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Frankie Washington v. D. Ogletree

May 16, 2013

FRANKIE WASHINGTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
D. OGLETREE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND GRANTING PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE IN THIRTY DAYS

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

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).

"Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions," none of which applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Pursuant to Rule 8(a), 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). "Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. However, "the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations." Neitze v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). "[A] liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled." Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)).

II. Plaintiff's Claims

Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) at the Central California Women's Facility (CCWF), brings this civil rights action against correctional officials employed by the CDCR at CCWF. Plaintiff names the following individual defendants: Correctional Officer (C/O) D. Ogletreee; C/O E. Cardenas; Lieutenant Auob.

Plaintiff alleges that on April 17, 2011, C/O Ogletree became upset with Plaintiff because she used the telephone prior to her scheduled time. Plaintiff alleges that Ogletree moved Plaintiff into another cell. Plaintiff alleges that Ogletree "based his decision to segregate me from other races of inmates was because in his opinion I was a 'bully,' so he moved me to an all Black cell with inmates he stated were of a different caliber and will not be intimidated by me." Plaintiff alleges that the following Sunday, she was "bitten 4 times and cut by an inmate with H.I.V." Plaintiff screamed for help, and Ogletree and his partner laughed. Plaintiff also alleges that at some point, they left the cell door open during a lockdown.

Plaintiff also alleges that in 2008, Lt. Auob "tried to frame me." Plaintiff "won," and as a reprisal, Lt. Auob sent Plaintiff to Administrative Segregation (AdSeg), where she stayed for over 365 days without a hearing.

A. Rule 18

Plaintiff appears to be setting forth three separate claims: claims regarding the move to a different cell and the resulting injury; leaving the cell door open during lockdown; placement in AdSeg. "The controlling principle appears in Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a) 'A party asserting a claim to relief as an original claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, may join, either as independent or alternate claims, as many claims, legal equitable, or maritime, as the party has against an opposing party.' Thus multiple claims against a single party are permissible, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2. Unrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits, not only to prevent the sort of morass (a multiple claim, multiple defendant) suit produces, but also to ensure that prisoners pay the required filing fees. The Prison Litigation Reform Act limits to 3 the number of frivolous suits or appeals that any prisoner may file without the prepayment of the required fees. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007).

Plaintiff's complaint includes multiple unrelated claims against differing defendants. While it appears that Plaintiff may be able to state at least one cognizable claim, she clearly violates Rule 18(a) by including multiple unrelated claims in this single filing. Plaintiff will be given an opportunity to file a first amended complaint under this case number, wherein she is directed to plead/allege only related claims. All unrelated claims should be brought in separate suits. Plaintiff is advised that if she chooses to file an amended complaint, and fails to comply with Rule 18(a), the Court will count all frivolous/non-cognizable unrelated claims that are dismissed as strikes, such that Plaintiff may be barred from filing in forma pauperis in the future.

Plaintiff need not, however, set forth legal arguments in support of her claims. In order to hold an individual defendant liable, Plaintiff must name the individual defendant, describe where that defendant is employed and in what capacity, and explain how that defendant acted under color of state law. Plaintiff should state clearly, in her own words, what happened. Plaintiff must describe what each defendant, ...


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