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Steven David v. Marsh


June 25, 2012



Plaintiff is a county inmate proceeding pro se with this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In addition to filing a complaint, plaintiff has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and is before the undersigned pursuant to plaintiff's consent. See E.D. Cal. Local Rules, Appx. A, at (k)(4).

I. Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

Plaintiff has requested leave to proceedin forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Dckt. No. 2. Plaintiff's application makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) and (2). Accordingly, by separate order, the court directs the agency having custody of plaintiff to collect and forward the appropriate monthly payments for the filing fee as set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) and (2).

II. Screening Order

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. § 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. § 1915A(b).

Review of the case file reveals that plaintiff signed his in forma pauperis application and his consent to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge. See Dckt. Nos. 4, 6. His complaint, however, appears to be signed by another inmate. Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that "[e]very pleading, written motion, and other paper . . . be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's name-or by a party personally if the party is unrepresented." Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(a). In this case, plaintiff may receive assistance from another inmate, but an inmate who is not a lawyer cannot sign documents filed with the court on behalf of plaintiff. See Johns v. County of San Diego, 114 F.3d 874, 876 (9th Cir. 1997); Church of the New Testament v. United States, 783 F.2d 771, 773-74 (9th Cir. 1986). Because plaintiff did not sign the complaint, it is dismissed with leave to amend.

Any amended complaint must be signed by plaintiff.

Any amended complaint shall identify each defendant in both the caption and the body of the amended complaint, and clearly set forth the allegations against each such defendant. Pursuant to Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, any amended complaint must include "a short and plain statement of the claim" showing entitlement to relief. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).

Plaintiff is also hereby informed that it is his responsibility to allege facts to state a plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009); Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege: (1) the violation of a federal constitutional or statutory right; and (2) that the violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002).

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, 588 F.2d at 743-44 (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). That is, plaintiff may not sue any official on the theory that the official is liable for the unconstitutional conduct of his or her subordinates. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1948. Because respondeat superior liability is inapplicable to § 1983 suits, "a plaintiff must plead that each Government-official defendant, through the official's own individual actions, has violated the Constitution." Id.

Accordingly, the court hereby orders that:

1. Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis is granted.

2. Plaintiff shall pay the statutory filing fee of $350. All payments shall be collected in accordance with the notice to the Solano County Sheriff filed concurrently herewith.

3. The complaint is dismissed with leave to amend within 30 days. The amended complaint must bear the docket number assigned to this case and be titled "First Amended Complaint." Failure to comply with this order will result in dismissal. If plaintiff files an amended complaint stating a cognizable claim the court will proceed with service of process by the United States Marshal.


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