United States District Court, E.D. California
LEONARD J. ROSS, II, Plaintiff,
CALIFORNIA HEALTH CARE SERVICES, et al., Defendants.
KENDALL J. NEWMAN, UNITED STALES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner, proceeding without counsel. Plaintiff
seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and requested
leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915. This proceeding was referred to this court by
Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
Plaintiff consented to proceed before the undersigned for all
purposes. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). On March 10,
2017, plaintiff provided a signature page which was
incorporated into his complaint. (ECF No. 6.)
Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
submitted a declaration that makes the showing required by 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a). However, the court will not assess a
filing fee at this time. Instead, the undersigned summarily
dismisses the complaint.
court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity. 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. 28 U.S.C. §
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 when 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1989), superseded by statute as stated in Lopez
v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130-31 (9th Cir. 2000)
(“[A] judge may dismiss [in forma pauperis] claims
which are based on indisputably meritless legal theories or
whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.”);
Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227.
8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
“requires only ‘a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,
' in order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). In order to survive dismissal for
failure to state a claim, a complaint must contain more than
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action;” it must contain factual allegations sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. at 555. However, “[s]pecific
facts are not necessary; the statement [of facts] need only
‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim
is and the grounds upon which it rests.'”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007)
(quoting Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555, citations
and internal quotations marks omitted). In reviewing a
complaint under this standard, the court must accept as true
the allegations of the complaint in question,
Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93, and construe the pleading
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Scheuer v.
Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974), overruled on other
grounds, Davis v. Scherer, 468 U.S. 183 (1984).
alleges that the California Health Care Services
(“CHCS”) and the California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) conspired
to violate plaintiff's constitutional rights by allowing
the use of unencrypted laptops. Plaintiff alleges that the
law requires anyone handling medical records to safeguard and
protect such confidential information. Plaintiff alleges a
laptop was left unattended in a personal vehicle from which
it was stolen. Attached to the complaint is a letter from
CHCS notifying plaintiff of this “potential
breach.” The letter states that it is unknown if
“any sensitive information was contained in the
laptop” and that the laptop was password protected.
Plaintiff asserts a violation of his Sixth Amendment right to
be secure in his information. He seeks damages as relief.
fails to name a proper defendant. State agencies, such as
CDCR and CCHCS, are immune from suit under the Eleventh
Amendment. See Will v. Michigan Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989); Lucas v. Dep't
of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam)
(holding that prisoner's Eighth Amendment claims against
CDCR for damages and injunctive relief were barred by
Eleventh Amendment immunity); Pennhurst State Sch. &
Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984) (Eleventh
Amendment immunity extends to state agencies); see also
Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 30 (1991) (clarifying that
Eleventh Amendment does not bar suits against state officials
sued in their individual capacities, nor does it bar suits
for prospective injunctive relief against state officials
sued in their official capacities).
assuming that plaintiff could substitute appropriate
individuals as defendants, the speculative allegations of the
complaint still fail to establish that plaintiff has standing
because he cannot show an injury-in-fact.