United States District Court, E.D. California
ROBERT C. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
COALINGA STATE HOSPITAL, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (DOC.
JENNIFER L. THURSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
alleges that his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment were
violated following an incident when the psychiatric
technicians assigned to unit nine left their stations to play
pinball in the back room. Though Plaintiff has not stated any
cognizable claims, he may be able to correct the deficiencies
in his pleading. Thus, the Complaint is dismissed with leave
any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been
paid, the court shall dismiss [a case brought under 42 U.S.C.
§1983] at any time if the court determines that . . .
the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). A complaint will be dismissed if it lacks
a cognizable legal theory or fails to allege sufficient facts
under a cognizable legal theory. See Balistreri v.
Pacifica Police Department, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)
screening, the court applies the requirements found in
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). “Rule 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 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
(and detainees) are still construed liberally and are
afforded the benefit of any doubt. Blaisdell v.
Frappiea, 729 F.3d 1237, 1241 (9th Cir. 2013); 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).
Plaintiff must identify specific facts supporting the
existence of substantively plausible claims for relief.
Johnson v. City of Shelby, __ U.S. __,, 135 S.Ct.
346, 347 (2014) (per curiam) (citation omitted).
Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. § 1983) 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 he does an affirmative act, participates in
another's affirmative acts or omits to perform an act
which he 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) he feels are
responsible for each violation of his constitutional rights
and their factual basis as his Complaint must put each
Defendant on notice of Plaintiff's claims. See Austin
v. Terhune, 367 F.3d 1167, 1171 (9th Cir. 2004).
Eleventh Amendment Immunity
names the Coalinga State Hospital as a defendant. Plaintiff
may not sustain an action against a state hospital. The
Eleventh Amendment prohibits federal courts from hearing
suits brought against an un-consenting state. Brooks v.
Sulphur Springs Valley Elec. Co., 951 F.2d 1050, 1053
(9th Cir. 1991); see also Seminole Tribe of Fla. v.
Florida, 116 S.Ct. 1114, 1122 (1996); Puerto Rico
Aqueduct Sewer Auth. v. Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., 506
U.S. 139, 144 (1993); Austin v. State Indus. Ins.
Sys., 939 F.2d 676, 677 (9th Cir. 1991). The Eleventh
Amendment bars suits against state agencies as well as those
where the state itself is named as a defendant. See
Natural Resources Defense Council v. California Dep't of
Tranp., 96 F.3d 420, 421 (9th Cir. 1996); Brooks v.
Sulphur Springs Valley Elec. Co., 951 F.2d 1050, 1053
(9th Cir. 1991); Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045
(9th Cir. 1989) (concluding that Nevada Department of Prisons
was a state agency entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity);
Mitchell v. Los Angeles Community College Dist., 861
F.2d 198, 201 (9th Cir. 1989). “Though its language
might suggest otherwise, the Eleventh Amendment has long been
construed to extend to suits brought against a state by its
own citizens, as well as by citizens of other states.”
Brooks, 951 F.2d at 1053 (citations omitted).
“The Eleventh Amendment's jurisdictional bar covers
suits naming state agencies and departments as defendants,
and applies whether the relief is legal or equitable in
nature.” Id. (citation omitted). Because the
Coalinga State Hospital is a part of the California
Department of Corrections, which is a state agency, it is
entitled to dismissal based on Eleventh Amendment.