United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE
TO AMEND, DENYING EXTENSION OF TIME, and GRANTING MOTION TO
AMEND (Docs. 10, 11, 14)
K. OBERTO. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Reginald Smith, is a civil detainee, proceeding pro
se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In the Original
Complaint, Plaintiff contended that he was attacked by
another patient at Coalinga State Hospital. (Doc. 1.) Upon
screening, it was found that Plaintiff failed to state any
cognizable claims and he was granted leave to file an amended
complaint. (Doc. 8.) On November 2, 2016, Plaintiff filed the
First Amended Complaint which is before the Court for
screening. (Doc. 11.) As discussed below, instead of
providing specific factual allegations to perfect his
pleading, Plaintiff has added rambling statements which are
not clearly linked to any of the named Defendants. This
exceeds the scope of leave granted and violates Rule 8(a) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Thus, the First Amended
Complaint is dismissed and Plaintiff is granted leave to file
a second amended complaint.
Screening Requirement and Standard
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). A complaint, or portion
thereof, should only be dismissed for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted if it appears beyond
doubt that Plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of
the claim or claims that would entitle him to relief. See
Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984)
(citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46
(1957)); see also Palmer v. Roosevelt Lake Log
OwnersAss'n, 651 F.2d 1289, 1294 (9th Cir. 1981).
complains of incidents that occurred at Coalinga State
Hospital (“CSH”) where he is detained pursuant to
California's Sexually Violent Predator Act contained
within Welfare & Institution Code sections 6600 et seq.
(“SVPA”). Plaintiff was detained as a Sexually
Violent Predator (“SVP”) which is statutorily
defined as an individual with “a diagnosed mental
disorder that makes the person a danger to the health and
safety of others in that it is likely that he or she will
engage in sexually violent criminal behavior.” Welf.
& Inst. Code § 6600(a). The SVPA authorizes the
involuntary civil commitment of a person who has completed a
prison term, but has been given a “full
evaluation” and found to be a sexually violent
predator. Reilly v. Superior Court, 57 Cal.4th 641,
646 (2013); People v. McKee, 47 Cal.4th 1172, 1185
appears to contend that the named Defendants failed to
protect him from another detainee, Stallworth, and seeks
monetary damages as well as injunctive and declarative
relief. However, Plaintiff no longer states factual
allegations showing the specific altercations with
Stallworth. It appears that Plaintiff believed the First
Amended Complaint would simply add to the allegations in his
Original Complaint. However, Plaintiff was specifically
informed in the prior screening order that “an amended
complaint supercedes the original, Lacey v. Maricopa
County, Nos. 09-15806, 09-15703, 2012 WL 3711591, at *1
n.1 (9th Cir. Aug. 29, 2012) (en banc), and must be
‘complete in itself without reference to the prior or
superceded pleading, ' Local Rule 220.” (Doc. 8, p.
light of Plaintiff's pro se status, he is given
the legal standards for the claims he identifies and is
granted leave to file a second amended complaint which is no
longer than twenty-five (25) pages. Plaintiff is
warned that his second amended complaint must not violate
Rule 8(a) and must link each named defendant to his factual
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)
stated in the prior screening order, Rule 8(a) requires a
complaint to contain "a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . .
." Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a). "Such a statement must
simply give the defendant fair notice of what the
plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests." Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512.
of Rule 8, at both ends of the spectrum, warrant dismissal. A
violation occurs when a pleading says too little -- the
baseline threshold of factual and legal allegations required
was the central issue in the Iqbal line of cases.
See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129
S.Ct. 1937 (2009). The Rule is also violated, though, when a
pleading says too much. Cafasso, U.S. ex rel. v.
Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1058 (9th
Cir.2011) (“[W]e have never held -- and we know of no
authority supporting the proposition -- that a pleading may
be of unlimited length and opacity. Our cases instruct
otherwise.”) (citing cases); see also McHenry v.
Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1179-80 (9th Cir.1996) (affirming a
dismissal under Rule 8, and recognizing that “[p]rolix,
confusing complaints such as the ones plaintiffs filed in
this case impose unfair burdens on litigants and
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),
(quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that
is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678, (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
Factual allegations are accepted as true, but legal
conclusions are not. Iqbal, at 678; see also
Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir.
2009); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-557.
“plaintiffs [now] face a higher burden of pleadings
facts . . ., ” Al-Kidd v. Ashcroft, 580 F.3d
949, 977 (9th Cir. 2009), the pleadings of pro se
inmates and detainees are still construed liberally and are
afforded the benefit of any doubt. Hebbe v. Pliler,
627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). However, "the liberal
pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's
factual allegations, " Neitze v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989), "a liberal interpretation of a
civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of
the claim that were not initially pled, " Bruns v.
Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th
Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d
266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)), 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). The “sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully” is
not sufficient, and “facts that are ‘merely
consistent with' a defendant's liability” fall
short of satisfying the plausibility standard.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949;
Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.
“repeated and knowing violations of Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 8(a)'s ‘short and plain
statement' requirement are strikes as ‘fail[ures]
to state a claim, ' 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), when the
opportunity to correct the pleadings has been afforded and
there has been no modification within a reasonable
time.” Knapp v. Hogan, 738 F.3d 1106, 1108-09
(9th Cir. 2013).
chooses to file a second amended complaint, Plaintiff
should endeavor to make it as concise as possible.
He should simply state which of his constitutional rights
he believes were violated by each Defendant and the factual
basis for each violation. As previously directed,
Plaintiff need not and should not cite legal authority for
his claims in a second amended complaint. His factual
allegations are accepted as true and need not be bolstered by
legal authority or catch phrases at the pleading stage. If