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Jacobsen v. People of State

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 16, 2014



JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Michael Neil Jacobsen, is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed the Complaint in this action on January 24, 2014. (Doc. 1.) On February 12, 2014 and April 8, 2014, Plaintiff filed documents which he entitled "Motion to Addendum" which are "to update with current happenings with regard to this claim." (Docs. 6, 10.) These motions are construed a motions seeking leave to amend the Complaint.

A. Plaintiff's Motions to Amend

Plaintiff may amend once as a matter of right before service of a responsive pleading by defendants. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). Plaintiff has not previously amended his complaint and no defendants have filed a responsive pleading, so Plaintiff would normally be allowed to file an amended complaint without permission from the Court. However, his motions are properly denied as unnecessary as the very leave to amend he seeks is granted in this screening order.

It is noted that Plaintiff's "Motion[s] to addendum" are 12 and 91 pages long. It is further noted that the Complaint contains a number of allegations pertaining to Plaintiff's arrest rather than the conditions of his confinement. Thus, rather than just allowing Plaintiff to file an amended complaint, the Court has chosen to screen Plaintiff's Complaint in order for Plaintiff to have what appear to be the applicable standards before him in drafting a first amended complaint. Plaintiff's "Motion[s] to Addendum" are denied as unnecessary since he is being given leave to file a first amended complaint in which he may choose to attempt to incorporate applicable factual allegations contained in his "Motion[s] to Addendum" to his claims in this action. Hereafter, amendment will only be allowed with leave of court.

B. 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, 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); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).

C. Summary of Plaintiff's Complaint

Plaintiff complains of his arrest, retention in the Fresno County Jail, and of his limited access to legal materials and phone calls that he feels are necessary to challenge his confinement. Plaintiff names the People of the State of California as the only defendant in this action.

Plaintiff may be able to amend to correct the deficiencies in his pleading so as to state a cognizable claim. Thus, he is being given the applicable standards based on what claims it appears he is attempting to state and leave to file a first amended complaint

D. Pleading Requirements

1. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)

"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. Pro. 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. Pro. 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). "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).

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), quoting 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. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Factual allegations are accepted as true, but legal conclusions are not. Iqbal. at 678; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-557. While "plaintiffs [now] face a higher burden of pleadings facts... Al-Kidd v. Ashcroft, 580 F.3d 949, 977 (9th Cir. 2009), the pleadings of pro se prisoners are still construed liberally and are afforded the benefit of any doubt. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). However, courts are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences. Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. ...

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