United States District Court, C.D. California
July 9, 2015
SY LEE CASTLE, Plaintiff,
S. SOTO, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANTS MOORE, MARTINEZ, THOMAS, AND MARQUEZ
MARGARET M. MORROW, District Judge.
This is a pro se action filed by Plaintiff Sy Lee Castle ("Plaintiff"), a state prisoner incarcerated at California State Prison, Los Angeles County ("CSP-LAC") in Lancaster, California. Plaintiff has filed a Complaint against five defendants in their official capacities: (1) J. Soto; (2) S. Moore; (3) A. Martinez; (4) K. Thomas; and (5) N. Marquez. Because the Court finds Plaintiff's claims against defendants Moore, Martinez, Thomas, and Marquez to be duplicative of his claim against defendant Soto, the Court DISMISSES the Complaint's claims against defendants Moore, Martinez, Thomas, and Marquez with prejudice.
On December 26, 2014, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed the instant Complaint. ECF Docket No. ("dkt.") 1. The Complaint sues five CSP-LAC prison officials in their official capacities: (1) J. Soto; (2) S. Moore; (3) A. Martinez; (4) K. Thomas; and (5) N. Marquez. Compl. at 6-7. Defendant Soto is the Warden of CSP-LAC and defendants Moore, Martinez, Thomas, and Marquez are Correctional Officers at CSP-LAC. Id. All five defendants are employees of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR").
In the Complaint, Plaintiff claims he suffers from a number of disabilities and is often confined to a wheelchair. Id. at 17. Plaintiff alleges defendants have failed to install: (1) wheelchair-accessible dip bars, pull-up bars, and tables in the CSP-LAC exercise yard; and (2) wheelchair-accessible drinking-water faucets in the CSP-LAC dayroom, in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). Id. at 10, 18-33.
As Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must screen the Complaint, and is required to dismiss the case at any time if it concludes the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see also Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998).
Official capacity suits provide "another way of pleading an action against an entity of which an officer is an agent." Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 n.55, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978). If the government entity receives notice and an opportunity to respond, an official capacity suit is, in all respects other than name, to be treated as a suit against the entity. Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165 n.14, 105 S.Ct. 3099, 87 L.Ed.2d 114 (1985). For this reason, district courts have dismissed official capacity claims against multiple employees of the same agency as duplicative. See Rosas v. Baca, No. CV 12-00428-DDP (SHX), 2012 WL 933609, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 20, 2012) (dismissing claims against three of four individual defendants sued in their official capacities as duplicative); Thomas v. Baca, No. CV 04-08448-DDP (SHX), 2006 WL 132078, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 2006) (dismissing claims against six of seven individual defendants sued in their official capacities as duplicative).
Here, under Monell, Plaintiff's official capacity claims against the five defendants ultimately sue CDCR-the agency employing all five defendants. Thus, Plaintiff's official capacity claims against four of the five named defendants-namely Moore, Martinez, Thomas, and Marquez-are duplicative of Plaintiff's official capacity claim against defendant Soto. Hence, the Court dismisses the Complaint's claims against defendants Moore, Martinez, Thomas, and Marquez with prejudice as duplicative.
It therefore is ORDERED that the Complaint's claims against defendants Moore, Martinez, Thomas, and Marquez be DISMISSED without prejudice.