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Cross v. City of Hanford District Attorney

United States District Court, E.D. California

December 18, 2014

JEROME LEE CROSS, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF HANFORD DISTRICT ATTORNEY, et al., Defendants.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSING ACTION FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (ECF No. 5)

STANLEY A. BOONE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Jerome Lee Cross, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 on November 12, 2014. On November 18, 2014, an order issued dismissing the complaint for failure to state a claim. Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's amended complaint filed on December 15, 2014.

I.

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 or malicious, " that "fail[] to state a claim on which relief may be granted, " or that "seek[] monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief...." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). 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) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Moreover, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of Plaintiff's rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002).

Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor. Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The "sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully" is not sufficient, and "facts that are merely consistent with' a defendant's liability" falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II.

DISCUSSION

Originally, the Court had assumed that Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee who was housed at the Kings County Jail. However, in his amended complaint he complains of unfair sentencing which aggravated his sentence, so he may be an inmate housed at the Kings County Jail. As in his original complaint, Plaintiff claims that Kings County Judges Barnes, Tartar, Burns and several district attorneys, his public defender, probation officers, and the Hanford Police Department conspired to deprive him of his constitutional rights.[1] (Compl. 6, ECF No. 5.) In the order dismissing his complaint, Plaintiff was advised that to state a claim he must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights and of the legal standards that appeared to apply to his claims. (See Order Dismissing Complaint With Leave to Amend, ECF No. 4.) Further, Plaintiff was informed that "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice" to state a claim, and his amended complaint must contain sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. (Id. at 2.)

Plaintiff's first amended complaint contains few factual allegations, but mainly consists of conclusory allegations that the defendants conspired to deprive him of his rights under the Constitution and there was a systematic practice in place at each County office that deprived him of his rights which is not sufficient to state any plausible claims for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

Under Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, leave to amend shall be freely given when justice so requires, '" Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a), and "[l]eave to amend should be granted if it appears at all possible that the plaintiff can correct the defect, " Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (internal citations omitted). However, courts "need not grant leave to amend where the amendment: (1) prejudices the opposing party; (2) is sought in bad faith; (3) produces an undue delay in the litigation; or (4) is futile." Id . In this instance, Plaintiff was provided the opportunity to cure the deficiencies identified in the November 18, 2014 order and the amended complaint merely states conclusory allegations that do not address the deficiencies identified.

In his amended complaint, Plaintiff names Kings County, Judges Tarter, Burns, and Barnes; Attorneys Guptun and Benninghoff; the District Attorney; Deputy District Attorney; City of Hanford; Kings County Probation Department; an unidentified probation officer; and Deputy Williams. For the reasons stated below, ...


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