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David Myers v. State of California

October 29, 2012

DAVID MYERS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (Doc. 1) AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN FIFTEEN DAYS

I. Procedural History

David Myers ("Plaintiff") is a civil detainee*fn1 proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On February 9, 2012, Plaintiff filed his original complaint which is currently before the Court. Doc. 1.

II. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff is a civil detainee. "[T]he rights afforded prisoners set a floor for those that must be afforded . . . civil detainees." McNeal v. Mayberg, 2008 WL 5114650, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 3, 2008), citing Hydrick v. Hunter, 500 F.3d 978, 989 (9th Cir. 2007) (reversed on other grounds) (quoting Youngberg v. Romeo, 457 U.S. 307, 322 (1982). See also Semeneck v. Ahlin, 2010 WL 4738065, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 16, 2010); Leonard v. Bonner, 2010 WL 3717248, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Sep. 15, 2010); Allen v. Mayberg, 2010 WL 500467, at *5 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 8, 2010). Therefore, though Plaintiff is a detainee and not a prisoner, the Court may refer to the rights of prisoners to determine the rights afforded Plaintiff.

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, or portion thereof, should only be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it appears beyond doubt that Plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claim or claims that would entitle him to relief. See Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984) (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)); see also Synagogue v. United States, 482 F.3d 1058, 1060 (9th Cir. 2007); NL Industries, Inc. v. Kaplan, 792 F.2d 896, 898 (9th Cir. 1986). In determining whether to dismiss an action, the Court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, and construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421-22 (1969); Daniels-Hall v. National Educ. Ass'n, 629 F.3d 992, 998 (9th Cir. 2010).

III. Plaintiff's Complaint

Plaintiff is currently a civil detainee at Coalinga State Hospital (CSH) in Coalinga, California. In the complaint, Plaintiff names the following defendants: 1) State of California; and 2) Lisa Green (Kern County District Attorney). Doc. 1 at 3. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages, release from custody and to have all pending charges dropped. Doc. 1 at 3.

Plaintiff's entire complaint is as follows:

The district attorney keep[s] filing yearly extensions on me without proper grounds to do so. Basically . . . she is bias[ed] and believes what other's tell her. But if you need evidence, we can subpoena my records as evidence.

Doc. 1 at 3.

IV. Legal Standards and Analysis

A. Procedural Due Process

It appears that Plaintiff's complaint alleges deficiencies in the proceedings that resulted in his continued civil detainment. "[C]ivil commitment for any purpose constitutes a significant deprivation of liberty that requires due process protection." Addington v. Texas, 441 U.S. 418, 425 (1979). "[I]n certain narrow circumstances," states may "provide[ ] for the forcible civil detainment of people who are unable to control their behavior and who thereby pose a danger to the public health and safety." Kansas v. Hendricks, 521 U.S. 346, 357 (1997). Statutes providing for involuntary civil commitment have been "consistently upheld . . . provided the confinement takes place pursuant to proper procedures and evidentiary standards." Id. (holding that the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act comports with due process requirements). In civil commitment hearings, the factors relevant in determining whether an individual has been afforded sufficient procedural protections under the due process clause are whether the individual received: 1) written notice; 2) a hearing at which the evidence being relief upon for the commitment is disclosed to the prisoner; 3) an opportunity at the hearing for the prisoner to be heard in person, to present ...


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