United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PLAINTIFF TO PROCEED
ON DUE PROCESS CLAIM AGAINST NAFTZGER IN THE ORIGINAL
COMPLAINT, ALL OTHER CLAIMS AND DEFENDANTS BE DISMISSED AND
FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT BE STRICKEN FROM THE RECORD (Docs. 1,
9, 13) ORDER DIRECTING THE CLERK OF THE COURT TO ASSIGN A
DISTRICT JUDGE TO THIS ACTION
JENNIFER L. THURSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
October 19, 2017, the Court issued the first screening order
and found that Plaintiff stated a cognizable due process
claim against Officer J. Naftzger in the Complaint. (Docs. 1,
10.) That order noted that Plaintiff might be able to correct
the deficiencies in his pleading on other claims and gave
Plaintiff the choice to either file a first amended complaint
correcting deficiencies noted on his other claims, or to
advise the Court if he desired to proceed on his due process
claim against C/O Naftzger.
response, Plaintiff filed the First Amended Complaint. (Doc.
13.) However, instead of attempting to cure the deficiencies
noted in the first screening order, Plaintiff identifies C/O
Naftzger as the only defendant and states that he wants the
FAC to supplement his original Complaint to include a claim
against Naftzger for forcing him to work despite knowing that
Plaintiff was injured. (Id., p. 3.) For the reasons
discussed below, Plaintiff's new claim against Naftzger
is not cognizable. Since Plaintiff chose to attempt to add an
uncognizable claim, rather than attempt to correct the
deficiencies previously identified, the Court presumes that
he is unable to cure the deficiencies. Thus, the Court
recommends that he should be permitted to proceed on his due
process claim against Naftzger as stated in the original
complaint, that all other claims and defendants should be
dismissed and the First Amended Complaint should be stricken.
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).
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). To
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).
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.
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 [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.
the Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. § 1983), the complaint
must allege 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
federal rights. Plaintiff's pleading must put each
Defendant on notice of Plaintiff's claims against him or
her. See Austin v. Terhune, 367 F.3d 1167, 1171 (9th
The original complaint (Doc. 1)
alleges that when he was housed at Pleasant Valley State
Prison (“PVSP”), J. Naftzger filed a false
disciplinary chrono against Plaintiff which resulted in
Plaintiff's loss of property, day room activities, use of
the telephone, and credits which caused Plaintiff to suffer
emotional distress, personal injury, and depression.