United States District Court, E.D. California
CHARLES B. JONES, Plaintiff,
SPEIDELL, et al., Defendants.
ORDER FOR PLAINTIFF TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT,
OR NOTIFY COURT OF DESIRE TO PROCEED ONLY ON RETALIAITON
CLAIM AGAINST SPEIDELL, CHAMBERS, AND ANDREWS (DOC. 1)
TWENTY-ONE (21) DAY DEADLINE
K. OBERTO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Charles B. Jones, is a state prisoner proceeding pro
se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in
this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Screening Requirement and Standard
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or an 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
or malicious, ” that 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). “Notwithstanding any filing fee, or
any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall
dismiss the case 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. §
Federal 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.
of Rule 8, at both ends of the spectrum, warrant dismissal. A
violation occurs when a pleading says too little -- the
baseline threshold of factual and legal allegations required
was the central issue in the Iqbal line of cases.
See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129
S.Ct. 1937 (2009). The Rule is also violated, though, when a
pleading says too much. Cafasso, U.S. ex rel. v.
Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1058 (9th
Cir.2011) (“[W]e have never held -- and we know of no
authority supporting the proposition -- that a pleading may
be of unlimited length and opacity. Our cases instruct
otherwise.”) (citing cases); see also McHenry v.
Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1179-80 (9th Cir.1996) (affirming a
dismissal under Rule 8, and recognizing that “[p]rolix,
confusing complaints such as the ones plaintiffs filed in
this case impose unfair burdens on litigants and
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, 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, 556 U.S. 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. As discussed below
under each of Plaintiff's delineated claims, the majority
of Plaintiff's allegations need not be accepted as true
as they are little more than legal conclusions. Id.
“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.
“repeated and knowing violations of Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 8(a)'s ‘short and plain
statement' requirement are strikes as ‘fail[ures]
to state a claim, ' 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), when the
opportunity to correct the pleadings has been afforded and
there has been no modification within a reasonable
time.” Knapp v. Hogan, 738 F.3d 1106, 1108-09
(9th Cir. 2013). If he chooses to file a second amended
complaint, Plaintiff should endeavor to make it as concise as
possible in no more than twenty-five (25) double-spaced
pages. He should merely state which of his
constitutional rights he feels were violated by each
Defendant and its factual basis. If Plaintiff files a second
amended complaint, his factual allegations will be screened
under the legal standards and authorities stated in this
Linkage and Causation
1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of
Plaintiff's constitutional or other federal rights by
persons acting under color of state law. Nurre v.
Whitehead, 580 F.3d 1087, 1092 (9th Cir 2009); Long
v. County of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir.
2006); Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th
Cir. 2002). “Section 1983 is not itself a source of
substantive rights, but merely provides a method for
vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.”
Crowley v. Nevada ex rel. Nevada Sec'y of State,
678 F.3d 730, 734 (9th Cir. 2012) (citing Graham v.
Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94, 109 S.Ct. 1865 (1989))
(internal quotation marks omitted). To state a claim,
Plaintiff must allege facts demonstrating the existence of a
link, or causal connection, between each defendant's
actions or omissions and a violation of his federal rights.
Lemire v. California Dep't of Corr. and Rehab.,
726 F.3d 1062, 1074-75 (9th Cir. 2013); Starr v.
Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1205-08 (9th Cir. 2011).
identifiers, without surname specificity, do not suffice to
place a defendant on notice of a plaintiff's claims so as
to prepare a defense. McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172
(9th Cir. 1996). Further, although Plaintiff names Artlitz
and Stewart as defendants, he fails to link either of them to
any of his factual allegations. Plaintiff's allegations
must demonstrate that each individual defendant personally
participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v.
Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This
requires alleging facts sufficient to state a plausible claim
for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v.
U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).
The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting
this plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678;
Moss, 572 F.3d at 969. Prisoners proceeding pro se
in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings
liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their
favor. Hebbe, 627 F.3d at 342.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a) & 20(a)(2)
Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a) allows a party asserting a
claim to relief as an original claim, counterclaim,
cross-claim, or third-party claim to join, either as
independent or as alternate claims, as many claims as the
party has 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 claim(s) 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. Here, any such relationship is unclear because of
Plaintiff's failure to properly link individual named
defendants to Claims #5 and #6 and his prolific use of legal
citations and conclusions instead of factual allegations.
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) 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 he 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 if
Plaintiff decides to file a second amended complaint.
is currently incarcerated at California State Prison in
Corcoran, California (“CSP-Cor), but contends that his
rights were violated while he was housed at Kern Valley State
Prison (“KVSP”). Plaintiff names the following
KVSP staff as Defendants: Lieutenants R. Speidell and M.
Stewart; Retired Warden M.D. Biter; Associate Warden C.
Pfeiffer; Administrative Officers P. Vera and S. Rimbach;
Captain R. Corely; Chief Disciplinary Officer T.S. Artlitz;
Correctional Counselor II S. Tallerico; Correctional Officer
M. Chambers; and outside contractor B. Andrews.
alleges that Andrews, Artlitz, Biter, Chambers, Corley,
Pfeiffer, Rimbach, Speidell, Stewart, and Tallerico
retaliated against him in violation of the First Amendment
when Plaintiff filed an inmate appeal, and was charged with a
rules violation report (“RVR”) for lying with
which these defendants were involved in processing. Plaintiff
alleges that Andrews, Artlitz, Chambers, Corley, Rimbach,
Speidell, Stewart, Tallerico, and Vera conspired against him
in the processing of that RVR. Finally, Plaintiff alleges
that Andrews, Artlitz, Biter, Chambers, Corely, Pfeiffer,
Rimbach, Stewart, Speidell, Tallerico, and Vera violated his
rights by subjecting him to unconstitutional conditions of
confinement under the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff's
allegations only state a cognizable retaliation claim against
Defendant Lt. Speidell upon which he may proceed. For the
reasons discussed in detail below, Plaintiff fails to state
any other cognizable ...