United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (Doc. 11)
JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.
In his First Amended Complaint, Martin McLaughlin, alleges that his placement in "C/C status" while housed at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison ("SATF") in Corcoran, California, violated his Eighth Amendment rights. He claims also that placement on this status constituted Double Jeopardy because he had already been punished for the two rules violations which gave rise to the classification change. Also, he claims that the placement violated his right to equal protection of the law and that the review of his grievance related to the placement was improper. Because the Court does not find Plaintiff's complaint states a cognizable claim, it will be DISMISSED with leave to amend.
A. 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).
B. Summary of the First Amended Complaint
Plaintiff complains of acts that occurred while he was an inmate at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison ("SATF") in Corcoran, California. Plaintiff names the following Defendants: Warden R. Diaz; and Correctional Officers K. Ramirez, R. Garcia, L. DeLaTorre, M. Hodges, UJ.D. Lozano, R. Tolson, and R. Hall. Plaintiff seeks monetary and declaratory relief.
Plaintiff delineates three Causes of Action/Claims: (1) "Freedom From Cruel and Unusual Punishment and Double Jeopardy;" (2) "Due Process;" and (3) "Equal Protection." These claims are premised on Plaintiff being placed on "C/C status" in March of 2013 for two rule violations he received in the latter part of 2012.
As discussed below, Plaintiff does not state any cognizable claims. Plaintiff may be able to amend to correct the deficiencies in his pleading and is being given the applicable standards based on his stated claims and a final opportunity to file an amended complaint.
C. 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.
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, "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), and courts are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences, Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The "sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully" is not sufficient, and "facts that are merely consistent with' a defendant's liability" fall short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.
If he chooses to file a second amended complaint, Plaintiff should endeavor to make it as concise as possible. He should merely state which of his constitutional rights he feels were violated by each Defendant and its factual basis.
2. Linkage Requirement
The Civil Rights Act under which this action was ...