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Lucas v. Brown

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 9, 2017

DWAYNE LUCAS, Plaintiff,
v.
KAREN BROWN, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (ECF NO. 6)

         Plaintiff Dwayne Lucas is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's complaint, filed October 31, 2016. (ECF No. 6.)

         I. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

         The 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 on which relief may be granted, ” or that “seek[] monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed 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) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Moreover, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of Plaintiff's rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002).

         Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor. Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The “sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully” is not sufficient, and “facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability” falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff brings this action against Karen Brown, Chief Executive Officer at Kern Valley State Prison and J. Lewis, Deputy Director of Policy and Risk Management Services, Inmate Correspondence and Appeals Branch alleging that on May 16, 2016 he received notice that his personal information was potentially breached when an unencrypted laptop was stolen from a staff member's vehicle. Plaintiff is seeking monetary damages of $1, 000.00.

         A. Jurisdiction

         Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and their power to adjudicate is limited to that granted by Congress. U.S v. Sumner, 226 F.3d 1005, 1009 (9th Cir. 2000). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, federal courts have original over “all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. “A case ‘arises under' federal law either where federal law creates the cause of action or where the vindication of a right under state law necessarily turns on some construction of federal law.” Republican Party of Guam v. Gutierrez, 277 F.3d 1086, 1088 (9th Cir. 2002) (internal punctuation omitted) (quoting Franchise Tax Bd. v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1983) (citations omitted)). “[T]he presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is governed by the ‘well-pleaded complaint rule, ' which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint.” Republican Party of Guam, 277 F.3d at 1089 (citations omitted). For this action to arise under federal law, Plaintiff must establish that “federal law creates the cause of action” or his “asserted right to relief depends on the resolution of a substantial question of federal law.” K2 America Corp. v. Roland Oil & Gas, LLC, 653 F.3d 1024, 1029 (9th Cir. 2011). Plaintiff has identified no federal right that was violated by the potential breach of his personal information to establish federal jurisdiction.

         B. Standing

         Additionally, for each form of relief sought in federal court, Plaintiff must establish standing. Mayfield v. United States, 599 F.3d 964, 969 (9th Cir. 2010), cert.denied, 131 S.Ct. 503 (2010). This requires Plaintiff to “show that he is under threat of suffering ‘injury in fact' that is concrete and particularized; the threat must be actual and imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; it must be fairly traceable to challenged conduct of the defendant; and it must be likely that a favorable judicial decision will prevent or redress the injury.” Summers v. Earth Island Institute, 555 U.S. 488, 493 (2009) (citation omitted); Mayfield, 599 F.3d at 969 (citation omitted).

         “An injury sufficient to satisfy Article III must be concrete and particularized and actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.” Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, 134 S.Ct. 2334, 2341 (2014) (internal punctuation and citation omitted). “An allegation of future injury may suffice if the threatened injury is ‘certainly impending, ' or there is a ‘substantial risk' that the harm will occur.” Susan B. Anthony List, 134 S.Ct. at 2341(quoting Clapper v. Amnesty Int'l USA, 133 S.Ct. 1138, 1147, 1150, n.5 (2013)). Plaintiff has not shown that there is a substantial risk that harm will occur from the data breach to establish standing in this action.

         C. Section 1983

         Further, Section 1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of a plaintiff's constitutional or other federal rights by persons acting under color of state law. Nurre v. Whitehead, 580 F.3d 1087, 1092 (9th Cir 2009); Long v. County of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006); Jones, 297 F.3d at 934. There is no respondeat superior liability under section 1983, ...


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