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Raul Ernest Alonso-Prieto v. B. Pierce

August 20, 2012

RAUL ERNEST ALONSO-PRIETO,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
B. PIERCE, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Seng United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF NO. 10) AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS

FIRST SCREENING ORDER

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Raul Ernest Alonso-Prieto ("Plaintiff") is a federal prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action filed on January 6, 2011 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999 (1971). On April 18, 2011, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint (First Am. Compl., ECF No. 10), which is now before the Court for screening.

II. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

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, malicious," or 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).

Section 1983 "provides a cause of action for the 'deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United States." Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393--94 (1989).

III. SUMMARY OF FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Plaintiff, an elderly hypertensive diabetic, alleges that in late 2010 Defendant Kern County Deputy Sheriffs violated his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights as follows:

Defendants conspired to and did lose or destroy his personal blood glucose meter, medical diary, receipts, and other property and then lied to Plaintiff about the disposition of the property. (First Am. Compl. at 3-4).

Defendant Pierce denied him diabetic and hypertension meals and medication including during a nine hour transport even though he had been told this could compromise Plaintiff's health, and he refused to summon medical assistance when Plaintiff advised he needed medication. (Id. at 5-6.)

Defendant Pierce threatened him with violence and labeling him a "snitch" when he complained about the meals and medication, threw him into a wall while cuffed and shackled and made disparaging remarks about elderly ill inmates. (Id.)

Defendant Pierce and Jane Doe destroyed receipts and grievances needed to prove Plaintiff's ownership of the personal property. (Id. at 7.)

He has suffered blindness and worsening health due to Defendants actions. (Id. at 8.)

He has notified Kern County Commissioners of his claims, but they have not replied. (Id.)

He names as Defendants (1) B. Pierce, Deputy Sheriff, Kern County, (2) John Doe Deputy Sheriff, Kern County, (3) Jane Doe Deputy Sheriff, Kern County, (4) the County of Kern.*fn1 (Id. at 2-3.)

He seeks the return of his property, monetary compensation and unspecified injunctive relief. (Id. at 4.)

IV. ANALYSIS

A. Pleading Requirements Generally

To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda Cnty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).

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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (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.'" Id. Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 667-68.

B. Doe Defendants

"[A]s 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 must identify how each such named Defendant, including those named as Doe, is liable for a constitutional violation. Dempsey v. Schwarzenegger, 2010 WL 1445460, *2 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 9, 2010); Schrubb v. Tilton, 2009 WL 3334874, *2 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 14, 2009).

Plaintiff is advised that Doe Defendants cannot be served by the United States Marshal until Plaintiff has identified them as actual individuals and amended his complaint to substitute the Defendants' actual names. The burden is on Plaintiff to promptly discover ...


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