United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO DISMISS WITH
PREJUDICE FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (Doc. 20) TWENTY-ONE
(21) DAY DEADLINE CLERK OF THE COURT TO ASSIGN A DISTRICT
K. OBERTO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Reginald Smith, is a civil detainee, proceeding pro
se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed the
Complaint in this action on January 29, 2016. (Doc. 1.) It
was screened and dismissed with leave to amend. (Doc. 8.)
September 4, 2014, Plaintiff filed the First Amended
Complaint, which was screened and dismissed with leave to
amend. (Docs. 11, 17.) Plaintiff's Second Amended
Complaint is before the Court for screening. (Doc. 20.)
Although Plaintiff has twice been given the required pleading
and legal standards, he fails to state a cognizable claim.
The Court recommends that this action be dismissed with
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,
malicious, 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);
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). If an action is
dismissed on one of these three bases, a strike is imposed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). An inmate who has had
three or more prior actions or appeals dismissed as
frivolous, malicious, or for failure to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, and has not alleged imminent
danger of serious physical injury, does not qualify to
proceed in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(g); Richey v. Dahne, 807 F.3d 1201, 1208
(9th Cir. 2015).
1983 “provides a cause of action for the deprivation of
any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws of the United States.” Wilder
v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990)
(quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a
source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method
for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere.
Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two
essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States was violated and
(2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person
acting under the color of state law. See West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda
Cnty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987). 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. 1990).
Summary of the Second Amended Complaint
complains of incidents that occurred while he was civilly
detained at Coalinga State Hospital (“CSH”)
pursuant to California's Sexually Violent Predator Act in
Welfare & Institution Code sections 6600 et seq.
(“SVPA”). A person so detained is a Sexually
Violent Predator (“SVP”) which is statutorily
defined as an individual with “a diagnosed mental
disorder that makes the person a danger to the health and
safety of others in that it is likely that he or she will
engage in sexually violent criminal behavior.” Welf.
& Inst. Code § 6600(a). The SVPA authorizes the
involuntary civil commitment of a person who has completed a
prison term, but has been given a “full
evaluation” and found to be a sexually violent
predator. Reilly v. Superior Court, 57 Cal.4th 641,
646 (2013); People v. McKee, 47 Cal.4th 1172, 1185
complains that Defendants State Hospital Director Pam Ahlin,
retired CSH Executive Director Audrey King, CSH Executive
Director Brandon Price, CSH Medical Director Robert Witherow,
M.D., and CSH Program Director Daniel Meeks failed to protect
him from another detainee, Stallworth. Plaintiff seeks
monetary damages as well as injunctive and declarative relief
for violation of his rights to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment (Doc. 20, pp. 3-4) and under the Equal Protection
Clause (id., p. 5).
Plaintiff alleges that “[o]n April 15, 2010, Plaintiff
was involved in a combative situation with another
patient.” (Doc. 20, p. 3.) Although CSH staff broke up
the altercation, they failed to follow-up to ensure no
further incidents of this nature occurred. On May 21, 2013,
another patient, Stallworth, advised Unit 8's R.N. that
he was tired of Plaintiff (who lived in Stallworth's dorm
room) and that he was not afraid of killing Plaintiff. As a
result, Stallworth was removed from the unit and placed in a
different program and unit.
August of 2015, over Plaintiff's objections, Stallworth
was returned to Unit 8. On August 5, 2015 and August 25,
2015, staff noted Plaintiff's concern for his safety in
light of Stallworth's return to the unit. Four months
later, on December 26, 2015, Plaintiff and another patient
were watching television when Stallworth entered and attacked
Plaintiff, rendering him unconscious. Plaintiff was
subsequently taken to Coalinga Regional Community Hospital
where his injuries were treated.
also alleges that from March 12, 2015, through December 26,
2015, he was involved in eleven altercations “which may
have easily been prevented had Ahlin, Price,, concluded that
it would be best for all parties involved that (sic) a
physical separation of involved parties would alleviate
direct conflicts that would more likely than not result acts
of violence.” (Doc. 20, pp. 3-4.)
discussed in greater detail below, despite twice having been
provided the pleading and legal standards for the claims he
attempts to state, Plaintiff fails to sufficiently link any
of the defendants to his factual allegations and to state
cognizable claims. It, therefore, appears that Plaintiff is
unable to state a cognizable claim and so as ...