United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER SCREENING THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT
MARIA-ELENA JAMES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
October 16, 2017, Plaintiff Scott Daniels filed a Complaint
and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. Compl., Dkt.
No. 1; Appl., Dkt. No. 3. The Court granted Plaintiff's
Application and screened the Complaint, dismissing it with
leave to amend. First Screening Order, Dkt. No. 5. The Court
screened the First Amended Complaint (FAC), and ordered
issuance of summons and service upon Defendant City and
County of San Francisco. See FAC, Dkt. No. 6; Second
Screening Order, Dkt. No. 7. Without leave of Court,
Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint (SAC, Dkt. No. 9),
which the Court struck (Minutes, Dkt. No. 17). Defendant
answered the FAC. Dkt. No. 12.
Initial Case Management Conference, the Court granted
Plaintiff leave to file a third amended complaint, which
Plaintiff filed. See Minutes; Case Sched. Order,
Dkt. No. 22; Third Am. Compl. (TAC), Dkt. No. 24. The Court
now screens the TAC pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
SPONTE SCREENING UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)
the Court has granted Plaintiff's Application to Proceed
In Forma Pauperis, it must also review the TAC to determine
whether the action may be allowed to proceed. The Court must
dismiss the TAC if it is frivolous, fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B). To make this determination, courts
assess whether there is a factual and legal basis for the
asserted wrong, “however inartfully pleaded.”
Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir.
1984) (quotation omitted). Pro se pleadings are liberally
construed. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (per curiam). Moreover, the Ninth Circuit has
“repeatedly held that a district court should grant
leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was
made, unless it determines that the pleading could not
possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts.”
Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000).
Unless it is clear that no amendment can cure the defects of
a complaint, a pro se plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis
is entitled to notice and an opportunity to amend before
dismissal. Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th
Rule of Civil Procedure 8 requires Plaintiff to provide a
“short and plain statement” of the claims, but
“more than an unadorned, the
defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation” to help the
Court logically connect how the defendant caused
Plaintiff's injury and show what claims for relief exist.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(quotation omitted). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to
provide the ‘grounds' for . . . ‘entitlement
to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions . .
. .” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007). For instance, in Ashcroft, the Supreme
Court rejected conclusory assertions that “petitioners
‘knew of, condoned, and willfully and maliciously
agreed to subject [him]' to harsh conditions of
confinement ‘as a matter of policy, solely on the
account of [his] religion, race, and/or national origin and
for no legitimate penological interest.'” 556 U.S.
at 680. The Court reasoned that such allegations were akin to
the “formulaic recitation of the elements”
dismissed in Twombly, and therefore, insufficient to
meet Rule 8(a). Id. In doing so, the Court
explained, “[a] claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 678.
Allegations in the Complaint
only amendment Plaintiff has made in the TAC pertains to the
Battery claim. See TAC ¶ 45 (abandoning
allegation that Defendants slammed Plaintiff to the ground,
punched, and kicked him; retaining allegation that Defendants
placed Plaintiff in debilitating control holds and placed
unnecessary weight on his back and head; adding allegation
that Defendants forced Plaintiff to sit on filthy ground).
The Court's present screening analysis accordingly does
not change materially from the analysis it applied in
screening the FAC.
asserts a number of claims arising from his arrest by SFPD
Officers on or about October 15, 2015. He alleges Does 1 and
2 are SFPD Officers who acted under color of authority and/or
under state law, and committed these acts pursuant to custom
or policies adopted by the City and County of San Francisco.
TAC ¶¶ 7-9, 11-12, 14, 23. Plaintiff alleges Doe 1
instructed him to stop on the street, but when Plaintiff
began to leave after confirming he was not being detained,
Doe 1 again instructed him to stop and detained him.
Id. ¶¶ 15-16. Doe 2 was present; Does 1
and 2 repeatedly verbally admonished Plaintiff; taunted him;
used slurs against him; and indicated Plaintiff did not need
an attorney, should answer questions, and should submit to
detention and questioning. Id. ¶ 18. Plaintiff
was arrested for asserting his rights; he was handcuffed in
an unlawfully tight fashion and left to sit in a hot patrol
car for a significant period of time; he also was placed in
debilitating control holds and unnecessary weight was placed
on his back and head. Id. ¶¶ 19-20, 45.
asserts three claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983: (1)
unlawful search and seizure in violation of his rights under
the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States
Constitution; (2) excessive force in violation of his rights
under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments; and (3)
violations of his right to petition the government for a
redress of grievances under the First Amendment. Plaintiff
also asserts a number of claims under California state law:
violation of the Bane Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1;
assault; battery; and negligence. Plaintiff names the City
and County of San Francisco and Does 1 and 2 as defendants.
The caption of the TAC lists an eighth claim for negligent
infliction of emotional distress, but Plaintiff does not
actually assert such a claim in the TAC.
Analysis and Screening