United States District Court, E.D. California
ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a state prisoner proceeding pro se, seeks relief pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and has requested leave to proceed in
forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This
proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
has submitted a declaration that makes the showing required
by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). ECF No. 6. Accordingly, the
request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.
is required to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for
this action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a), 1915(b)(1). By
this order, plaintiff will be assessed an initial partial
filing fee in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1). By separate order, the court will direct
the appropriate agency to collect the initial partial filing
fee from plaintiff’s trust account and forward it to
the Clerk of the Court. Thereafter, plaintiff will be
obligated for monthly payments of twenty percent of the
preceding month’s income credited to plaintiff’s
prison trust account. These payments will be forwarded by the
appropriate agency to the Clerk of the Court each time the
amount in plaintiff’s account exceeds $10.00, until the
filing fee is paid in full. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints
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 upon which
relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
“is [legally] frivolous where it lacks an arguable
basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v.
Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984).
“[A] judge may dismiss [in forma pauperis] claims which
are based on indisputably meritless legal theories or whose
factual contentions are clearly baseless.” Jackson
v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1989) (citation
and internal quotations omitted), superseded by statute
on other grounds as stated in Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d
1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000); Neitzke, 490 U.S. at
327. The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim,
however inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual
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, ’ in order to ‘give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.’” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (alteration
in original) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41,
47 (1957)). However, in order to survive dismissal for
failure to state a claim, a complaint must contain more than
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action;” it must contain factual allegations sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. (citations omitted). “[T]he
pleading must contain something more . . . than . . . a
statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a
legally cognizable right of action.” Id.
(alteration in original) (quoting 5 Charles Alan Wright &
Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure Â§
1216 (3d ed. 2004)).
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S.
at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 556). In reviewing a
complaint under this standard, the court must accept as true
the allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital
Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hosp. Trs., 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976),
as well as construe the pleading in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff and resolve all doubts in the
plaintiff’s favor, Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395
U.S. 411, 421 (1969).
complaint is vague and difficult to understand. Insofar as
the court can make sense of it, it appears that plaintiff is
accusing defendant Morgan, a correctional officer at Deuel
Vocational Institution, of “stalking” plaintiff
and “openly disrespecting” him. See ECF
No. 1 at 2, 6. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Morgan was
“super unprofessional, ” showed no courtesy to
plaintiff, and did not address plaintiff by his “proper
name.” Id. at 2. Plaintiff further alleges
that defendant Morgan opened and closed plaintiff’s
cell door from the control booth while plaintiff was
sleeping, “as if it [were] a game.” Id.
at 6. Plaintiff also makes a vague reference to
“employee sexual misconduct, ” sodomy, and lack
of inmate consent, and alleges that he suffers from mental
health issues. See id. at 2.
Vague and Conclusory Allegations
The court finds the allegations in plaintiff’s
complaint so vague and conclusory that it is unable to
determine whether the current action is frivolous or fails to
state a claim for relief. The court has determined that the
complaint does not contain a short and plain statement as
required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Although the Federal Rules
adopt a flexible pleading policy, a complaint must give fair
notice and state the elements of the claim plainly and
succinctly. Jones v. Cmty. Redev. Agency, 733 F.2d
646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984). Plaintiff must allege with at least
some degree of particularity overt acts which defendants
engaged in that support plaintiff's claim. Id.