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Condee v. McDonnell

United States District Court, C.D. California

January 9, 2015

CHRISTOPHER SHAWN CONDEE, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF JIM McDONNELL, ET AL., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

RALPH ZAREFSKY, Magistrate Judge.

The pro se, in forma pauperis plaintiff is imprisoned in the Los Angeles County jail. He claims that in September and November of 2014, the County sheriff himself and unnamed "Deputies and Staff" of the jail did "not house[] me right" were "not... professional with my medical and safety concerns." The Court will dismiss his civil rights complaint, with leave to amend, because Plaintiff -

(1) fails to assert a cognizable claim based on any federal law (and, thus, fails to support this Court's subject matter jurisdiction);

(2) appears to seek vicarious liability against Sheriff Jim McDonnell, who did not assume office until December 1, 2014, after the alleged abuses;

(3) sues an undifferentiated mass of unnamed, unnumbered "Deputies and Staff"; and

(4) sues all defendants solely in their official capacity, even though his theory instead appears to be one of individual -capacity liability.

I.

THE COURT'S OBLIGATION TO SCREEN IN FORMA PAUPERIS FILINGS

The Court must screen all complaints, including Plaintiff's, brought in forma pauperis. See Calhoun v. Stahl, 254 F.3d 845 (9th Cir. 2001) ( per curiam ); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (screening of in forma pauperis actions generally). The law requires this Court to"dismiss the case if at any time it determines that... the action... (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

A "complaint... must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain recovery under some viable legal theory"; otherwise, it is subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 562 (2007) (quoting, and including original emphasis from, Car Carriers Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 745 F.2d 1101, 1106 (7th Cir. 1984)). In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the Supreme Court explained that Twombly effectively required more definite pleading of evidentiary facts, as opposed to conclusions or boilerplate. A court weighing dismissal in a civil rights action must determine whether the plaintiff has "plead[ed] factual matter that, if taken as true, states a claim that [defendants] deprived him of his clearly established constitutional rights[.]" Id. at 666. "A pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s]' devoid of further factual enhancement.'" Id. at 678 (citation omitted) (quoting Twombly, supra, 550 U.S. at 555, 557) (brackets as in Iqbal ).

A pro se plaintiff's civil rights complaint must be construed liberally, and the plaintiff must be given leave to amend his complaint, "unless it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment." Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987). A dismissal with leave to amend is a non-dispositive matter within the purview of a Magistrate Judge. McKeever v. Block, 932 F.2d 795, 798 (9th Cir. 1991).

II.

PLAINTIFF ASSERTS NO FEDERAL LEGAL CLAIM

Plaintiff neither makes clear what legal claim(s) he is asserting nor indicates what federal law supplies the basis for his claim(s). Although he is aggrieved, for example, that he did not receive better medical care at the jail, he asserts nothing that the Court recognizes as a legal claim, let alone a federal one, such as "deliberate indifference to serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth or Fourth Amendment" or "housing me in conditions so poor as to ...


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