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Brown v. Ducart

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 1, 2016

WILLIAM E. BROWN, Plaintiff,
C. E. DUCART, et al., Defendants.




         Plaintiff William E. Brown, an inmate at Pelican Bay State Prison ("PBSP"), filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. By separate order, plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. For the reasons stated below, the complaint is dismissed with leave to amend.


         A. Standard of Review

         Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. § 1915A(b)(1)-(2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

         Federal 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." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). "Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (omission in original) (internal quotations and citations omitted). Although a complaint does not need detailed factual allegations [in order to state a claim], . . . a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570.

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

         B. Legal Claims

         In the portion of the complaint where the inmate is to write his statement of the claim, plaintiff wrote:

1st and 14th Amendment based on (1) Retaliation, for Plaintiff invoking his 1st Amendment protected right to petition or redress the gov. (2) Racial Discrimination (3) Religious Infringement or free Exercise Clause (4) Equal Protection Due Process clause. (see: Hillary R. Clinton i.e. AEDPA-REFORM Attach) 8th Amendment violation (1) illegal Excessive use of force (2) Threats of Water Board "which led to stomach infection, " and other threats or Racial Slurs Made Against Plaintiff and His Members of United K.A.G.E Brothers & Sisters Antihostility Group (Religious Activity Group) (3) Medical, Mental Health deliberate indifference (4) false imprisonment via SHU (false STG' 115 or Retainment) (5) illegal strip search triggered (4th & 13th Amendment violation) (6) CDCR, PBSP intent to trigger Anti-terrorist Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) violation See: Attached Hillary R. Clinton (AEDPA-Reform) refer to (Ashker v. Gov) litigants etc.

Compl. at 3.

         The Court cannot discern what facts plaintiff is basing his claims on. Plaintiff's allegations fail to state clearly what happened, when it happened, what each defendant did, and how those actions or inactions rise to the level of a federal constitutional violation. For the most part, plaintiff attaches grievances, court filings, and other documents to his complaint, apparently as a way to explain his problem. The Court will not read through exhibits to piece together a claim for a plaintiff who has not pled one. The lack of detail prevents the Court from determining which claims deserve a response and from whom, and also prevents individual defendants from framing a response to the complaint.

         The Court will dismiss the complaint with leave to amend. In his amended complaint, plaintiff must specifically identify what each named defendant did or did not do with regard to each separate claim. Sweeping conclusory allegations will not suffice. Plaintiff should not refer to the defendants as a group (e.g., "the defendants"); rather, he should identify each involved defendant by name and link each of them to his claims by explaining what each involved defendant did or failed to do that caused a violation of his rights. See Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 634 (9th Cir. 1988). Plaintiff is cautioned that there is no respondeat superior liability under ยง 1983, i.e. no liability under the theory that one is responsible for the ...

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