United States District Court, E.D. California
KASEY F. HOFFMAN, Plaintiff,
DEAN F. GROWDEN, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DISMISSING ACTION PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
1915A FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM UPON WHICH RELIEF COULD BE
F. BRENNAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action
brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. After a dismissal
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, he has filed an amended
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).
court has reviewed plaintiff's amended complaint (ECF No.
12) pursuant to § 1915A and concludes that it must be
dismissed without further leave to amend. It alleges that
plaintiff was falsely imprisoned for thirty-three days
because he was not informed that his parole hold had been
dropped. It also alleges that during plaintiff's
confinement, he was denied equal protection, adequate medical
care, religious rights, and the right to file grievances
without retaliation. The amended complaint names Jail
Commander Jones, Sheriff Growden, Lassen County Adult
Detention Facility, the Lassen County Sheriff's
Department, and Lassen County as defendants. As discussed
below, the amended complaint must be dismissed because it
fails to plead a proper claim for relief against Lassen
County, the Detention Facility, and the Sheriff's
Department, and otherwise fails to correct the deficiencies
identified by the court in its original screening order.
the complaint fails to plead a proper claim for relief
against Lassen County, the Detention Facility, and the
Sheriff's Department because it does not allege that
plaintiff was injured as a result of employees acting
pursuant to any policy or custom of Lassen County. A
municipal entity or its departments is liable under section
1983 only if plaintiff shows that his constitutional injury
was caused by employees acting pursuant to the
municipality's policy or custom. Mt. Healthy City
Sch. Dist. Bd. of Ed. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 280
(1977); Monell v. New York City Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978); Villegas v. Gilroy
Garlic Festival Ass'n, 541 F.3d 950, 964 (9th Cir.
2008). Moreover, local government entities may not be held
vicariously liable under section 1983 for the
unconstitutional acts of its employees under a theory of
respondeat superior. See Board of Cty. Comm'rs. v.
Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403 (1997). Here, the amended
complaint alleges that Jones and Growden were responsible for
executing and enacting “policy, ” but does not
identify any particular policy; nor does it allege if or how
plaintiff was injured as a result of an employee acting
pursuant to any policy. Thus, the amended complaint fails to
state a claim of municipal liability.
the complaint fails to correct the deficiencies identified by
the court in its original screening order. The original
screening order informed plaintiff of the standards governing
constitutional claims based on inadequate medical care,
religious discrimination, and retaliation. ECF No. 9 at 4-6.
It also informed plaintiff of the following:
To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff must
allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by
the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated,
and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person
acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins,
487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
“The Constitution permits states to deprive a person of
liberty as long as the person first receives due process. The
fundamental requirement of due process is the opportunity to
be heard at a meaningful time and in a meaningful
manner.” Stein v. Ryan, 662 F.3d 1114, 1119
(9th Cir. 2011) (internal quotations and citations omitted).
“[A]n individual has a liberty interest in being free
from incarceration absent a criminal conviction.”
Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 683 (9th
Cir. 2001). “Thus, the loss of liberty caused by an
individual's mistaken incarceration after the lapse of a
certain amount of time gives rise to a claim under the Due
Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Id. Such a claim may arise when the defendants knew
or should have known the detainee was entitled to release and
(1) the circumstances indicated to the defendants that
further investigation was warranted, or (2) the defendants
denied the detainee access to the courts for an extended
period of time. Id.; Rivera v. Cty. of Los
Angeles, 745 F.3d 384, 391 (9th Cir. 2014). And
“[s]ince imprisonment is punitive, officials who detain
a person may violate that person's rights under the
Eighth Amendment if they act with deliberate indifference to
the prisoner's liberty interest.” Id. at
Plaintiff does not plead any facts showing that any defendant
knew or should have known that plaintiff should have been
released from custody. He also fails to plead facts showing
circumstances that should have prompted any defendant to
investigate plaintiff's custody status, or showing that
plaintiff was denied access to the courts for an extended
period of time.
An individual defendant is not liable on a civil rights claim
unless the facts establish the defendant's personal
involvement in the constitutional deprivation or a causal
connection between the defendant's wrongful conduct and
the alleged constitutional deprivation. See Hansen v.
Black, 885 F.2d 642, 646 (9th Cir. 1989); Johnson v.
Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743-44 (9th Cir. 1978). That is,
plaintiff may not sue any official on the theory that the
official is liable for the unconstitutional conduct of his or
her subordinates. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
679 (2009). He must identify the particular person or persons
who violated his rights. He must also plead facts showing how
that particular person was involved in the alleged violation.
ECF No. 9 at 3-4.
the original complaint, the amended complaint does not
adequately link any defendant to plaintiff's federal
claims for relief or demonstrate that plaintiff was
unconstitutionally detained. The amended complaint names
Jones and Growden as defendants solely because they are
supervisors who allegedly enact and execute policy for Lassen
County. ECF No. 12 at 1, 2-3. There are no factual
allegations showing how either one of them was personally
involved in violating plaintiffs rights. Moreover, the
amended complaint once again fails to plead any facts showing
that either defendant knew or should have known that
plaintiff should have been released from custody. It also
fails to plead facts showing circumstances that should have
prompted any defendant to investigate plaintiff's custody
status, or showing that plaintiff was denied access to the
courts for an extended period of time. For these reasons, the
amended complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief
could be granted.
notice of the complaint's deficiencies and an opportunity
to amend, plaintiff is unable to state a cognizable claim for
relief Therefore, this action should be dismissed, without
further leave to amend, for failure to state a claim upon
which relief could be granted. See Lopez v. Smith,
203 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000) (“Under Ninth
Circuit case law, district courts are only required to grant
leave to amend if a complaint can possibly be saved. Courts
are not required to grant leave to amend if a complaint lacks
merit entirely.”); see also Doe v. United
States, 58 F.3d 494, 497 (9th Cir. 1995) (“[A]
district court should grant leave to amend even if no request
to amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the
pleading could not be cured by the allegation of other
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the amended complaint (ECF No. 12)
is dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be ...