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Gadbury v. State

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 31, 2017

HERB L. GADBURY, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge.

         Plaintiff's original complaint was dismissed with leave to amend for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff has now submitted a letter, which the undersigned construes as a first amended complaint. This pleading will be screened herein.

         I. Screening Requirement

         The court is required to screen complaints brought by individuals proceeding in forma pauperis seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the complaint contains 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). “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

         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)), and 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). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         Under section 1983, plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor, Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted), but nevertheless, the mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting the plausibility standard, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         III. Discussion

         On July 5, 2016, plaintiff's original complaint was dismissed for failure to state a claim against any of the named defendants, California Health Care Facility (“CHCF”) Warden Brian Duffy. Appeals Examiner K.J. Allen, and the State of California. His claim against Warden Duffy and Allen were based solely on their respective roles in denying plaintiff's grievance at the second and third levels of review, which were insufficient standing alone to state a claim. Ramirez v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 860 (9th Cir. 2003). His claim against the State of California failed entirely under the Eleventh Amendment. Aholelei v. Dep't of Public Safety, 488 F.3d 1144, 1147 (9th Cir. 2007); Brown v. California Dep't of Corrections, 544 F.3d 747, 752 (9th Cir. 2009).

         Plaintiff's factual allegations in the first amended complaint are minimal. He states only that (a) he eats a Hindu vegan diet, which prohibits meat and dairy, (b) he has certain health problems; and (c) CHCF gives him food that he cannot eat.

         These minimal allegations convince the undersigned that this pleading must also be dismissed for failure to state a claim. The document fails as a stand-alone pleading because it responds only to certain deficiencies identified in the July 5, 2016, screening order without reasserting critical facts or identifying the involvement of any individuals; it identifies only the State of California as a defendant, and it attaches numerous exhibits without a sufficient factual underpinning in the pleading.

         It is evident that plaintiff intends for his filing to supplement his original complaint. This is improper. Local Rule 220 requires that an amended complaint be complete in itself without reference to any prior pleading. As a general rule, an amended complaint supersedes the original complaint. See Loux v. Rhay, 375 F.2d 55, 57 (9th Cir. 1967). Once an amended complaint is filed, the original complaint no longer serves any function in the case.

         The amended pleading will therefore be dismissed. If plaintiff opts to amend, he must address the deficiencies noted in the July 5, 2016, Screening Order and in this Screening Order. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-78. Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient factual matter . . . to ‘state a claim ...

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