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Bridgeman v. San Joaquin Child Protective Services

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 1, 2019




         Plaintiff is proceeding in this action pro se. This matter was accordingly referred to the undersigned by E.D. Cal. 302(c)(21). Plaintiff has filed a request for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, and has submitted the affidavit required by that statute. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). ECF No. 2. The motion to proceed IFP will therefore be GRANTED.

         I. SCREENING

         The federal IFP statute requires federal courts to dismiss a case if the action is legally “frivolous or malicious, ” fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Plaintiff must assist the court in determining whether or not the complaint is frivolous, by drafting the complaint so that it complies with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Fed. R. Civ. P.”). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are available online at

         Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the complaint must contain (1) a “short and plain statement” of the basis for federal jurisdiction (that is, the reason the case is filed in this court, rather than in a state court), (2) a short and plain statement showing that plaintiff is entitled to relief (that is, who harmed the plaintiff, and in what way), and (3) a demand for the relief sought. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Plaintiff's claims must be set forth simply, concisely and directly. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). Forms are available to help pro se plaintiffs organize their complaint in the proper way. They are available at the Clerk's Office, 501 I Street, 4th Floor (Rm. 4-200), Sacramento, CA 95814, or online at

         A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). In reviewing a complaint under this standard, the court will (1) accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint, unless they are clearly baseless or fanciful, (2) construe those allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and (3) resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's favor. See Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327; Von Saher v. Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena, 592 F.3d 954, 960 (9th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 564 U.S. 1037 (2011).

         The court applies the same rules of construction in determining whether the complaint states a claim on which relief can be granted. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (court must accept the allegations as true); Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974) (court must construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff). Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, the court need not accept as true conclusory allegations, unreasonable inferences, or unwarranted deductions of fact. Western Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir. 1981). A formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action does not suffice to state a claim. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         To state a claim on which relief may be granted, the plaintiff must allege enough facts “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” 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. A pro se litigant is entitled to notice of the deficiencies in the complaint and an opportunity to amend, unless the complaint's deficiencies could not be cured by amendment. See Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987), superseded on other grounds by statute as stated in Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122 (9th Cir.2000)) (en banc). .

         A. The Complaint

         Plaintiff brings suit against San Juaquin Child Protective Services for violations the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment. ECF No. 1 at 2. Plaintiff alleges that in 2017 her case was transferred to San Joaquin County and at this time she informed social worker Sue Winslow that her child needed therapy, but it took a year to get that service. Id. at 3. Plaintiff alleges the “case plan” included therapy for her and her daughter to do together, and that was the only thing not done in the case. Id. Plaintiff demands that her daughter receive $1, 000, 000, that her own name removed from “Allcentral Index, ” and that the social workers be investigated for “indictment for case plan setup to fail, falsified court reporting.” Id. at 4.

         Plaintiff further alleges as follows. Sue Winslow should not have put in a court report that plaintiff used her church for transportation. Id. at 5. Sue Winslow and Allison Ellis of the Department of Child Protective Services would not serve plaintiff or give her court reports, in violation of plaintiff's due process rights. Id. at 6. Allison Ellis reported that plaintiff's child was physically endangered, even after plaintiff gave her information that the police had dropped charges connected with the case. Id. at 7. Finally, Sue Winslow withheld the complete case plan and kept saying that plaintiff did not finish parenting class, when in fact plaintiff was pulled out of one class but did finish another. Id. at 8.

         B. Analysis

         Plaintiff's complaint must be rejected because the facts alleged do not state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff's constitutional claims, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, are predicated on facts that do not amount to a constitutional deprivation. In order to proceed pursuant to § 1983, plaintiff must plead and prove that she was deprived of a right within the coverage of the statute; the facts must show that the injury suffered infringed a right guaranteed by federal law or the federal Constitution. Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 142, (1979); Shah v. County of Los Angeles, 797 F.2d 743, 746 (9th Cir.1986). Plaintiff's factual allegations do not support a constitutional deprivation under the First or Fourteenth Amendment, or any other federally protected right of which the court is aware.

         1. Plaintiff Does Not State a ...

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