United States District Court, E.D. California
ROBERT A. VON VILLAS, Plaintiff,
PALLARES, et al., Defendants.
ORDER WITHDRAWING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION AND GRANTING LEAVE TO FILE A SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT (Docs. 16, 19, 26)
JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.
I. Procedural History
Plaintiff, Robert A. Von Villas, is a state prisoner who is proceeding pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on November 18, 2013. (Doc. 1.) It was screened and dismissed with leave to amend. (Doc. 11.) Plaintiff filed the First Amended Complaint upon which a Findings and Recommendation issued recommending Plaintiff only be allowed to proceed on a retaliation claim under the First Amendment against Defendant Heberling and that all other claims and defendants be dismissed. (Docs. 16, 19.) Plaintiff requested and received extensions of time to file objections with which he complied. (Doc. 26.) From his objections, it appears that Plaintiff may be able to clarify his pleading so as to make one or more additional claims cognizable. Thus, the Findings and Recommendations that issued on December 15, 2014, is withdrawn and Plaintiff is granted leave to file a second amended complaint. For his assistance, the pleading requirements and standards applicable to his stated claims are given once again.
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 Plaintiff's Claims
Plaintiff complains of acts that occurred while he was an inmate at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison ("SATF") in Corcoran, California. Plaintiff names Lieutenants M. Pallares and T. Akin, and Sergeant S. Heberling as the Defendants in this action. Plaintiff seeks monetary, declaratory, and injunctive relief.
Plaintiff alleges that as a result of his filing administrative grievances ("602") regarding the handling of his and his cellmate's mail, his cell was ransacked, he was charged with false RVRs of which he was not allowed to present exculpatory evidence and was ultimately found guilty. Plaintiff asserts the following claims: (1) against Defendant Heberling for improper handling of his 602; (2) for retaliation in violation of the First Amendment against Defendant Heberling; (3) for due process violations in retaliation in violation of the First Amendment against Defendant Akin; (4) for retaliation in violation of the First Amendment against Defendant Palares; and (5) for violation of his due process rights against Defendant Palares.
Plaintiff is given one final opportunity to amend his claims and he must do so within 20 pages or less. Below are the applicable pleading and legal standards for Plaintiff's stated claims.
II. Pleading Standards
A. 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 ...