Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Whitfield v. Hernandez

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 14, 2013

JOHN HERNANDEZ et al., Defendant.


JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.

Steven Whitfield seeks to proceed pro se with an action for a violation of civil rights against parole agents John Hernandez and Donnette Aguilera ("Defendants). Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint on June 3, 2013, asserting Defendants have violated his rights by searching his bedroom during a parole search associated with a cotenant. (Doc. 4). For the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends Plaintiff's complaint be DISMISSED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

I. Screening Requirement

When a plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis, the Court is required to review the complaint, and shall dismiss the case at any time if the Court determines that the action is "frivolous, malicious or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or... seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2). The Court must screen the First Amended Complaint because an amended complaint supersedes the previously filed complaint. See Forsyth v. Humana, Inc., 114 F.3d 1467, 1474 (9th Cir. 1997); King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567 (9th Cir. 1987).

II. Pleading Standards

General rules for pleading complaints are governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A pleading stating a claim for relief must include a statement affirming the court's jurisdiction, "a short and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief; and... a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). The Federal Rules adopt a flexible pleading policy, and pro se pleadings are held to "less stringent standards" than pleadings by attorneys. Haines v. Kerner , 404 U.S. 519, 521-21 (1972).

A complaint must give fair notice and state the elements of the plaintiff's claim in a plain and succinct manner. Jones v. Cmty Redevelopment Agency , 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984). The purpose of the complaint is to give the defendant fair notice of the claims against him, and the grounds upon which the complaint stands. 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 , 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Conclusory and vague allegations do not support a cause of action. Ivey v. Board of Regents , 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982). The Court clarified further,

[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 , 550 U.S. at 555-56 (citations omitted). When factual allegations are well-pled, a court should assume their truth and determine whether the facts would make the plaintiff entitled to relief; conclusions in the pleading are not entitled to the same assumption of truth. Id . Leave to amend a complaint may be granted to the extent deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by an amendment. Lopez v. Smith , 203 F.3d 1122, 1127-28 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).

III. Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff asserts that he rents a room from a woman named Shirley Wells. (Doc. 4 at 3). Also living in the home is Ms. Wells' brother, Eddie Wells, who is on active parole and is subject to search as a condition of his parole. Id . Plaintiff alleges that on May 1, 2013, Eddie Wells' parole agent, Aguilera, visited the home. Id . While there, Aguilera noticed there were two bedrooms which had locked doors. Id . Aguilera insisted on seeing these rooms although Eddie Wells informed her that the rooms were used by Ms. Wells and Plaintiff. Id . Aguilera was unable to enter Plaintiff's room. Id . However, Plaintiff complained to Hernandez, Aguilera's supervisor, regarding the request to search his room. Id . Hernandez told Plaintiff that he "instructed all parole agents to [conduct] a search of all areas and rooms of a residence" in which the parolee is living during the first visit. Id.

On May 10, 2013, Aguilera returned to the home and demanded the right to enter Plaintiff's bedroom to "conduct a visual inspection' of the contents thereof." (Doc. 4 at 3). Plaintiff ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.