriff Adam Christianson, Inmate Classification Lieutenant Clifton, and Facility Lieutenant Lloyd violated his rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

1. Claim One

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Christianson is "culpable and liable" for the actions and/or omissions of personnel under his command or under contract with Stanislaus County. (Amend. Comp., p. 5.) Further, Defendant Christianson had a duty to ensure that personnel under his command were properly trained.

Plaintiff alleges that after being received at the jail, he waited in excess of three hours and was then placed in an area designated for convicted criminals or criminal pretrial detainees. After repeatedly informing staff that he was a civil detainee, Plaintiff was subjected to an unclothed body search and a body cavity search and he was denied the ability to communicate confidentially with his attorney regarding his commitment proceedings. Plaintiff alleges that he is entitled to more considerate treatment as a civil detainee, and that ...


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