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Leal v. Community Hospital of Fresno

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 23, 2019

JOSE LEAL, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMUNITY HOSPITAL OF FRESNO, Defendant.

          FIRST SCREENING ORDER (DOC. 1) 21-DAY DEADLINE

          SHEILA K. OBERTO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         A. Background

         Plaintiff, 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.)

         Plaintiffs 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.

         B. Screening Requirement and Standard

         In 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).

         The 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).

         C. Summary of the Complaint

         Plaintiff 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.)

         For the 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 amended complaint.

         D. Pleading Requirements

         1. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)

         Under 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). ...


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