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Santos C. Maldonado v. Donnie Youngblood

January 28, 2013

SANTOS C. MALDONADO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DONNIE YOUNGBLOOD, ET. AL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (Doc. 1).

Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On August 16, 2012, Plaintiff filed his Complaint. (Doc. 1). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed with leave to amend.

I.Screening Requirement

The Court is required to screen any complaint filed by a prisoner seeking "redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity" in order to identify any "cognizable claim." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a)-(b). The Court should dismiss the case if it is "frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted" or if the prisoner is "seek[ing] monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). A Court should dismiss a claim as frivolous only "when the facts alleged rise to the level of the irrational or the wholly incredible, whether or not there are judicially noticeable facts available to contradict them" and not simply because the Court may believe the "plaintiff's allegations unlikely." Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992). When determining whether a claim is 2 malicious, the Court will analyze whether it was made in good faith. Kinney v. Plymouth Rock Squab 3 Co., 236 U.S. 43, 46 (1915).

II.Pleading Requirements

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure outline the general requirements of pleading a complaint.

A complaint is required to have a "short and plain statement" that outlines the grounds for jurisdiction 7 in that court as well as "showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and a demand for the relief 8 sought." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Pro se complaints are generally held to "less stringent standards" than 9 complaints drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).

A complaint must afford fair notice to the defendant as well as state the elements of the claim in a plain and succinct manner. Jones v. Cmty Redevelopment Agency, 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984). The complaint is supposed to give the defendant fair notice of the claims that are being brought against him/her as well as the grounds for bringing them. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002). The Supreme Court noted,

Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. A pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Allegations that are conclusory and vague do not support a cause of action. Ivey v. Board of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982). The Supreme Court further clarified that, [A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." [Citation] A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. [Citation] The plausibility standard is not akin to a "probability requirement," but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. [Citation] Where a complaint pleads facts that are "merely consistent with" a defendant's liability, it "stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of 'entitlement to relief.

Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. A Court is required to assume as true in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, any well-pled factual allegations, when determining if the plaintiff is entitled to relief. Id. However, this tenet is "inapplicable to legal conclusions." Id. If a complaint fails to state a recognizable claim, the Court has the discretion to grant leave to amend the complaint in order to 2 amend the deficiencies in the factual allegations. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127-28 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). 4

III.§ 1983 Claims

Section 1983 of title 42 of the United States Code does not confer substantive rights; but instead provides "a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred." Albright v. Oliver, 7 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994). Section 1983 states in relevant part: 8

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State. subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, 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. In order to state a claim pursuant to § 1983, a plaintiff must allege facts that support that (1) he was deprived of a right afforded to him by federal law, and (2) the deprivation was committed by someone acting under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48-49 (1988); Williams v. Gorton, 529 F.2d 668, 670 (9th Cir. 1976). Additionally, a plaintiff is required to allege a specific injury suffered, as well as show a causal relationship between the defendant's conduct and the injury suffered by the plaintiff. See Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72, 377 (1976); Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978) (a person deprives another of a federal right "if he does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative acts, or omits to perform an act which he is legally required to do so that it causes the deprivation of which complaint is made"). Section 1983 does not recognize respondeat superior liability. Monell v. Dep't. of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978). ...


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