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Acord v. Champions Recovery Alternatives

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 7, 2018

RICHARD ACORD, Plaintiff,
v.
CHAMPIONS RECOVERY ALTERNATIVES, et al. Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS THAT THIS CASE BE DISMISSED, WITH PREJUDICE, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM, FAILURE TO PROSECUTE, AND FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH COURT ORDER (ECF NO. 1) OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE WITHIN TWENTY-ONE (21) DAYS

         On August 25, 2017, Richard Acord (“Plaintiff”), appearing pro se and in forma pauperis, commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by the filing of a Complaint. (ECF No. 1). The Complaint alleges that Defendants Champions Recovery Alternatives, Maria Stevens, Randy Hano, and Coven Hardcastle breached their contractual, legal, and moral obligation to maintain Plaintiff's confidentiality.

         On January 30, 2018, the Court screened the Complaint and determined that it fails to state any cognizable claims. (ECF No. 7). Specifically, the Court concluded that Plaintiff failed to allege that Defendants are state actors or acted under the direction of or in cooperation with any state actor. Id.

         The screening order directed Plaintiff to file an amended complaint or notify the Court that he wishes to stand on the Complaint, subject to the issuance of findings and recommendations to the assigned district judge, within thirty days of service of the order. Id. The Court also warned Plaintiff that failure to file an amended complaint or to notify the court that he wishes to stand on the Complaint could result in the dismissal of this case. Id.

         The thirty-day period has expired, and Plaintiff has not filed an amended complaint or notified the Court that he wishes to stand on the Complaint. Accordingly, the Court recommends that this action be dismissed, with prejudice, for failure to state a claim, failure to prosecute, and failure to comply with a court order. Plaintiff may file objections within twenty-one days from the date of service of these findings and recommendations.

         I. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court must conduct a review of an in forma pauperis complaint to determine whether it “state[s] a claim on which relief may be granted, ” is “frivolous or malicious, ” or “seek[s] monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” If the Court determines that the complaint fails to state a claim, it must dismiss the complaint. Id. Leave to amend may be granted to the extent that the deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by amendment. Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995).

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). 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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing 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.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 678.

         In determining whether a complaint states an actionable claim, the Court must accept the allegations in the complaint as true, Hosp. Bldg. Co. v. Trs. of Rex Hospital, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), construe pro se pleadings liberally in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000), and resolve all doubts in the Plaintiff's favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969). Pleadings of pro se plaintiffs “must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (holding that pro se complaints should continue to be liberally construed after Iqbal).

         II. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

         Plaintiff alleges that in July and August 2016, he was a client of Champions Recovery Alternatives' Samuels' House Residential Treatment Program and a client of the other Defendants. Defendants have a contractual, legal, and moral obligation to maintain client confidentiality, even after clients are discharged from their treatment programs, unless information about the client becomes public through the filing of a criminal complaint.

         Plaintiff was discharged from the treatment program without warning, and without an opportunity to defend himself, when he was allegedly involved in an incident with a female staff member of Samuels' House. No charges were brought against Plaintiff for the alleged incident. Plaintiff was, however, on house arrest through the “Kings County E.M.S. System” and was returned to custody due to his discharge from Samuels' House.

         During the booking process, Plaintiff called Robert Jeffries, a resident of Samuels' House, who said, “Don't worry brother, I'm going to squash that bullshit.” This, Plaintiff alleges, serves as evidence that Defendants breached their duty of client confidentiality almost immediately upon his removal from Samuels' House by Kings County E.M.S. officers. During the booking process, Plaintiff was also approached by Kings County Jail Classification staff regarding concerns for his safety in the jail population due to the nature of the alleged incident at Samuels' House. This, Plaintiff alleges, serves as evidence that Kings County Jail had knowledge of Plaintiff's phone call with Mr. Jeffries, or that Samuels' House breached their duty of client confidentiality.

         Plaintiff further alleges that he has had to answer numerous allegations and accusations in person and on social media regarding his alleged behavior in the fourteen months since his discharge from Samuels' House. He has been threatened numerous times due to the allegations made against him at Samuels' House. Plaintiff was returned to the custody of Kings County Jail on an unrelated matter on June 22, 2017. He has been physically assaulted by multiple inmates as a direct result of his discharge from Samuels' House. Plaintiff believes there can be no other explanation for the accusations, threats, and assault he has incurred, other than Samuels' House's breach of client confidentiality.

         III. ...


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