United States District Court, N.D. California
MAURICE W. HOOKER, Plaintiff,
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION, Defendant.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND
HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. United States District Judge
an inmate at the California Medical Facility proceeding
pro se, filed this civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaining of events that took place
at the Correctional Training Facility (“CTF”),
where he was previously incarcerated. He is granted leave to
proceed in forma pauperis in a separate order. Based upon a
review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
it is dismissed with leave to amend.
Standard of Review
federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any
case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental
entity, or from an officer or an employee of a governmental
entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the Court
must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims
which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b) (1), (2). Pro se pleadings
must be liberally construed. Balistreri v.
Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
“Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need
only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . .
. claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007)
(citations omitted). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to
provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment]
to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and
a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 570.
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States was violated; and
(2) that the violation was committed by a person acting under
the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42,
complaint, plaintiff alleges that staff at CTF retaliated
against him for filing an inmate grievance. Plaintiff does
not offer many supporting facts and instead refers the Court
to his previous habeas suit, C 17-1485 DMR (PR), which was
dismissed without prejudice to filing a civil rights
complaint. Plaintiff names various CTF staff and officials as
well as the California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) as defendants. He also
refers the Court to C 17-1485 DMR (PR) for additional
defendants that he wishes to name in this action.
allegations fail to state clearly what happened, when it
happened, what each defendant did, and how those actions or
inactions rise to the level of a federal constitutional
violation. The lack of detail prevents the Court from
determining which claims deserve a response and from whom,
and also prevents individual defendants from framing a
response to the complaint. These deficiencies require that an
amended complaint be filed. Plaintiff should bear in mind the
following legal principles on retaliation claims as he
prepares his amended complaint.
the prison context, a viable claim of First Amendment
retaliation entails five basic elements: (1) An assertion
that a state actor took some adverse action against an inmate
(2) because of (3) that prisoner's protected conduct, and
that such action (4) chilled the inmate's exercise of his
First Amendment rights, and (5) the action did not reasonably
advance a legitimate correctional goal.” Rhodes v.
Robinson, 408 F.3d 559, 567-68 (9th Cir. 2005) (footnote
omitted). The plaintiff must show that the type of activity
he was engaged in was protected by the First Amendment and
that the protected conduct was a substantial or motivating
factor for the alleged retaliatory acts. See Mt Healthy
City Bd. of Educ. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 287 (1977).
Retaliation is not established simply by showing adverse
activity by a defendant after protected speech; rather, the
plaintiff must show a nexus between the two. See Huskey
v. City of San Jose, 204 F.3d 893, 899 (9th Cir. 2000)
(retaliation claim cannot rest on the logical fallacy of post
hoc, ergo propter hoc, i.e., “after this, therefore
because of this”). See generally Reichle, et al. v.
Howards, 132 S.Ct. 2088, 2097-98 (2012) (Ginsburg, J.
concurring) (finding no inference of retaliatory animus from
Secret Service agents' assessment whether the safety of
the person they are guarding is in danger); Dietrich v.
John Ascuaga's Nugget, 548 F.3d 892, 901 (9th Cir.
2008) (finding no retaliation where plaintiff presented no
evidence that defendants gave her a traffic citation after
defendants read a newspaper article about her First Amendment
activities, rather than because she drove past a police
barricade with a “road closed” sign on it);
Huskey, 204 F.3d at 899 (summary judgment proper
against plaintiff who could only speculate that adverse
employment decision was due to his negative comments about
his supervisor six or seven months earlier).
amended complaint, plaintiff must specifically identify what
each named defendant did or did not do with regard to his
retaliation claim and any other claims. Sweeping conclusory
allegations will not suffice. Plaintiff should not refer to
the defendants as a group (e.g., “the
defendants”); rather, he should identify each involved
defendant by name and link each of them to his claims by
explaining what each involved defendant did or failed to do
that caused a violation of his rights. See Leer v.
Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 634 (9th Cir. 1988). The complaint
need not be long. In fact, a brief and clear statement with
regard to each claim listing each defendant's actions
regarding that claim is preferable.
is advised that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a)
provides that all persons “may be joined in one action
as defendants if: (A) any right to relief is asserted against
them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect
to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or
series of transactions or occurrences; and (B) any question
of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the
action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2). In his amended
complaint, plaintiff may only allege claims that (a) arise
out of the ...