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Yartz v. Coalinga State Hospital

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 29, 2018

COALINGA STATE HOSPITAL, et al., Defendants.


         Norman Yartz (“Plaintiff”) is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. It is unclear if Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee or a civil detainee.

         Plaintiff filed the Complaint commencing this action on October 2, 2017. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint on December 22, 2017. (ECF No. 11). The Court screened Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint on January 26, 2018. (ECF No. 12). Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint on April 9, 2018, (ECF No. 15), which is before this Court for screening.

         The Court has screened Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint and recommends dismissing it for failure to state a claim, for the reasons described below. Given that this is Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, and that Plaintiff's allegations do not appear to state a claim under the relevant legal standards, the Court recommends not granting further leave to amend.


         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). As Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis (ECF No. 4), the Court may also screen the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. “Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that the action or appeal fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         A complaint is required to 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 to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id. at 679. While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, courts “are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences.” Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Additionally, a plaintiff's legal conclusions are not accepted as true. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         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).


         Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint alleged that defendants slandered, libeled, defamed and falsely imprisoned him. They also failed to mirandize him, and falsely used his chart at Coalinga State Hospital, saying that he raped and sodomized his daughter and a neighbor girl in 1983.

         The Court issued a screening order evaluating Plaintiff's potential claims and providing relevant legal standards. The Court explained how Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a short and plain statement of the claim(s) showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. The Court explained that Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint did not say what each person did in a clear way. The Court stated, “If Plaintiff chooses to amend his complaint, he needs to include a short and plain statement-what each person did, such as what he or she said or wrote or did to Plaintiff. Then Plaintiff should try to explain why he believes that action, or lack of action, violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights.” (ECF No. 12, at p. 4).

         The Court also explained that, under Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487 (1994), Plaintiff cannot use a section 1983 proceeding to challenge an underlying criminal conviction. The Court also explained the legal standards for the various state causes of action Plaintiff had alleged.


         Plaintiff's factual allegations are difficult to decipher. It appears that Plaintiff alleges that defendants Luke Kull and James Peterson were Psy tec. (possibly meaning psychological technicians) at Coalinga State Hospital. They seized Plaintiff's thumb drive, which appeared to show sexual abuse of a young child. They did not have a warrant and are not hospital police, so they should not have been entitled to seize the evidence. They also took Plaintiff's property on another occasion without having a warrant. This violated hospital rules.

         IV. ANALYSIS OF ...

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