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Souza v. California Health Care Services

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 19, 2017

MICHAEL ANTHONY SOUZA, Plaintiff,
v.
CALIFORNIA CORRECTIONAL HEALTH CARE SERVICES, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IFP AND RECOMMENDATION OF DISMISSAL PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

          EDMUND F. BRENNAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He has filed an application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

         I. Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

         Plaintiff's application makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) and (2). Accordingly, by separate order, the court directs the agency having custody of plaintiff to collect and forward the appropriate monthly payments for the filing fee as set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) and (2).

         II. Screening Requirement and Standards

         Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint “is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, ” or “seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” Id. § 1915A(b).

         A pro se plaintiff, like other litigants, must satisfy the pleading requirements of Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8(a)(2) “requires a complaint to include 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 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554, 562-563 (2007) (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)). While the complaint must comply with the “short and plaint statement” requirements of Rule 8, its allegations must also include the specificity required by Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).

         To avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim a complaint must contain more than “naked assertions, ” “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-557. In other words, “[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.

         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. When 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 (2007), and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, see Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974).

         III. Screening Order

         The court has reviewed plaintiff's complaint (ECF No. 1) pursuant to § 1915A and finds it must be dismissed. The complaint alleges that the California Correctional Health Care Services (“CCHCS”) and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) breached the confidentiality of plaintiff's personal information and medical records when an unencrypted laptop was stolen from the vehicle of a CCHCS employee. Plaintiff alleges he is now exposed to identity theft as a result. Attached to the complaint is a letter from CCHCS notifying plaintiff of this “potential breach.” ECF No. 1, Ex. A. The letter noted that the laptop was password protected, and informed plaintiff as follows:

We do not know if any sensitive information was contained in the laptop. To the extent any sensitive information may have been contained in the laptop, we do not know if the information included any of your information. If your information was included, the nature of the information may have included confidential medical, mental health, and custodial information. To the extent any sensitive information may have been contained in the laptop, we estimate that it would have been limited to information related to your custody and care, if any, between 1996 and 2014.

Id. Plaintiff claims that the failure to encrypt the laptop was “deliberate, ” that it violated various state laws, the Fourth Amendment, and also demonstrates a conspiracy to deprive plaintiff of equal protection and due process. Id. at 3. As set forth below, the complaint demonstrate a lack of standing, names defendants who are immune from suit, and otherwise fails to state a cognizable claim under the applicable standards.

         First, plaintiff is required to establish standing for each claim he asserts. DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U.S. 332, 352 (2006). If a plaintiff has no standing, the court has no subject matter jurisdiction. Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n v. Adams, 629 F.2d 587, 593 n. 11 (9th Cir. 1980). There are three requirements that must be met for a plaintiff to have standing: (1) the plaintiff must have suffered an “injury in fact”-an invasion of a legally protected interest which is both concrete and particularized and actual or imminent; (2) there must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of; and (3) it must be likely that the injury will be ...


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