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Smith v. Oreol

United States District Court, C.D. California

August 30, 2017

HARRY OREOL, Defendants.


          HONORABLE KENLY KIYA KATO United States Magistrate Judge


         Plaintiff Jack Robert Smith (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, has filed a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) against Defendant Harry Oreol (“Defendant”) in his individual capacity for violations of Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”). For the reasons discussed below, the Court dismisses the FAC with leave to amend.


         On July 27, 2017, Plaintiff constructively filed[1] a civil rights complaint alleging defendant Patton State Hospital violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights to substantive due process and to be free from “cruel and unusual punishment [and] torture.” ECF Docket No. (“Dkt.”) 1 at 4. Plaintiff alleged he was being hospitalized at Patton State Hospital “for no reason, ” that he was “not in need of treatment, ” did “not take medication, ” and is “not mentally ill & not dangerous.” Id. at 6. He further claimed his confinement was “unnecessary, unjustifiable, oppressive, dangerous & cruel.” Id.

         On August 11, 2017, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint with leave to amend for failure to state a claim. Dkt. 6.

         On August 17, 2017, Plaintiff constructively filed the instant FAC against defendant Harry Oreol, the Executive Director of Patton State Hospital, claiming that “[a]s a result of Harry Oreols' negligence, [Plaintiff] is being ‘robbed of [his] Constitutional rights.'” Dkt. 9. In the FAC, Plaintiff alleges the “conditions of [his] confinement are ‘unjustifiable, oppressive, dangerous & cruel.'” Id. at 7. Plaintiff further claims he is “hospitalized although [he] [is] ‘not mentally ill, not dangerous & receiving no treatment.'” Id. Plaintiff alleges his “‘health & safety is in danger' because [he] [is] ‘forced to live with abusive staff & dangerous severely mentally ill patients, that are heavily medicated, unsanitary, mean, disrespectful, aggravating & have committed murders & other horrendous violent crimes.'” Id. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that on September 10, 2014, he was “viciously attacked by a patient for no reason.” Id. Plaintiff states he is “‘living in fear, deprived of [his] life & liberty, suffering endless amounts of frustration, stress & uncertainty.'” Id.

         Accordingly, Plaintiff seeks “$250, 000, 000 in monetary and punitive damages.” Id. at 5.


         As Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must screen the FAC and is required to dismiss the case at any time if it concludes the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998).

         In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim for screening purposes, the Court applies the same pleading standard from Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rule 8”) as it would when evaluating a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012). Under Rule 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.P. 8(a)(2).

         A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim “where there is no cognizable legal theory or an absence of sufficient facts alleged to support a cognizable legal theory.” Zamani v. Carnes, 491 F.3d 990, 996 (9th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). In considering whether a complaint states a claim, a court must accept as true all of the material factual allegations in it. Hamilton v. Brown, 630 F.3d 889, 892-93 (9th Cir. 2011). However, the court need not accept as true “allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences.” In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). Although a complaint need not include detailed factual allegations, it “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Cook v. Brewer, 637 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)). A claim is facially plausible when it “allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Cook, 637 F.3d at 1004 (citation omitted).

         “A document filed pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Woods v. Carey, 525 F.3d 886, 889-90 (9th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). “[W]e have an obligation where the p[laintiff] is pro se, particularly in civil rights cases, to construe the pleadings liberally and to afford the p[laintiff] the benefit of any doubt.” Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 1212 (9th Cir. 2012) (citation omitted).

         If the court finds the complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim, the court has discretion to dismiss with or without leave to amend. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-30 (9th Cir. 2000). Leave to amend should be granted if it appears possible the defects in the complaint could be corrected, especially if the plaintiff is pro se. Id. at 1130-31; see also Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995). However, if, after careful consideration, it is clear a complaint cannot be cured by ...

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