United States District Court, E.D. California
JAMISI J. CALLOWAY, Plaintiff,
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF ORDER
DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, DENYING MOTION FOR
APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL, AND DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO FILE
AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS OF THIS ORDER (DOC.
is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights
action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
initiated this action on September 6, 2016. (Doc. No. 1.) The
matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.
Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of the assigned
magistrate judge's screening order is before the court.
(Doc. No. 13.) Plaintiff has also requested the appointment
January 18, 2017, the assigned magistrate judge screened
plaintiff's civil rights complaint and dismissed it for
failure to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
8(a)(2), which requires plaintiff provide a “short and
plain” statement of his claim. (Doc. No. 12.) In so
doing, the magistrate judge noted that plaintiff's
complaint comprised more than 100 pages of factual
allegations and supporting documentation and named
approximately 47 separate defendants. (Id. at 3.)
magistrate judge also found that plaintiff's complaint
improperly joined numerous unrelated defendants and claims,
in violation of Rule 18(a), which states that “[a]
party asserting a claim to relief as an original claim,
counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, may join,
either as independent or as alternate claims, as many claims,
legal, equitable, or maritime, as the party has against an
opposing party.” (Id.) Therefore, the
magistrate judge determined that, to the extent plaintiff
wished to file multiple claims against multiple individuals
arising from unrelated events, he would have to file them in
separate lawsuits. (Id. at 3-4.)
February 6, 2017, plaintiff filed the instant motion for
reconsideration. (Doc. No. 13.) Therein, plaintiff asks this
court to look past the technical deficiencies of his
complaint and issue a ruling on the merits of his claims.
Plaintiff avers that he made his complaint as brief as he
could, and since all of the named defendants conspired
together to violate his rights, they are properly joined in a
MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
72(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a party
to serve and file objections to a Magistrate Judge's
non-dispositive order within fourteen days. In this court,
such objections are treated as a motion for reconsideration
by the assigned District Judge and should be captioned
“Request for Reconsideration.” See Local
Rule 303. Plaintiff here has filed a motion requesting
reconsideration of the magistrate judge's screening order
by the undersigned. As such, the court will review
plaintiff's motion under Local Rule 303.
Court reviews a motion to reconsider a magistrate judge's
ruling under the “clearly erroneous or contrary to
law” standard set forth in 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A) and Fed R. Civ. P. 72(a). As such, the court may
only set aside those portions of a magistrate judge's
order that are either clearly erroneous or contrary to law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a); see also Grimes v. City and
County of San Francisco, 951 F.2d 236, 240 (9th Cir.
1991). A magistrate judge's factual findings are
“clearly erroneous” when the district court is
left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has
been committed. Security Farms v. International Bhd. of
Teamsters, 124 F.3d 999, 1014 (9th Cir. 1997); Green
v. Baca, 219 F.R.D. 485, 489 (C.D. Cal. 2003). The
“clearly erroneous' standard is significantly
deferential.” Concrete Pipe and Products of
California, Inc. v. Construction Laborers Pension Trust for
Southern California, 508 U.S. 602, 623 (1993). The
“contrary to law” standard allows independent,
plenary review of purely legal determinations by the
magistrate judge. See Haines v. Liggett Group, Inc.,
975 F.2d 81, 91 (3d Cir. 1992); Green, 219 F.R.D. at
489; see also Osband v. Woodford, 290 F.3d 1036,
1041 (9th Cir. 2002). “An order is contrary to law when
it fails to apply or misapplies relevant statutes, case law,
or rules of procedure.” Knutson v. Blue Cross &
Blue Shield of Minn., 254 F.R.D. 553, 556 (D. Minn.
2008); Rathgaber v. Town of Oyster Bay, 492
F.Supp.2d 130, 137 (E.D.N.Y. 2007); see Adolph Coors Co.
v. Wallace, 570 F.Supp.2d 202, 205 (N.D. Cal. 1983).
plaintiff bases his motion for reconsideration on his belief
that the magistrate judge improperly dismissed his complaint
on procedural grounds and should have instead excused his
pleading deficiencies and addressed the merits of
plaintiff's claims. In essence, plaintiff argues that the
magistrate judge's screening order was clearly erroneous.
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).
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)). Likewise, Federal Rules 18 and 20
dictate when multiple claims and parties may be joined in a
single action. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a); 20(a)(2)
(a plaintiff may only sue multiple defendants in the same
action if at least one claim against each defendant arises
out of the same “transaction, occurrence, or series of
transactions or occurrences” and there is a
“question of law or fact common to all
undersigned has conducted an independent review of the
magistrate judge's analysis in screening plaintiff's
complaint to determine whether his ruling was clearly
erroneous or contrary to law. The court finds that the
magistrate judge's ruling was not clearly erroneous or
contrary to law. Plaintiff's complaint was dismissed for
failure to comply with Rule 8(a)(2) because he did not
provide a “short and plain” statement of his
claim, in a form that is “simple, concise, and
direct.” McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177
(9th Cir. 1996). The magistrate judge properly determined
that plaintiff's 100 page complaint - which named 47
different defendants and alleged conduct occurring over the
course of nearly two years - failed to meet this requirement.
(Doc. No. 12 at 3.) Moreover, the magistrate judge properly
dismissed plaintiff's complaint because the events
complained of did not arise from the same, or even related,
transactions. (Id. at 3-4.) Plaintiff's argument
that he should be extended leniency is unavailing; ...