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Williams v. Castaneda

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 30, 2016

MICHAEL B. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
ARCELIA CASTANEDA, Defendant.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF NO. 1)

          MICHAEL J. SENG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff is a civil detainee proceeding pro se in a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff’s June 24, 2016, complaint is before the Court for screening.

         I. Screening Requirement

         The in forma pauperis statute provides, “Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         II. Pleading Standard

         Section 1983 “provides a cause of action for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).

         To state a claim under § 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. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda Cnty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). 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) (citing 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 to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 677-78.

         III. Plaintiff’s Allegations

         Plaintiff is an uncommitted civil detainee housed at Coalinga State Hospital (“CSH”). Though Plaintiff’s prison sentence was completed on December 24, 2000, he has since been held over for civil commitment trial pursuant to California's Sexually Violent Predator Act (“SVPA”). Arcelia Castaneda is a Psychiatric Technician employed at CSH and is named as a defendant in her official and individual capacities.

         Plaintiff’s claims can be summarized as follows:

         Pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code § 6606(b), [1] Plaintiff refuses to participate in evaluations, hospital care and treatment programs, or group hospital sessions at CSH. In retaliation for this refusal, Defendant Arcelia Castaneda accessed Plaintiff’s confidential medical ...


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