United States District Court, E.D. California
FIRST SCREENING ORDER (DOC. 1) 21-DAY
K. OBERTO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Jose Leal, is a prisoner in the custody of Kings County Jail.
On September 11, 2019, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(“Section 1983”). (Doc. 1
(“Compl.”).) in which he seeks to proceed on a
claim based on the removal of his infant daughter from his
custody. (Doc. 1 (“Compl.”).) Plaintiff also
filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis,
which was granted on September 16, 2019. (Docs. 2 & 3.)
Complaint is now before the Court for screening. As discussed
below, Plaintiffs allegations are conclusory and fail to
plead that the defendant acted under color of state law under
Section 1983. Plaintiff is granted leave to file a first
amended complaint and is provided the pleading requirements
and legal standards under which his claims will be analyzed.
Screening Requirement and Standard
cases where the plaintiff is proceeding in forma
pauperis, the Court is required to screen each case, and
shall dismiss the case at any time if the Court determines
that the allegation of poverty is untrue, or the action or
appeal is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against
a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). If the Court determines that a complaint fails to
state a claim, leave to amend may be granted to the extent
that the deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by
amendment. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th
Cir. 2000) (en banc).
Court’s screening of a complaint under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2) is governed by the following standards. A
complaint may be dismissed as a matter of law for failure to
state a claim for two reasons: (1) lack of a cognizable legal
theory; or (2) insufficient facts under a cognizable legal
theory. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
Plaintiff must allege a minimum factual and legal basis for
each claim that is sufficient to give each defendant fair
notice of what plaintiffs claims are and the grounds upon
which they rest. See, e.g., Brazil v. U.S. Dep’t of
the Navy, 66 F.3d 193, 199 (9th Cir. 1995); McKeever
v. Block, 932 F.2d 795, 798 (9th Cir. 1991).
Summary of the Complaint
alleges that his and his girlfriend’s “healthy
baby girl was takeing [sic] from” them for their
“past record.” (Compl. at 3.) He asserts that the
baby “was born with no drugs in her system” but
his girlfriend “was not allowed to breastfeed do [sic]
to our past record of drug use.” (Id.)
Plaintiff uses the Court’s prisoner civil rights
complaint form that is reserved for 42 U.S.C. § 1983
actions and indicates that his claim is asserted under
“Amendment V.” (Id.) He seeks
“justice and any money or relief that [the] jury
seem[s] fit to give.” (Id. at 4.)
reasons discussed below, Plaintiff has not stated any
cognizable claims, but may be able to amend to correct the
deficiencies in his pleading. Thus, the Court provides the
pleading and legal standards for the claims on which
Plaintiff is attempting to proceed and leave to file a first
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), 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)). In determining
whether a complaint states a claim on which relief may be
granted, allegations of material fact are taken as true and
construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
See Love v. United States,915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th
Cir. 1989). Moreover, since Plaintiff is appearing pro
se, the Court must construe the allegations of his
complaint liberally and must afford Plaintiff the benefit of
any doubt. See Karim Panahi v. Los Angeles Police
Dep’t,839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir. 1988). However,
“the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a
plaintiffs factual allegations.” Neitzke v.
Williams,490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). ...