United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (DOC.
4) 21-DAY DEADLINE
JENNIFER L. THURSTON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action, Plaintiff alleges that he was subjected to three
incidents of excessive force at the hands of correctional
officers at the California Correctional Institute
(“CCI”) in Tehachapi, California. As discussed
below, the complaint violates Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 18 and 20 because Plaintiff's allegations
against the officers do not appear to be related. Thus, the
complaint is dismissed with leave to file a first amended
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,
malicious, 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2);
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).
Summary of Plaintiff's Complaint
seeks monetary damages for of three incidents: (1) on
September 9/25/2015, Plaintiff alleges he was assaulted by
correctional officers after Officer Duran discovered
Plaintiff masturbating during 5:00 p.m. counts; (2) on
January 8, 2016, around 8:00 p.m. Officer Hernandez came into
Plaintiff cell and kicked Plaintiff five times in the back
while he slept; and (3) on February 25, 2016, Officer Lima
rushed into Plaintiff's cell and removed the papers
Plaintiff had used to cover his door and left; Officer Lima
returned to escort Plaintiff to the sergeant regarding
Plaintiff having “boarded-up, ” but during the
escort, Officer Lima had Plaintiff in a choke hold and kept
shoving Plaintiff's head against the wall while the other
escorting officer hit Plaintiff a few times in the back.
Plaintiff delineates claims for “excessive force”
and “threat to safety” and seeks monetary
Plaintiff has stated two cognizable claims for excessive
force, the Court is unable to discern any relation between
his claims to allow them to proceed in a single action. Thus,
Plaintiff is given the pleading requirements, the standards
for his stated claims, and leave to file a first amended
Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a) & 20(a)(2)
Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a) allows a party asserting a
claim for relief as an original claim, counterclaim,
cross-claim, or third-party claim to join, either as
independent or as alternate claims, numerous claims against
an opposing party. However, Plaintiff may not bring unrelated
claims against unrelated parties in a single action.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a), 20(a)(2); Owens v. Hinsley, 635
F.3d 950, 952 (7th Cir. 2011); George v. Smith, 507
F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). Plaintiff may bring a claim
against multiple defendants so long as (1) the claims arise
out of the same transaction or occurrence, or series of
transactions and occurrences, and (2) there are commons
questions of law or fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2); Coughlin
v. Rogers, 130 F.3d 1348, 1351 (9th Cir. 1997);
Desert Empire Bank v. Insurance Co. of North
America, 623 F.3d 1371, 1375 (9th Cir. 1980). Only if
the defendants are properly joined under Rule 20(a) will the
Court review the additional claims to determine if they may
be joined under Rule 18(a), which permits the joinder of
multiple claims against the same party.
Court must be able to discern a relationship between
Plaintiff's claims or there must be a similarity of
parties. The fact that all of Plaintiff's allegations are
based on the same type of constitutional violation (i.e.
excessive force by different actors on different dates, under
different factual events) does not make claims related for
purposes of Rule 18(a). Plaintiff's allegations against
each of the three correctional officers he named as
Defendants do not appear related. All claims that do not
comply with Rules 18(a) and 20(a)(2) are subject to
dismissal. Plaintiff is cautioned that if he fails to elect
which category of claims to pursue and his amended complaint
sets forth improperly joined claims, the Court will determine
which claims should proceed and which claims will be
dismissed. Visendi v. Bank of America, N.A., 733
F.3d 863, 870-71 (9th Cir. 2013). Whether any claims will be
subject to severance by future order will depend on the
viability of claims pled in the amended complaint.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)
8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil
actions, with limited exceptions, ” none of which
applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema
N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a).
A complaint must 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.
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 ...