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Goolsby v. County of San Diego

United States District Court, S.D. California

May 2, 2018

THOMAS GOOLSBY, CDCR #F-19778, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO, et al. Defendants.

          ORDER DIRECTING U.S. MARSHAL TO EFFECT SERVICE OF SUMMONS AND THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(D) AND FED.R.CIV.P. 4(C)(3)

          Hon. William Q. Hayes, United States District Court Judge.

         I. Procedural History

         On March 21, 2017, Thomas Goolsby (“Plaintiff”), a state inmate currently housed at Calipatria State Prison, filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on March 31, 2017. (Doc. No. 1.) Plaintiff also requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) (Doc. No. 2). Because Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed IFP complied with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2), the Court granted him leave to proceed without full prepayment of the civil filing fees required by 28 U.S.C. §1914(a) and dismissed some of the claims in his Complaint for failing to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(b). (Doc. No. 4.) The Court also dismissed claims in Plaintiff's subsequent First and Second Amended Complaints but allowed Plaintiff leave to file an amended pleading to correct the deficiencies of pleading identified in the Court's Order. (Doc. Nos. 11, 14.) On April 23, 2018, Plaintiff filed his Third Amended Complaint (“TAC”). (Doc. No. 15.)

         II. Screening Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b)

         A. Screening Standards

         As the Court informed Plaintiff in its previous Orders, because Plaintiff is a prisoner and is proceeding IFP, his TAC requires a pre-answer screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(b). Under these statutes, the Court must sua sponte dismiss a prisoner's IFP complaint, or any portion of it, which is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks damages from defendants who are immune. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)); Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)). “The purpose of [screening] is ‘to ensure that the targets of frivolous or malicious suits need not bear the expense of responding.'” Nordstrom v. Ryan, 762 F.3d 903, 920 n.1 (9th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted).

         “The standard for determining whether a plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standard for failure to state a claim.” Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012); see also Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (noting that screening pursuant to § 1915A “incorporates the familiar standard applied in the context of failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)”). Rule 12(b)(6) requires a complaint “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted); Wilhelm, 680 F.3d at 1121.

         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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] ... a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. The “mere possibility of misconduct” or “unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusation[s]” fall short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id.; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).

         B.42 U.S.C. § 1983

         Title 42 U.S.C. § 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. Wyatt v. Cole, 504 U.S. 158, 161 (1992). 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 color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Long v. Cty. of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006).

         As currently pleaded, the Court finds Plaintiff's TAC contains “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, ” to state claims for relief that are “plausible on [their] face, ” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, and therefore, sufficient to survive the “low threshold” for proceeding past the sua sponte screening required by 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b).[1] See Wilhelm, 680 F.3d at 1123.

         Therefore, the Court will order the U.S. Marshal to effect service upon Defendants on Plaintiff's behalf. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d) (“The officers of the court shall issue and serve all process, and perform all duties in [IFP] cases.”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(c)(3) (“[T]he court may order that service be made by a United States marshal or deputy marshal ... if the plaintiff is authorized to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915.”).

         III. ...


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