United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (DOC.
1) 21-DAY DEADLINE
JENNIFER L. THURSTON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action, Plaintiff itemizes numerous interactions with medical
and custody staff over two years. Because the incidents
raised in the complaint appear to be unrelated, the Complaint
violates Rules 18 and 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and is DISMISSED with leave to
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). If an action is
dismissed on one of these three bases, a strike is imposed
per 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). An inmate who has had three or
more prior actions or appeals dismissed as frivolous,
malicious, or for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted, and has not alleged imminent danger of
serious physical injury does not qualify to proceed in
forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g);
Richey v. Dahne, 807 F.3d 1201, 1208 (9th Cir.
complains of 20 apparently unrelated events that occurred
over two years -- from March 20, 2014 to March 16, 2016.
Plaintiff names 28 individual defendants and Does 1-50 and
seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief. Plaintiff
contends that her civil rights have been violated and
identifies six claims: (1) cruel and unusual punishment; (2)
deliberate indifference to her medical needs; (3) unsafe
prison conditions; (4) retaliation; (5) medical negligence;
and (6) professional negligence. The Court declines to expend
its limited resources evaluating all of Plaintiff's
allegations and asserted claims since it is clear that
pursuing them all in one action violates Rules 18 and 20.
Thus, Plaintiff is given the pleading requirements, the legal
standards for the claims Plaintiff lists, and leave to file a
first 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 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
prisoners 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.
chooses to file a first amended complaint, Plaintiff should
make it as concise as possible. She should simply state which
of her constitutional rights she feels were violated by each
Defendant and its factual basis. Where the allegations
against two or more Defendants are factually intertwined,
Plaintiff need not repeat the factual allegations separately
against each Defendant. Rather, Plaintiff should present her
factual allegations and identify the Defendants she feels are
thereby implicated. Plaintiff need not cite legal authority
for her claims in a first amended complaint as her factual
allegations are accepted as true. The amended complaint
should be clearly legible (see Local Rule 130(b)),
and double-spaced pursuant to Local Rule 130(c).
Court is not a repository for the parties' evidence.
Originals, or copies of evidence (i.e., prison or medical
records, witness affidavits, etc.) need not be submitted
until the course of litigation brings the evidence into
question (for example, on a motion for summary judgment, at
trial, or when requested by the Court). If Plaintiff attaches
exhibits to his amended complaint, each exhibit must be
specifically referenced. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 10(c). For
example, Plaintiff must state “see Exhibit A” or
something similar in order to direct the Court to the
specific exhibit Plaintiff is referencing. Further, if the
exhibit consists of more than one page, Plaintiff must
reference the specific page of the exhibit (i.e. “See
Exhibit A, page 3”).
point, the submission of evidence is premature as Plaintiff
is only required to state a prima facie claim for relief.
Plaintiff is reminded that, for screening purposes, the Court
must assume that Plaintiff's factual allegations are
true. It is unnecessary for a plaintiff to submit exhibits in
support of the allegations in a complaint. Thus, if Plaintiff
chooses to file a first amended complaint, she would do well
to simply state the facts upon which she alleges a Defendant
has violated her constitutional rights and refrain from
1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code requires that
there be an actual connection or link between the actions of
the defendants and the deprivation alleged to have been
suffered by Plaintiff. See Monell v. Department of Social
Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978); Rizzo v. Goode,
423 U.S. 362 (1976). The Ninth Circuit has held that
“[a] person ‘subjects' another to the
deprivation of a constitutional right, within the meaning of
section 1983, if she does an affirmative act, participates in
another's affirmative acts or omits to perform an act
which she is legally required to do that causes the
deprivation of which complaint is made.” Johnson v.
Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978). In order to
state a claim for relief under section 1983, Plaintiff must
link each named defendant with some affirmative act or
omission that demonstrates a violation of Plaintiff's
must clearly identify which Defendant(s) she feels are
responsible for each violation of her constitutional rights
and their factual basis as her Complaint must put each
Defendant on notice of Plaintiff's claims against him or
her. See Austin v. Terhune, 367 F.3d 1167, 1171 (9th
Federal 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.
retaliation by different actors on different dates, under
different factual events, or medical claims against different
actors on different dates) does not necessarily make claims
related for purposes of Rule 18(a). All claims that do not
comply with Rules 18(a) and 20(a)(2) are subject to
dismissal. Plaintiff is cautioned that if she 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.