United States District Court, E.D. California
KENDALL J. NEWMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Brandon Couch Jonson, who is proceeding without counsel in
this action, has requested leave to proceed in forma
pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915. (ECF No. 2.) Plaintiff's application
in support of his request to proceed in forma
pauperis makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. §
1915. Accordingly, the court grants plaintiff's request
to proceed in forma pauperis.
determination that a plaintiff may proceed in forma
pauperis does not complete the required inquiry.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the court is directed to
dismiss the case at any time if it determines that the
allegation of poverty is untrue, or if the action is
frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against an
is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221,
1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss a
claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327.
avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim, a complaint
must contain more than “naked assertions, ”
“labels and conclusions, ” or “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57
(2007). In other words, “[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). Furthermore, a claim upon which the
court can grant relief has facial plausibility.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “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.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. When considering whether a
complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted,
the court must accept the well-pled factual allegations as
true, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007),
and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff, see Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236
pleadings are liberally construed. See Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Balistreri v.
Pacifica Police Dep't., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.
1988). Unless it is clear that no amendment can cure the
defects of a complaint, a pro se plaintiff proceeding in
forma pauperis is ordinarily entitled to notice and an
opportunity to amend before dismissal. See Noll v.
Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987);
Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1230 (9th Cir.
liberally, it appears that plaintiff's complaint attempts
to bring a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for illegal
seizure on November 7, 2016, and on December 28, 2016, in
violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. (See ECF
No. 1.) However, plaintiff has not explained the details that
precipitated his arrests. He vaguely describes that, even
though he did not break any laws, he was arrested at gun
point, without elaborating further. (Id.) Moreover,
plaintiff claims that defendants have engaged in a conspiracy
to violate his constitutional rights, without providing any
factual basis to support these conclusory allegations of
toward the end of the complaint, plaintiff requests
“the Court to issue [a] writ of habeas corpus directed
to Scott Jones, Sacramento County Sheriff.”
(Id. at 9.) Procedurally, plaintiff must seek a writ
of habeas corpus in an independent action. The court cannot
consider that request in the instant civil action.
it appears that plaintiff has improperly joined Scott Jones
as a defendant in this action, in any event. Pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a), individuals may be
joined in one action as defendants if any right to relief
asserted against them arises out of the same transaction,
occurrence, or series of transactions and occurrences, and
any question of law or fact common to all defendants will
arise in the action. See also George v. Smith, 507
F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir.2007) (“Unrelated claims against
unrelated defendants belong in different suits”). If
unrelated claims are improperly joined, the court may dismiss
them without prejudice. Fed.R.Civ.P. 21; Michaels
Building Co. v. Ameritrust Co., 848 F.2d 674, 682 (6th
Cir.1988) (affirming dismissing under Rule 21 of certain
defendants where claims against those defendants did not
arise out of the same transaction or occurrences, as required
by Rule 20(a)).
it is unclear what factual basis supports including Scott
Jones in an action for illegal arrest, where he was not
present. Aside from the conclusory and unsupported
allegations of conspiracy, it appears that plaintiff's
complaints against Scott Jones-which themselves are vague and
conclusory-deal with the terms and conditions of
plaintiff's incarceration (see ECF No. 1), an
unrelated matter that should be brought in a separate action.
these reasons, the complaint is subject to dismissal.
in light of plaintiff's pro se status, and
because it is at least conceivable that plaintiff could
allege additional facts to potentially state a 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 claim, the court finds it appropriate to grant
plaintiff an opportunity to amend the complaint.
plaintiff elects to file an amended complaint, it shall be
captioned “First Amended Complaint, ” shall be
typed or written in legible handwriting, shall address the
deficiencies outlined in this order, and shall be filed
within 28 days of this order.
is informed that the court cannot refer to a prior complaint
or other filing in order to make plaintiffs first amended
complaint complete. Local Rule 220 requires that an amended
complaint be complete in itself without reference to any
prior pleading. As a general rule, an amended complaint
supersedes the original complaint, and once the ...