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King v. Chappell

United States District Court, Northern District of California

November 3, 2014

KEVIN LYNELL KING, Plaintiff,
v.
KEVIN R. CHAPPELL, Defendant

Kevin Lynell King, Plaintiff, Pro se, San Quentin, CA.

ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH PARTIAL LEAVE TO AMEND

JON S. TIGAR, United States District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

On August 12, 2014, plaintiff, an inmate at San Quentin State Prison (SQSP), filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. By separate order filed concurrently herewith, plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. His complaint is now before the court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons stated below, the complaint is dismissed with leave to amend.

DISCUSSION

I. Standard of Review

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. 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only " a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." " 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, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (citations omitted). Although in order to state a claim 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, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer " enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570.

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. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48, 108 S.Ct. 2250, 101 L.Ed.2d 40 (1988).

II. Legal Claims

The complaint has several deficiencies that require an amended complaint to be filed. First, the complaint does not comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a). Rule 20(a)(2) provides that all persons " may be joined in one action as defendants if: (A) any right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and (B) any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action." Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2). Plaintiff's complaint includes a wide variety of claims, including: conspiracy, deliberate indifference to safety, deprivation of his right to marry, retaliation, deprivation of property, and denial of access to the courts. The complaint indicates the events happened on several different dates, and are against different defendants. In his amended complaint, plaintiff may only allege claims that (a) arise out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences, and (b) present questions of law or fact common to all defendants named therein. Plaintiff needs to choose what claims he wants to pursue that meet the joinder requirements.

Second, plaintiff alleges that he has been transferred many times. His claims arise out of events occurring at Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) prior to November 2011, at Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) from November 2011 to March 2013, and at SQSP from March 2013 to the time he filed this action. The claims against PVSP defendants occurred in Fresno County, which lies within the venue of the Eastern District of California. The claims against DVI defendants occurred in San Joaquin County, which also lies within the venue of the Eastern District of California. Accordingly, the claims against the prison officials of PVSP and DVI are DISMISSED without prejudice to plaintiff's filing actions in the Eastern District.

Plaintiff's remaining claims are against defendants at SQSP, which lies in this district. As to these claims, however, the complaint provides an extremely limited description of the problem. Plaintiff gives only the following description of events at SQSP:

Plaintiff is informed and believe [sic], that prison officials at San Quentin has [sic] been effectively interfering with my access to the Courts since I arrived. Plaintiff further believes that prison officials has [sic] assigned someone to ...

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