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Moye v. Napa State Hospital

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 29, 2014

MALINKA MOYE, Plaintiff,
NAPA STATE HOSPITAL; et al., Defendants.


EDWARD M. CHEN, District Judge.


Malinka Tacuma Wade Moye, an inmate at the San Francisco County Jail, filed a pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His complaint is now before the Court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.


In his garbled complaint in this action, Mr. Moye alleges many conclusions but virtually no facts. He alleges that he is suing "over use of unreasonable, unnecessary, excessive force, extortion, slavery & kidnapping under false pretenses to admitt plaintiff into State Hospital. Past date of expired Statute of limitations on 5-11-11. 11-08-11." Docket # 1 at 2 (errors in source).


A federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See id. at § 1915A(b). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

The complaint has several defects and must be dismissed. First, the complaint fails to allege "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2). The conclusory allegations in the complaint fail to satisfy some of the basic purposes of a complaint: framing the dispute and giving the defendants and court notice of the claims upon which relief is sought. "Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only... give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Although a complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations, ... a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds' of his entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.... Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. In his amended complaint, Mr. Moye must allege a short and plain statement of each claim for relief he wishes to assert.

Mr. Moye indicates that he was sent to Napa State Hospital "illegally" yet also indicates that he was sent there when he was found mentally incompetent to stand trial. See Docket # 1 at 4. In his amended complaint, he should allege facts showing why the transfer to Napa State Hospital was illegal. He also should allege whether his transfer was pursuant to court order. Mr. Moye also alleges that he was admitted "into state hospital. past date of expired statute of limitations 5-11-11. 11-08-11." Docket # 1 at 2 (errors in source). He does not identify the statute of limitations to which he refers, or how a statute of limitations would preclude his admission to a state hospital. In his amended complaint, Mr. Moye must explain with more clarity his claim that he was kept at the hospital too long. Mr. Moye also alleges that someone intentionally and "illegally administered psychological drugs" to him. Docket # 1 at 2. In his amended complaint, he must explain why the administration of the drugs was illegal and whether it was pursuant to a court order.

Second, the complaint does not adequately link defendants to legal claims. In his amended complaint, Mr. Moye must be careful to allege facts showing the basis for liability for each defendant. He should not refer to them as a group (e.g., "the defendants"); rather, he should identify each involved defendant by name and link each of them to his claim by explaining what each involved defendant did or failed to do that caused a violation of his rights. See Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 634 (9th Cir. 1988). Mr. Moye is cautioned that there is no respondeat superior liability under Section 1983, i.e. no liability under the theory that one is responsible for the actions or omissions of an employee. Liability under Section 1983 arises only upon a showing of personal participation by the defendant. Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989).

Plaintiff names as defendants the California State Board of Psychology and the California Board of Medical Doctors, apparently on the theory that they licensed members of the medical staff at Napa State Hospital. The fact that these two entities licensed the alleged wrongdoers is not sufficient to hold them liable under § 1983, as it would be impermissible respondeat superior liability.[1] See Tsao v. Desert Palace, Inc., 698 F.3d 1128, 1139 (9th Cir. 2012) (no respondeat superior liability under § 1983 for the actions of the private entity's employees).

One of the named defendants is Napa State Hospital. The Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution bars from the federal courts suits against a state by its own citizens, citizens of another state, or citizens or subjects of any foreign state. Atascadero State Hosp. v. Scanlon, 473 U.S. 234, 237-38 (1985). Eleventh Amendment immunity also extends to suits against a state agency. See Brown v. Cal. Dep't of Corrs., 554 F.3d 747, 752 (9th Cir. 2009) (California Department of Corrections and California Board of Prison Terms entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity); see also Allison v. Cal. Adult Auth., 419 F.2d 822, 823 (9th Cir. 1969) (California Adult Authority and San Quentin State Prison not persons within meaning of Civil Rights Act). Napa State Hospital is dismissed from this action because it is an agency of the State of California facility and has Eleventh Amendment immunity against the suit.

Third, this action is one of 18 actions filed by Mr. Moye in a one-month period, and there are many overlapping allegations between the many complaints and all of the complaints are deficient. Because it is a waste of court resources to have to consider multiple complaints alleging the same thing, Mr. Moye must limit his allegations in this action to acts and omissions that occurred at Napa State Hospital. In short, he can assert claims in this action only about the allegedly improper transfer to Napa State Hospital ...

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