United States District Court, E.D. California
SCREENING ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO FILE
AMENDED COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO RANDOMLY
ASSIGN DISTRICT JUDGE (ECF NO. 1) THIRTY DAY
October 4, 2017, Plaintiff Sam Drake, appearing pro se and in
forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 in the Northern District of California. On
November 7, 2017, the action was transferred to the Eastern
District of California.
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or 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 on
which relief may be granted, ” or that “seek
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
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 (2009) (citing Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
Moreover, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant
personally participated in the deprivation of Plaintiff's
rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th
proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to
have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any
doubt resolved in their favor. Wilhelm v. Rotman,
680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). To
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 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d
962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The “sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully” is not sufficient, and
“facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a
defendant's liability” falls short of satisfying
the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678;
Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.
Plaintiff's Complaint Fails to Comply with the Eastern
District's Standing Order and Does Not
Contain a Short, Plain Statement as Required by Rule 8 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
is incarcerated at the California Substance Abuse Treatment
Facility (“CSATF”) in Corcoran. CSATF is
participating in a pilot program allowing for the initial
electronic filing of prisoner complaints in civil rights
cases involving conditions of confinement claims. Pursuant to
this Court's Standing Order, initial complaints may not
exceed twenty-five (25) pages in length. See
Standing Order, In Re: Procedural Rules For Electronic
Submission Of Prisoner Litigation Filed By Plaintiffs
Incarcerated At Participating Penal Institutions, March 1,
2016, at ¶ 4.
complaint is thirty-seven pages in length, excluding
exhibits, names fourteen defendants, and spans a period of
time since 1995. It appears that Plaintiff attempted to avoid
the Standing Order by filing this action in the Northern
District. Further, Plaintiff's complaint fails to comply
with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which
requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Plaintiff's
complaint is neither short nor plain. The complaint is over
thirty five pages in length, names fourteen defendants from
different correctional institutions, and spans twenty-two
years. Additionally, upon review of Plaintiff's complaint
it is largely composed of conclusory allegations that are not
entitled to a presumption of truth. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
these reasons, the Court finds that Plaintiff's complaint
violates the page limits in the standing order and Rule
8's requirement that the complaint contain a short, plain
statement of the claim. Under Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, leave to amend shall be freely given when
justice so requires. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). The Court shall
grant Plaintiff the opportunity to file an amended complaint
to cure the deficiencies identified herein.
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint Must Comply With Rules 8,
18, and 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil
filing his amended complaint, Plaintiff is advised that a
basic lawsuit is a single claim against a single defendant.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a) allows a plaintiff to
add multiple claims to the lawsuit when they are against the
same defendant. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a)(2)
allows a plaintiff to join multiple defendants to a lawsuit
where the right to relief arises out of the same
“transaction, occurrence, or series of
transactions” and “any question of law or fact
common to all defendants will arise in the action.”
However, unrelated claims that involve different defendants
must be brought in separate lawsuits. 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). This rule is not only intended to avoid confusion
that arises out of bloated lawsuits, but also to ensure that
prisoners pay the required filing fees for their lawsuits and
prevent prisoners from circumventing the three strikes rule
under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. 28 U.S.C. §
other words, all claims in the complaint must be permitted by
either Rule 18 or Rule 20. A plaintiff may state a single
claim against a single defendant and may then add any
additional claims to his action that are against the same
defendant under Rule 18. Fed.R.Civ.P. 18. Plaintiff may also
add any additional claims against other defendants if those
claims arise from the same transaction, occurrence, or series
of transactions as his original claim. Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2).
Review of ...