UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
October 14, 2011
MICHAEL EUGENE HOLLIS,
MARGARET MIMS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF No. 1) AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS SCREENING ORDER
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff Michael Eugene Hollis ("Plaintiff") is a federal prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on May 9, 2011. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff's Complaint is now before the Court for screening.
For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
II. SCREENING REQUIREMENTS
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). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . 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, 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 that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.
III. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT*fn1
Plaintiff alleges violations of the First and Eighth Amendments: denial of access to courts and unconstitutionally cold jail temperatures/inadequate lighting. Plaintiff names the following individuals as Defendants: Margaret Mims, John/Jane Does, FNU Dawson, and FNU Calvert.
Plaintiff alleges the following: Between August 22, 2008 and June 16, 2009, Plaintiff was denied adequate access to the law library by Defendants Mims and Doe. Plaintiff could not pursue injunctive relief.
Beginning in November 2008, Plaintiff began suffering numbness and arthritis from the cold temperatures in the jail. On November 23, 2008, Plaintiff filed a grievance asking for additional clothing to keep warm. Plaintiff saw a doctor and was told to get "custody" to give him additional clothing. On November 29, 2008, Plaintiff spoke with Duncan who told Plaintiff that medical had to provide additional clothing or blankets. Plaintiff filed another grievance which was denied by Defendant Doe. On December 2, 2008, Defendants Dawson and Calvert spoke with Plaintiff about his grievances.
From March 23, 2009 until May 7, 2009, Plaintiff was provided inadequate lighting in his cell. The low lighting caused Plaintiff to suffer eye strain, headaches, and depression. Plaintiff was informed by a prison official that it would be fixed. However, it was never fixed, so Plaintiff filed multiple grievances.
Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, and compensatory and punitive damages.
The 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. § 1983. "Section 1983 . . . creates a cause of action for violations of the federal Constitution and laws." Sweaney v. Ada County, Idaho, 119 F.3d 1385, 1391 (9th Cir. 1997) (internal quotations omitted).
A. Library Access Policy and Procedure
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Mims's and Doe's policies and procedures governing law library access was improper and lead to inadequate library access. Plaintiff states that Mims and Doe had a policy of denying library access. Plaintiff claims that Defendants denied him access even though he clearly demonstrated a need for legal resources. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Mims and Doe also refused to produce his inmate account statement so he could proceed in a 2009 action with in forma pauperis status.
Inmates have a fundamental constitutional right of access to the courts. Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 346 (1996). However, the right is limited to direct criminal appeals, habeas petitions, and civil rights actions. Id. at 354. Claims for denial of access to the courts may arise from the frustration or hindrance of "a litigating opportunity yet to be gained" (forward-looking access claim) or from the loss of a meritorious suit that cannot now be tried (backward-looking claim). Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 412-15 (2002). Forward-looking claims allege "that systemic official action frustrates a plaintiff or plaintiff class in preparing and filing suits at the present time." Christopher, 536 U.S. at 413. In these cases that have yet to be litigated, "the justification for recognizing that [forward-looking] claim, is to place the plaintiff in a position to pursue a separate claim for relief once the frustrating condition has been removed." Id. As part of the requirement to plead an injury, a plaintiff must allege that "a non-frivolous legal claim had been frustrated or was being impeded." Lewis, 518 U.S. at 353; see also Christopher, 536 U.S. at 415. Simply stating that a claim is "non-frivolous" due to the action of a government official will not satisfy the actual injury requirement. Christopher, 536 U.S. at 415. Rather, the non-frivolous "underlying cause of action and its lost remedy must be addressed by allegations in the complaint sufficient to give fair notice to a defendant." Id. at 416. The plaintiff must describe this "predicate claim . . . well enough to apply the 'non-frivolous' test and to show that the 'arguable' nature of the underlying claim is more than hope." Id. The complaint should "state the underlying claim in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) just as if it were being independently pursued, and a like plain statement should describe any remedy available under the access claim and presently unique to it." Id. at 417-18; see Lewis, 518 U.S. at 353 n. 3 ("Depriving someone of an arguable (though not yet established) claim inflicts actual injury because it deprives him of something of value-arguable claims are settled, bought and sold. Depriving someone of a frivolous claim, on the other hand, deprives him of nothing at all, except perhaps the punishment of Rule 11 sanctions.").
When a prisoner asserts that he was denied access to the courts and seeks a remedy for a lost opportunity to present a legal claim, he must show: (1) the loss of a non-frivolous or arguable underlying claim; (2) the official acts that frustrated the litigation; and (3) a remedy that may be awarded as recompense but that is not otherwise available in a future suit. Phillips v. Hust, 477 F.3d 1070, 1076 (9th Cir. 2007) (citing Christopher, 536 U.S. at 413-414, overruled on other grounds, Hust v. Phillips, 129 S.Ct. 1036 (2009)).
Having reviewed the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for denial of access to the courts. Plaintiff fails to describe in detail any action that he has been unable to pursue and also fails to show how such action would not be frivolous. Plaintiff merely states that he clearly demonstrated a need for legal resources, but he does not state how. He merely states that he was unable to pursue injunctive relief and that he was hindered in getting a prisoner trust account statement. He does not state anything else about this claim. The Court also notes that Plaintiff was granted in forma pauperis in the 2009 case.
Thus, the Court dismisses this claim and will grant Plaintiff leave to amend this claim.
B. Conditions of Confinement
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants kept the temperature extremely low in the jail and would not give him adequate clothing or blankets for warmth. Plaintiff also alleges that he was provided with inadequate lighting in his cell. Plaintiff blames Defendant Mims and several Does for this failure.
The Eighth Amendment protects prisoners from inhumane methods of punishment and from inhumane conditions of confinement. Morgan v. Morgensen, 465 F.3d 1041, 1045 (9th Cir. 2006). Extreme deprivations are required to make out a conditions of confinement claim, and only those deprivations denying the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities are sufficiently grave to form the basis of an Eighth Amendment violation. Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992). In order to state a claim for violation of the Eighth Amendment, the plaintiff must allege facts sufficient to support a claim that prison officials knew of and disregarded a substantial risk of serious harm to the plaintiff. E.g., Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 847 (1994); Frost v. Agnos, 152 F.3d 1124, 1128 (9th Cir.1998).
Prisoners are entitled to "the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities." Dixon v. Godinez, 114 F.3d 640, 642 (7th Cir. 1997) (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 833-34, 114 S.Ct. 1970, 128 L.Ed.2d 811 (1994)). This includes a right to protection from extreme cold. See id. (holding that cell so cold that ice formed on walls and stayed throughout winter every winter might violate Eighth Amendment). "[C]courts should examine several factors in assessing claims based on low cell temperature, such as the severity of the cold; its duration; whether the prisoner has alternative means to protect himself from the cold; the adequacy of such alternatives; as well as whether he must endure other uncomfortable conditions as well as cold." Dixon, 114 F.3d at 644.
As currently pleaded, it appears to be negligence which caused the confusion on what department was to provide additional clothing for warmth. Plaintiff is given leave to amend this claim. In his amended complaint, he must describe in greater detail who he spoke to, what they said, what response he received, and not just that he filed grievances that were denied.
2. Lighting "Adequate lighting is one of the fundamental attributes of 'adequate shelter' required by the Eighth Amendment." Hoptowit v. Spellman, 753 F.2d 779, 783 (9th Cir. 1985). In Hoptowit, the Ninth Circuit upheld the district court's finding of unconstitutional lighting conditions "based upon evidence that the lighting was so poor that it was inadequate for reading and caused eyestrain and fatigue and hindered attempts to insure that basic sanitation was maintained." Id.
Plaintiff vaguely alleges that the light was so dim that Plaintiff "did have problems seeing during cell cleanup." However, nothing in Plaintiff's allegations suggests that it was so dark that his health was at risk from his inability to maintain basic sanitation. Further, Plaintiff does not allege that the light was so inadequate that he could not read. Plaintiff admits that the light was strong enough to read while sitting at the desk in his cell. Plaintiff complains that he got into fights with his cellmate over the use of the desk. Plaintiff also centers his claims upon the allegation that there was not enough light to permit Plaintiff to read comfortably while seated or lying down on his bunk. These allegations are insufficient to state a cognizable Eighth Amendment claim.
It appears that no named Defendant was deliberately indifferent to the inadequate lighting in Plaintiff's cell. He told an official who said he would put in a maintenance request. Eventually, someone came to fix the light, but could not do so. Another maintenance request was placed. It is unclear whether the light was ever fixed. However, as currently pleaded, it does not appear that any named defendant was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's request. Plaintiff's claim is dismissed and he will be given leave to amend.
C. Medical Claim
Plaintiff claims that Defendant Doctor erroneously took him off his pain medication from February 27, 2009 until March 8, 2009.
Pretrial detainees have a right to adequate medical care under the Fourteenth Amendment. Carnell v. Grimm, 74 F.3d 977, 979 (9th Cir. 1996). The Ninth Circuit has made clear that, with respect to medical needs, "the due process clause imposes, at a minimum, the same duty the Eighth Amendment imposes: 'persons in custody ha[ve] the established right to not have officials remain deliberately indifferent to their serious medical needs.'" Gibson v. County of Washoe, 290 F.3d 1175, 1187 (9th Cir.2002) (citing Carnell, 74 F.3d at 979). "[T]o maintain an Eighth Amendment claim based on prison medical treatment, an inmate must show 'deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.'" Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). The two part test for deliberate indifference requires the plaintiff to show (1) "'a serious medical need' by demonstrating that 'failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in further significant injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain,'" and (2) "the defendant's response to the need was deliberately indifferent." Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096 (quoting McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1992), overruled on other grounds, WMX Techs., Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc) (internal quotations omitted)). Deliberate indifference is shown by "a purposeful act or failure to respond to a prisoner's pain or possible medical need, and harm caused by the indifference." Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096 (citing McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1060). In order to state a claim for violation of the Eighth Amendment, a plaintiff must allege sufficient facts to support a claim that the named defendants "[knew] of and disregard[ed] an excessive risk to [Plaintiff's] health . . . ." Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994).
The objective component of deliberate indifference requires the showing of a serious medical need. "A 'serious' medical need exists if the failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in further significant injury or the 'unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain'." McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1059 (9th Cir. 1992) (quoting Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104); see also Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096. "This is true whether the indifference is manifested by prison doctors in their response to the prisoner's needs or by prison guards in intentionally denying or delaying access to medical care or intentionally interfering with treatment once prescribed." Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104-105. The objective element requires proof that the prisoner's serious medical needs were not timely and properly treated.
The subjective component of deliberate indifference considers the nature of the defendant's response to the serious medical need and whether the defendant had a culpable mental state, which is "'deliberate indifference' to a substantial risk of serious harm." Frost v. Agnos, 152 F.3d 1124, 1128 (9th Cir. 1998) (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S. at 835). "[T]he official must both be aware of the facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the inference." Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. "[T]he official's conduct must have been 'wanton,' which turns not upon its effect on the prisoner, but rather, upon the constraints facing the official." Frost, 152 F.3d at 1128 (quoting Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 302-303 (1991)). "This second prong--defendant's response to the need was deliberately indifferent--is satisfied by showing (a) a purposeful act or failure to respond to a prisoner's pain or possible medical need and (b) harm caused by the indifference." Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096 (citing McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1060). "A prisoner need not show his harm was substantial; however, such would provide additional support for the inmate's claim that the defendant was deliberately indifferent to his needs." Id. Indications of a serious medical need include "[t]he existence of an injury that a reasonable doctor or patient would find important and worthy of comment or treatment; the presence of a medical condition that significantly affects an individual's daily activities; or the existence of chronic and substantial pain." McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1059-60 (citing Wood v. Housewright, 900 F.2d 1332, 1337-41 (9th Cir. 1990)).
If the claim alleges mere delay of treatment, the inmate must establish that the delay resulted in some harm. McGuckin, 974 F .2d at 1060 (citing Shapley v. Nevada Board of State Prison Comm'rs, 766 F.2d 404, 407 (9th Cir.1985) (per curiam)). The delay need not cause permanent injury. McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1060; see also Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 10 (1992). Unnecessary infliction of pain is sufficient to satisfy this requirement. Id.
In applying this standard, the Ninth Circuit has held that before it can be said that a prisoner's civil rights have been abridged, "the indifference to his medical needs must be substantial. Mere 'indifference,' 'negligence,' or 'medical malpractice' will not support this cause of action." Broughton v. Cutter Laboratories, 622 F.2d 458, 460 (9th Cir. 1980) (citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105-06). "[A] complaint that a physician has been negligent in diagnosing or treating a medical condition does not state a valid claim of medical mistreatment under the Eighth Amendment. Medical malpractice does not become a constitutional violation merely because the victim is a prisoner." Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106; see also Anderson v. County of Kern, 45 F.3d 1310, 1316 (9th Cir. 1995); McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1050, overruled on other grounds, WMX, 104 F.3d at 1136. Even gross negligence is insufficient to establish deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. See Wood v. Housewright, 900 F.2d 1332, 1334 (9th Cir. 1990).
Also, "a difference of opinion between a prisoner-patient and prison medical authorities regarding treatment does not give rise to a § 1983 claim." Franklin v. Oregon, 662 F.2d 1337, 1344 (9th Cir. 1981) (internal citation omitted). To prevail, Plaintiff "must show that the course of treatment the doctors chose was medically unacceptable under the circumstances . . . and . . . that they chose this course in conscious disregard of an excessive risk to plaintiff's health." Jackson v. McIntosh, 90 F.3d 330, 332 (9th Cir. 1986) (internal citations omitted). A prisoner's mere disagreement with diagnosis or treatment does not support a claim of deliberate indifference. Sanchez v. Vild, 891 F.2d 240, 242 (9th Cir. 1989).
As currently pleaded, Plaintiff fails to provide sufficient description for the Court to determine whether Defendant Doctor was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical need. Thus, this claim is dismissed. Upon amendment of the complaint, Plaintiff must describe Defendant Doctor's conduct in more detail.
Plaintiff appears to allege that every alleged constitutional violation was in retaliation for something else. However, Plaintiff never states what he was being retaliated against for. The Court could assume that Plaintiff was being retaliated against for filing grievances; instead, Plaintiff will be given an opportunity to amend this claim. Plaintiff appear to allege that Defendant Mims and Doe were denying law library access in retaliation for something. Plaintiff alleges that a doctor took him off of his pain medication in retaliation. Plaintiff alleges that he was placed in disciplinary housing in retaliation.
"Within the prison context, a viable claim of First Amendment retaliation entails five basic elements: (1) An assertion that a state actor took some adverse action against an inmate (2) because of (3) that prisoner's protected conduct, and that such action (4) chilled the inmate's exercise of his First Amendment rights, and (5) the action did not reasonably advance a legitimate correctional goal." Rhodes v. Robinson, 408 F.3d 559, 567-68 (9th Cir. 2005).
Plaintiff has failed to plead facts sufficient to sustain a claim of retaliation by prison officials. Plaintiff states that all Defendants were retaliating against him however he does not state why. The Court will grant Plaintiff leave to amend this claim. In his amended complaint, Plaintiff must connect the adverse actions he suffered to a protected conduct that he was pursuing, like filing grievances. Plaintiff also needs to link each Defendant to a motive for retaliation.
Filing a grievance is a protected action under the First Amendment. Valandingham v. Bojorquez, 866 F.2d 1135, 1138 (9th Cir. 1989). All alleged claims could be adverse actions: disciplinary housing, denial of library access, being taken off pain medication. Thus, Plaintiff has satisfied the third prong of the retaliation standard.
With respect to the fourth prong, "[it] would be unjust to allow a defendant to escape liability for a First Amendment violation merely because an unusually determined plaintiff persists in his protected activity . . . ." Mendocino Envtl. Ctr. v. Mendocino County, 192 F.3d 1283, 1300 (9th Cir. 1999). The correct inquiry is to determine whether an official's acts would chill or silence a person of ordinary firmness from future First Amendment activities. Rhodes, 408 F.3d at 568-69 (citing Mendocino Envtl. Ctr., 192 F.3d at 1300). Though Plaintiff has failed to plead any facts as to whether he was chilled because of the above described adverse actions, the Court finds that he has satisfied the fourth prong because a person of ordinary firmness would be chilled by such activities.
The second element of a prisoner retaliation claim focuses on causation and motive. See Brodheim v. Cry, 584 F.3d 1262, 1271 (9th Cir. 2009). A plaintiff must show that his protected conduct was a "'substantial' or 'motivating' factor behind the defendant's conduct." Id. (quoting Morgan, 874 F.2d at 1314). Although it can be difficult to establish the motive or intent of the defendant, a plaintiff may rely on circumstantial evidence. Bruce v. Ylst, 351 F.3d 1283, 1289 (9th Cir. 2003) (finding that a prisoner established a triable issue of fact regarding prison officials' retaliatory motives by raising issues of suspect timing, evidence, and statements); Hines v. Gomez, 108 F.3d 265, 267-68 (9th Cir. 1997); Pratt v. Rowland, 65 F.3d 802, 808 (9th Cir. 1995) ("timing can properly be considered as circumstantial evidence of retaliatory intent").
Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts demonstrating causation and motive. Plaintiff states that he filed grievances and that several Defendants spoke with him about several of the grievances. However, Plaintiff fails to link the Defendants, the adverse actions, and the grievances (assuming that's why he was being retaliated against).
With respect to the fifth prong, a prisoner must affirmatively allege that "the prison authorities' retaliatory action did not advance legitimate goals of the correctional institution or was not tailored narrowly enough to achieve such goals." Rizzo, 778 F.2d at 532. This is not a high burden to reach. See id. (prisoner's allegations that search was arbitrary and capricious sufficient to satisfy this inquiry). Plaintiff has not addressed this prong at all and has failed to meet the fifth prong.
Because Plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts to satisfy all five prongs of his retaliation claim, the Court finds that he has failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The Court will give Plaintiff leave to amend and cure the deficiencies noted herein.
E. Doe Defendants
Plaintiff names several Doe Defendants. "As a general rule, the use of 'John Doe' to identify a defendant is not favored." Gillespie v. Civiletti, 629 F.2d 637, 642 (9th Cir. 1980). "It is permissible to use Doe defendant designations in a complaint to refer to defendants whose names are unknown to plaintiff. Although the use of Doe defendants is acceptable to withstand dismissal of a complaint at the initial review stage, using Doe defendants creates its own problem: those persons cannot be served with process until they are identified by their real names." Robinett v. Correctional Training Facility, 2010 WL 2867696, *4 (N.D. Cal. July 20, 2010).
Plaintiff is advised that John Doe Defendant can not be served by the United States Marshal until he has identified him as an actual individual and amended his complaint to substitute the Defendant's actual name. The burden remains on Plaintiff to promptly discover the full name of Doe Defendant; the Court will not undertake to investigate the names and identities of unnamed defendants. Id. The Court will grant Plaintiff leave to amend this claim and attempt to set forth sufficient identification.
F. Personal Participation and Supervisory Liability
Plaintiff appears to be arguing that Defendant Mims is liable for the conduct of her subordinates as she was not present and did not participate in the complained of conduct as described by Plaintiff.
Under Section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each named Defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). The Supreme Court has emphasized that the term "supervisory liability," loosely and commonly used by both courts and litigants alike, is a misnomer. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. "Government officials may not be held liable for the unconstitutional conduct of their subordinates under a theory of respondeat superior." Id. at 1948. Rather, each government official, regardless of his or her title, is only liable for his or her own misconduct, and therefore, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant, through his or her own individual actions, violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights. Id. at 1948-49.
When examining the issue of supervisor liability, it is clear that the supervisors are not subject to vicarious liability, but are liable only for their own conduct. Jeffers v. Gomez, 267 F.3d 895, 915 (9th Cir. 2001); Wesley v. Davis, 333 F.Supp.2d 888, 892 (C.D.Cal. 2004). In order to establish liability against a supervisor, a plaintiff must allege facts demonstrating (1) personal involvement in the constitutional deprivation, or (2) a sufficient causal connection between the supervisor's wrongful conduct and the constitutional violation. Jeffers, 267 F.3d at 915; Wesley, 333 F.Supp.2d at 892. The sufficient causal connection may be shown by evidence that the supervisor implemented a policy so deficient that the policy itself is a repudiation of constitutional rights. Wesley, 333 F.Supp.2d at 892 (internal quotations omitted). However, an individual's general responsibility for supervising the operations of a prison is insufficient to establish personal involvement. Id. (internal quotations omitted).
Supervisor liability under Section 1983 is a form of direct liability. Munoz v. Kolender, 208 F.Supp.2d 1125, 1149 (S.D.Cal. 2002). Under direct liability, Plaintiff must show that Defendant breached a duty to him which was the proximate cause of his injury.
Id. "'The requisite causal connection can be established . . . by setting in motion a series of acts by others which the actor knows or reasonably should know would cause others to inflict the constitutional injury.'" Id. (quoting Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743-744 (9th Cir. 1978)).
Plaintiff has not alleged facts demonstrating that any of the, apparently, supervisory Defendants personally acted to violate his rights. In his amended complaint, Plaintiff needs to specifically link each Defendant to a violation of his rights. Plaintiff shall be given the opportunity to file an amended complaint curing the deficiencies in this respect.
V. CONCLUSION AND ORDER
The Court finds that Plaintiff's Complaint fails to state any Section 1983 claims upon which relief may be granted. The Court will provide Plaintiff time to file an amended complaint to address the potentially correctable deficiencies noted above. See Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448-49 (9th Cir. 1987). In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff must demonstrate that the alleged incident or incidents resulted in a deprivation of his constitutional rights. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1948-49. Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter . . . to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Plaintiff must also demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones, 297 F.3d at 934.
Plaintiff should note that although he has been given the opportunity to amend, it is not for the purposes of adding new claims or defendants. Plaintiff should focus the amended complaint on claims and defendants relating solely to issues arising out of the incidents discussed herein.
Finally, Plaintiff is advised that Local Rule 220 requires that an amended complaint be complete in itself without reference to any prior pleading. As a general rule, an amended complaint supersedes the original complaint. See Loux v. Rhay, 375 F.2d 55, 57 (9th Cir. 1967). Once an amended complaint is filed, the original complaint no longer serves any function in the case. Therefore, in an amended complaint, as in an original complaint, each claim and the involvement of each defendant must be sufficiently alleged. The amended complaint should be clearly and boldly titled "First Amended Complaint," refer to the appropriate case number, and be an original signed under penalty of perjury.
Based on the foregoing, it is HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed for failure to state a claim, with leave to file an amended complaint within thirty (30) days from the date of service of this order;
2. Plaintiff shall caption the amended complaint "First Amended Complaint" and refer to the case number 1:11-cv-00739-AWI-GBC (PC); and
3. If Plaintiff fails to comply with this order, this action will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE