United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER: 1) GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA
PAUPERIS [ECF NO. 3]; AND 2) DISMISSING
CIVIL ACTION FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM PURSUANT TO 28
U.S.C. § 1915(E)(2) AND § 1915A(B)
Gonzalo P. Curiel United States District Judge.
James Williams (“Plaintiff”), currently
incarcerated at the California State Prison, Sacramento
located in Represa, California, and proceeding pro se, has
filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff has also filed a Motion to
Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”) pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a) (ECF No. 3).
Motion to Proceed IFP
parties instituting any civil action, suit or proceeding in a
district court of the United States, except an application
for writ of habeas corpus, must pay a filing fee of
$400. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). The
action may proceed despite a plaintiff's failure to
prepay the entire fee only if he is granted leave to proceed
IFP pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). See Andrews v.
Cervantes, 493 F.3d 1047, 1051 (9th Cir. 2007). However,
prisoners who are granted leave to proceed IFP remain
obligated to pay the entire fee in “increments”
or “installments, ” Bruce v. Samuels,
577 U.S. __, 136 S.Ct. 627, 629 (2016); Williams v.
Paramo, 775 F.3d 1182, 1185 (9th Cir. 2015), and
regardless of whether their action is ultimately dismissed.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) & (2);
Taylor v. Delatoore, 281 F.3d 844, 847 (9th Cir.
1915(a)(2) also requires prisoners seeking leave to proceed
IFP to submit a “certified copy of the trust fund
account statement (or institutional equivalent) for . . . the
6-month period immediately preceding the filing of the
complaint.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2); Andrews v.
King, 398 F.3d 1113, 1119 (9th Cir. 2005). From the
certified trust account statement, the Court assesses an
initial payment of 20% of (a) the average monthly deposits in
the account for the past six months, or (b) the average
monthly balance in the account for the past six months,
whichever is greater, unless the prisoner has no assets.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1); 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(4). The institution having custody of the prisoner
then collects subsequent payments, assessed at 20% of the
preceding month's income, in any month in which his
account exceeds $10, and forwards those payments to the Court
until the entire filing fee is paid. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(2); Bruce, 136 S.Ct. at 629.
support of his IFP Motion, Plaintiff has submitted a copy of
his Inmate Statement Report for the six-months preceding the
filing of his Complaint. See ECF No. 3 at 5; 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2); S.D. Cal. CivLR 3.2;
Andrews, 398 F.3d at 1119. These statements show
that Plaintiff had an average monthly balance of $76.51, and
average monthly deposits of $43.33 to his account over the
6-month period immediately preceding the filing of his
Complaint, as well as an available balance of $141.68 at the
time he submitted the statement. See ECF No. 3.
Based on this financial information, the Court
GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed IFP
(ECF No. 3), and assesses his initial partial filing fee to
be $15.30 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
the Court will direct the Secretary of the California
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
(“CDCR”), or his designee, to collect this
initial fee only if sufficient funds are available in
Plaintiff's account at the time this Order is executed.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4) (providing that
“[i]n no event shall a prisoner be prohibited from
bringing a civil action or appealing a civil action or
criminal judgment for the reason that the prisoner has no
assets and no means by which to pay the initial partial
filing fee.”); Bruce, 136 S.Ct. at 630;
Taylor, 281 F.3d at 850 (finding that 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(4) acts as a “safety-valve”
preventing dismissal of a prisoner's IFP case based
solely on a “failure to pay . . . due to the lack of
funds available to him when payment is ordered.”). The
remaining balance of the $350 total fee owed in this case
must be collected and forwarded to the Clerk of the Court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
Screening Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)
Standard of Review
Plaintiff is a prisoner and is proceeding IFP, his Complaint
requires a pre-answer screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(b). Under these statutes, the
Court must sua sponte dismiss a prisoner's IFP complaint,
or any portion of it, which is frivolous, malicious, fails to
state a claim, or seeks damages from defendants who are
immune. See 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)).
“The purpose of [screening] 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)).
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)”). Rule
12(b)(6) requires a complaint “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) (internal quotation
marks omitted); Wilhelm, 680 F.3d at 1121.
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.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “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”
or “unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed me
accusation[s]” fall short of meeting this plausibility
standard. Id.; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret
Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).
Complaint names Governor Jerry Brown, San Diego Superior
Court Judge Federico Castro, former San Diego District
Attorney Paul J. Pfingst and San Diego Deputy District
Attorney Michael Groch as Defendants. (ECF No. 1 at 1-2.)
Plaintiff claims these Defendants have violated his Eighth
and Fourteenth Amendment rights by “falsely
imprisoning” him. (Id. at 3-4, 7.) He seeks
$2, 000, 000 in compensatory and punitive damages.
(Id. at 7.)
42 U.S.C. § 1983
1983 creates a private right of action against individuals
who, acting under color of state law, violate federal
constitutional or statutory rights.” Devereaux v.
Abbey, 263 F.3d 1070, 1074 (9th Cir. 2001). Section 1983
“is not itself a source of substantive rights, but
merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights
elsewhere conferred.” Graham v. Connor, 490
U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989) (internal quotation marks and
citations omitted). “To establish § 1983
liability, a plaintiff must show both (1) deprivation of a
right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United