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Martinez v. Davey

United States District Court, E.D. California

August 9, 2016

RICARDO MARTINEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
D. DAVEY, et al., Defendants.

          SCREENING DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF No. 1)

          BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         1. Screening Requirement and Standard

         Plaintiff Ricardo Martinez (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff initiated this action on October 23, 2015 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. (ECF No. 1.) The matter was transferred to this Court on January 15, 2016, and received on January 20, 2016. (ECF No. 10.) Plaintiff’s complaint, filed on October 23, 2015, is currently before the court for screening. (ECF No. 1.)

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff’s complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(A)(b)(1), (2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). While a plaintiff’s allegations are taken as true, 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).

         To survive screening, Plaintiff’s claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. United States Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969. Courts are required to liberally construe pro se prisoner complaints. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106, 97 S.Ct. 285, 292 (1976).

         2. Plaintiff’s Allegations

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner currently housed at Corcoran State Prison in Corcoran, California, where the events at issue are alleged to have occurred. Plaintiff names as defendants: (1) D. Davey, Warden; (2) an unnamed Chief Medical Officer; (3) an unnamed Medical Executive; and (4) unnamed John Doe and Jane Doe staff and sworn officials. Plaintiff alleges as follows:

I’m under multiple violations of my right 1st 5th 6th 14th amendment hindering outgoing mail, denied adequate medical care, 8th amendment violation victim of assault and battery. Having problem with my back, need a cane to walk. I receive injury, breach of contract. I completed int[e]rnal administrative process. Is medical malpractice. See attach declaration and/or summary judgment is required.”

(ECF No. 1, p. 3.)

         Although Plaintiff references a declaration in his statement of his claim, the Court was unable to locate any declaration in his attachments to the complaint, which totaled approximately 130 pages.

         Plaintiff seeks monetary damages, and sues the defendants in their official and individual capacities.

         III. Deficiencies of Complaint

         A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, 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). Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.; see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-557; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         Plaintiff’s complaint is sparse and relies primarily on attached exhibits, with no factual allegations underlying his claims. Although he claims several different violations of his rights, his allegations are conclusory and fail to describe any specific actions or inactions by the defendants.

         If Plaintiff elects to amend his complaint, he must set forth factual allegations against each named defendant sufficient to state a claim, including what each person did or did not do that resulted in a violation of his rights. Further, the court is not required to sift through Plaintiff’s exhibits and attachments in an effort to determine what plaintiff's claim(s) are. If he chooses to add attachments or exhibits to any amended complaint (which he is not required to do), Plaintiff must identify them for the Court and explain their significance.

         B. Linkage Requirement

         The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides:

Every person who, under color of [state law] ... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States ... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution ... shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.

42 U.S.C. § 1983. The statute plainly requires that there be an actual connection or link between the actions of the defendants and the deprivation alleged to have been suffered by Plaintiff. See Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 96 S.Ct. 598, 46 L.Ed.2d 561 (1976). The Ninth Circuit has held that “[a] person ‘subjects another to the deprivation of a constitutional right, within the meaning of section 1983, if he does an affirmative act, participates in another’s affirmative acts or omits to perform an ...


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