United States District Court, C.D. California, Eastern Division
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
Honorable Beverly R. O'Connell United States District
5, 2017, Harold Lee Doty (“Plaintiff”), who is
currently incarcerated at the Pitchess Detention Center in
Castaic, California, filed this pro se civil rights action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Dkt. 1
(“Complaint”); Dkt. 2. The Magistrate Judge granted
Plaintiff's application for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis, and on May 12, 2017, he found that the Complaint
suffered from several deficiencies and dismissed it with
leave to amend. Dkts. 4, 5.
filed a first amended complaint on June 12, 2017. Dkt. 6
(“FAC”). Plaintiff alleges that that in January
2017, he ordered items from Keefe Supply Company and
approximately $70 was deducted from his prisoner trust
account, but he never received what he had
ordered. FAC at 1, 7. Plaintiff alleges that he
filed grievances but the money was never returned to him, and
that he received “verbal threats of disciplinary action
by custody assistan[ts].” Id. at 1, 5.
Plaintiff sues only the Keefe Supply Company in its official
capacity. Id. at 3-6.
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, the Court must
screen the FAC to determine whether it is frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief might be
granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. As discussed below, the FAC must be
dismissed because it fails to state a claim. Because
Plaintiff was previously advised of his claims'
deficiencies and failed to correct them, and because some of
those deficiencies simply cannot be cured, dismissal will be
without leave to amend.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
complaint may be dismissed as a matter of law for failure to
state a claim for two reasons: (1) lack of a cognizable legal
theory or (2) insufficient facts under a cognizable legal
theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901
F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). In determining whether the
complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted, its
allegations of material fact must be taken as true and
construed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. See
Love v. United States, 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir.
1989). Because Plaintiff is appearing pro se, the Court must
construe the allegations of the complaint liberally and
afford him the benefit of any doubt. See Karim-Panahi v.
L.A. Police Dep't, 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir.
1988). But “the liberal pleading standard . . . applies
only to a plaintiff's factual allegations.”
Neitzke 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.
“plaintiff's obligation to provide the
‘grounds' of his ‘entitlement to relief'
requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.
Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in
fact).” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations and alteration omitted);
see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(holding that “a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.' A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Court finds that a complaint should be dismissed for failure
to state a claim, it has discretion to dismiss with or
without leave to amend. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d
1122, 1126-30 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). Leave to amend
should be granted if it appears possible that the defects in
the complaint could be corrected, especially if a plaintiff
is pro se. Id. at 1130-31; see also Cato v.
United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995)
(noting that “[a] pro se litigant must be given leave
to amend his or her complaint, and some notice of its
deficiencies, unless it is absolutely clear that the
deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by
amendment”) (citing Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d
1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987)). But if after careful
consideration it is clear that a complaint cannot be cured by
amendment, the Court may dismiss it without leave to amend.
Id. at 1105-06; see, e.g., Chaset v.
Fleer/Skybox Int'l, 300 F.3d 1083, 1088 (9th Cir.
2002) (holding that “there is no need to prolong the
litigation by permitting further amendment” when
plaintiffs could not cure the “basic flaw” in the
pleading); Lipton v. Pathogenesis Corp., 284 F.3d
1027, 1039 (9th Cir. 2002) (holding that “[b]ecause any
amendment would be futile, there was no need to prolong the
litigation by permitting further amendment.”).
The FAC Fails to State a § 1983 Claim Based on the
alleges that about $70 was deducted from his trust account,
but he never received the services or items that he ordered.
FAC at 1, 7, 9-11. As in the original Complaint, Plaintiff
does not explain which of his constitutional rights were
violated by Defendant's alleged actions. See id.
To the extent Plaintiff is raising a due process claim under
§ 1983, it fails for the reasons discussed below.
Magistrate Judge explained in his May 2017 dismissal order, a
negligent or intentional unauthorized deprivation of property
under color of state law does not violate the Due Process
Clause if state law affords a meaningful postdeprivation
remedy. Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984);
Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 543-44 (1981),
overruled on other grounds by Daniels v. Williams,
474 U.S. 327 (1986); Barnett v. Centoni, 31 F.3d
813, 816 (9th Cir. 1994) (per curiam). The Ninth Circuit has
held that California law provides an adequate postdeprivation
remedy for property deprivations caused by public officials.
Barnett, 31 F.3d at 816-17; see Cal.
Gov't Code §§ 810-895. Whether Plaintiff
succeeds in redressing his alleged loss through the available
state remedies is immaterial; it is the existence of those
alternative remedies that bars him from pursuing a §
1983 procedural due process claim. See Parratt, 451
U.S. at 544 (“Although the state remedies may not
provide the respondent with all the relief which may have
been available if he could have proceeded under § 1983,
that does not mean that the state remedies are not adequate
to satisfy the requirements of due process.”);
accord Dennison v. Ryan, 552 F. App'x 414, 418
(9th Cir. 2013). Plaintiff's due process claim therefore
cannot succeed. See Arellano v. Self, No. 15-02300,
2016 WL 4430923, at *2 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 22, 2016) (dismissing
plaintiff's claim that prison officials deprived him of
due process by charging trust account for certain debts
because California provides adequate postdeprivation remedy);
Magallon v. Ventura Cty. Sheriff's Dept., No.
11-07053, 2011 WL 4481288, at *5 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 27, 2011)
(dismissing plaintiff's claim that jail officials
deprived him of due process by failing to return property
that was confiscated during booking because California law
provides adequate postdeprivation remedy); Bettis v.
Blackstone, No. 08-01561, 2009 WL 2971364, at *2 (E.D.
Cal. Sept. 11, 2009) (finding that plaintiff could not state
cognizable claim based on prison's alleged failure to
deposit money into trust account because California law
provides adequate postdeprivation remedy). Because allowing
further amendment of this claim would be futile, it will be
dismissed without leave to amend.
Any Remaining Claim Fails to Comply with Federal Rule ...