United States District Court, E.D. California
ZURI S. YOUNG and GEORGE LOVIN JACKSON, Plaintiffs,
RALPH M. DIAZ, et al., Defendants.
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
F. BRENNAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
- both state prisoners - have brought this section 1983
action without the assistance of counsel. They seek to
proceed in forma pauperis, but only one - Plaintiff Jackson
(“Jackson”) - has filed an application to proceed
in forma pauperis (and a copy of his trust fund account
statement). ECF Nos. 2 & 4. Plaintiffs may only jointly
proceed in forma pauperis if both submit a properly-supported
application. Subsequently, however, Plaintiff Young
(“Young”) submitted a motion for class
certification wherein he stated that, owing to previous
Prison Litigation Reform Act “strikes” he has
sustained, only Jackson is qualified to proceed in forma
pauperis. ECF No. 5; see also ECF No. 10. As
addressed below, Young may not avoid the three strikes
provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act in that
for the reasons stated hereafter, Jackson's application
to proceed in forma pauperis is granted but all of the claims
in the complaint - save for Jackson's individual claims -
must be dismissed without leave to amend. Jackson's
individual claims must be dismissed with leave to amend.
Further, the motion for class certification must be denied.
to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
application makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(1). Accordingly, his request to proceed in forma
pauperis is granted. By separate order, the court directs the
agency having custody of Jackson to collect and forward the
appropriate monthly payments for the filing fee as set forth
in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) and (2).
Requirement and Standards
courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in
which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or
officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims or
dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint “is frivolous, malicious, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, ” or
“seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.” Id. § 1915A(b).
se plaintiff, like other litigants, must satisfy the pleading
requirements of Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Rule 8(a)(2) “requires a complaint to
include a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the
defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds
upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554, 562-563 (2007) (citing
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)). While the
complaint must comply with the “short and plaint
statement” requirements of Rule 8, its allegations must
also include the specificity required by Twombly and
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).
avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim a complaint must
contain more than “naked assertions, ”
“labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-557. In other words,
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not
suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
a claim upon which the court can grant relief must have
facial plausibility. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
When considering whether a complaint states a claim upon
which relief can be granted, the court must accept the
allegations as true, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89
(2007), and construe the complaint in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, see Scheuer v. Rhodes,
416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974).
Action Construed as Individual Suit Brought by
and Young assert that they intend this suit to proceed as a
class action. ECF No. 1 at 1, 3. Pro se inmates may not,
however, represent a class of their peers.See Simon v.
Hartford Life, Inc., 546 F.3d 661, 664-65 (9th Cir.
2008) (“As the district court accurately pointed out,
courts have routinely adhered to the general rule prohibiting
pro se plaintiffs from pursuing claims on behalf of others in
a representative capacity.”); Claxton v. Ryan,
No. CV 11-934-PHX-GMS (ECV), 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69130,
2011 WL 2533554, at *1-2 (D. Ariz. June 27, 2011) (pro se
plaintiffs “may not appear as an attorney for other
persons in a class action”); Reed v. Board of
Prison Terms, No. C 03-2917 MMC PR, 2003 WL 21982471, at
*1 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 8, 2003) (“Pro se prisoner
plaintiffs may not bring class actions because they are not
adequate class representatives able to fairly represent ...