United States District Court, E.D. California
SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT
AND GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF NO. 28)
BARBARA A. McAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Screening Requirement and Standard
Edward Thomas (“Plaintiff”), a state inmate in
the custody of the California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation, is proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff initiated this action on
June 27, 2016. On October 24, 2016, the Court dismissed
Plaintiff's first amended complaint with leave to amend.
(ECF No. 12.) Plaintiff's second amended complaint, filed
on March 27, 2017, is currently before the Court for
screening. (ECF No. 28.)
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against
an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion
thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or
malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted, or if it seeks 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)(ii).
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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)
(citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). While a
plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, 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).
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, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss
v. United States Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th
Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted
unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with
liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility
standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949
(quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.
is currently incarcerated at California State Prison,
Corcoran (“Corcoran”), where the events in the
complaint are alleged to have occurred. Plaintiff names sixty
(60) individual defendants, including correctional officers,
correctional counsellors and appeals coordinators. Plaintiff
also names eight (8) doe defendants.
addition to naming numerous defendants, Plaintiff also
asserts numerous claims concerning various events occurring
during his incarceration at Corcoran, including, but not
limited to, claims that (1) he has been forced to cell with
rival gang members, (2) he has been improperly classified as
a Compton Piru Blood with an “R” suffix, (3) his
property has been illegally confiscated, (4) false
disciplinary reports have been prepared, (5) his due process
rights have been violated in connection with various
disciplinary proceedings, (6) his inmate grievances have been
improperly rejected, cancelled or processed; (7) his First
Amendment religious rights have been violated; (8) defendants
have been deliberately indifferent to his mental health needs
related to his single cell status and his confidential mental
health information has been disclosed; (9) he was denied a
transfer based on fabricated information, and (10) he was
falsely charged with battery on an officer, resulting in
second amended complaint fails to comply with Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure 8, 18, and 20. As Plaintiff proceeds in
pro se, he will be given an opportunity to amend his
complaint to cure these deficiencies to the extent he is able
to do so in good faith. To assist Plaintiff, the Court
provides the relevant pleading and legal standards that
appear applicable to his claims.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 Pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 8, 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). 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.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citation omitted). Plaintiff
must set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct. at
1974). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal
conclusions are not. Id.; see also Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556-557.
second amended complaint is neither short nor plain. Rather,
Plaintiff's allegations concern multiple events occurring
at various times during his incarceration at Corcoran, and he
names more than sixty-five different defendants. Many of
Plaintiff's allegations are based on conjecture or are
conclusory in nature. If Plaintiff chooses to amend his
complaint, he must set forth factual allegations sufficient
to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 18 and 20 A party asserting
a claim “may join, as independent or alternative
claims, as many claims as it has against an opposing
party.” 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). “Thus
multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A
against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim
B against Defendant 2.” George, 507 F.3d at
607. However, multiple parties may be joined as defendants in
one action if “any right to relief is asserted against
them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect
to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or
series of transactions or occurrences; and [ ] any question
of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the
action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2). Therefore, claims
against different parties may be joined together in one
complaint only if the claims have similar factual backgrounds
and have common issues of law or fact. Coughlin v.
Rogers, 130 F.3d 1348, 1350-51 (9th Cir. 1997).
may not pursue allegations against multiple parties involving
multiple claims in this action. For example, Plaintiff may
not pursue claims of retaliation involving one set of
defendants while simultaneously pursuing claims for
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs against
another set of defendants. These differing claims do not
arise out of the same transaction or occurrence and do not
share common questions of law or fact.
assertion of a conspiracy also is not sufficient to permit
multiple claims against multiple parties to proceed in this
action. To state a claim for conspiracy under section 1983,
Plaintiff must show the existence of an agreement or a
meeting of the minds to violate his constitutional rights,
and an actual deprivation of those constitutional rights.
Avalos v. Baca, 596 F.3d 583, 592 (9th Cir. 2010);
Franklin v. Fox, 312 F.3d 423, 441 (9th Cir. 2001).
A bare allegation that defendants conspired to violate
Plaintiff's constitutional rights will not suffice to
give rise to a conspiracy claim under ...