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Coyle v. Unknown

United States District Court, S.D. California

March 6, 2017

JUSTIN COYLE, Booking No. 16156062, Plaintiff,
UNKNOWN, et al., Defendants.


          HON. LARRY ALAN BURNS United States District Judge

         JUSTIN COYLE (“Plaintiff”), who was a pretrial detainee at George Bailey Detention Facility (“GBDF”) at the time he initiated suit, (see ECF No. 1), but whom has since been transferred to the San Diego Central Jail, where the Court presumes he is either still awaiting trial or sentence, (ECF No. 37), is proceeding pro se in this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         The Court has granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis, but has dismissed his original (ECF No. 1), and second amended complaints (ECF No. 4) for failing to state a claim with leave to amend. (ECF Nos. 2, 18.) Plaintiff has since unsuccessfully appealed (ECF Nos. 19, 24, 27), and after being granted an extension of time, has now filed his Third Amended Complaint (“TAC”) (ECF No. 34).

         Because Plaintiff's latest pleading still fails to state a claim, the Court now dismisses the entire action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and § 1915A(b)(1) without further leave to amend.


         Plaintiff's TAC is sparse and, as was true of his original complaint, he identifies no individual defendants and he alleges no violations of any specific constitutional right. For example, in “Count One, ” Plaintiff claims 5 bags of Maxwell House coffee, various items from 2 “internet purchase hygiene kits” and other miscellaneous items worth $126.55 were taken from him on October 7, 2015, when he was extracted from his cell. (ECF No. 34 at 1.) In “Count Two, ” Plaintiff claims he was “assaulted by two separate S.D. County Jail staff” while returning from court on January 7, 2016. (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff also claims that afterward, an unidentified nurse “ignored [his] orders … not [to] touch [his] butto[cks], ” and “pricked” him with a needle. (Id.) Plaintiff “believe[s] this incident was for humiliation purposes, ” and constituted a “sexual attack.” (Id. at 3.) Finally, in “Count Three, ” Plaintiff claims he was “falsely imprisoned” for ten days after he was “given an O.R.” on September 29, 2014, by the East County San Diego Superior Court. (Id.)


         A. Legal Standards for Screening per 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b)

         Because Plaintiff remains a prisoner and is proceeding IFP, his TAC requires a pre-answer screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(b). “The purpose of § 1915A is ‘to ensure that the targets of frivolous or malicious suits need not bear the expense of responding.'” Nordstrom v. Ryan, 762 F.3d 903, 920 n.1 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting Wheeler v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., 689 F.3d 680, 681 (7th Cir. 2012)). “The standard for determining whether a plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standard for failure to state a claim.” Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012); see also Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (noting that screening pursuant to § 1915A “incorporates the familiar standard applied in the context of failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)”).

         As Plaintiff is now well aware, the Prison Litigation Reform Act requires the Court to review complaints filed by all persons proceeding IFP and by those, like Plaintiff, who are “incarcerated or detained in any facility [and] accused of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for, violations of criminal law or the terms or conditions of parole, probation, pretrial release, or diversionary program, ” “as soon as practicable after docketing.” See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b). Under these screening statutes, the Court must sua sponte dismiss complaints, or any portions of them, which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim, or which seek damages from defendants who are immune. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)); Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)).

         All complaints 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)). “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] ... a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. The “mere possibility of misconduct” falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id.; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).

         “When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity, and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. The court “ha[s] an obligation where the petitioner is pro se, particularly in civil rights cases, to construe the pleadings liberally and to afford the petitioner the benefit of any doubt, ” Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 & n.7 (9th Cir. 2010), but it “may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled.” Chapman v. Pier 1 Imports (U.S.) Inc., 631 F.3d 939, 954 (9th Cir. 2011) (citations omitted).

         B. Application to Third Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff's TAC suffers from the same critical deficiencies of pleading as his prior pleadings and therefore, it must be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ...

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