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Hearne v. Baughman

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 21, 2017

JOHNNY HEARNE, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID BAUGHMAN, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          DEBORAH BARNES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that during a visit to the medical facility at California State Prison, Sacramento (CSP-Sac), he was placed in a holding cage reserved for administrative segregation for two hours until the medical staff had time to see him. (ECF No. 1 at 2, 4.) Before the court are plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 5) and consideration of plaintiff's complaint. Plaintiff has consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge. (ECF No. 7.) For the reasons set forth below, the court grants plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis and dismisses plaintiff's complaint with leave to amend.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff initiated this action in June 2016. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff's statement of claim consists of a single paragraph describing his visit to the prison medical facility on June 3, 2016. (Id. at 2, 4.) Plaintiff describes having to go to the facility because of high blood pressure and dizziness. He states that defendant Richmond took his blood pressure and then instructed defendant Simas to place plaintiff in an administrative segregation holding cage for two hours until defendants had time to address plaintiff's needs. Plaintiff's request for relief seeks a transfer to a medical facility and money damages. (Id.) Plaintiff filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis on July 21, 2016. (ECF No. 8.)

         II. Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

         Plaintiff has submitted a declaration that makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Accordingly, the request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.

         Plaintiff is required to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for this action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a), 1915(b)(1). Plaintiff is currently without funds. Accordingly, the court will not assess an initial partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Plaintiff is obligated for monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding month's income credited to plaintiff's prison trust account. These payments shall be collected and forwarded by the appropriate agency to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in plaintiff's account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee is paid in full. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).

         III. Screening

         The court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) & (2).

         A. Legal Standard

         A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual basis. See Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1989); Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227.

         In considering whether a complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court must accept the allegations as true, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by lawyers. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Still, to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, a pro se complaint must contain more than “naked assertions, ” “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007). In other words, “[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). Furthermore, a claim upon which the court can grant relief must have facial plausibility. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Attachments to a complaint are considered to be part of the complaint for purposes of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Hal Roach Studios v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d 1542, 1555 n.19 (9th Cir. 1990).

         B. Discussion

         As described above, plaintiff's statement of claim merely recounts an incident that occurred on June 3, 2017. (ECF No. 1 at 2, 4.) Plaintiff's request for relief seeks monetary damages and a transfer to a medical facility. (Id.) Plaintiff's complaint does not state the legal basis on which he is pursuing this action. (Id.) Additionally, the complaint does not describe how each defendant was involved, as defendants Baughman, ...


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