United States District Court, E.D. California
M. COTA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court
is plaintiff's complaint (ECF No. 1).
court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint or
portion thereof if it: (1) is frivolous or malicious; (2)
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; or
(3) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2).
Moreover, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that
complaints contain a “. . . short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This means that claims
must be stated simply, concisely, and directly. See
McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177 (9th Cir. 1996)
(referring to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e)(1)). These rules are
satisfied if the complaint gives the defendant fair notice of
the plaintiff's claim and the grounds upon which it
rests. See Kimes v. Stone, 84 F.3d 1121, 1129 (9th
Cir. 1996). Because plaintiff must allege with at least some
degree of particularity overt acts by specific defendants
which support the claims, vague and conclusory allegations
fail to satisfy this standard. Additionally, it is impossible
for the court to conduct the screening required by law when
the allegations are vague and conclusory.
currently an inmate at Kern Valley State Prison, complains of
events which occurred while he was incarcerated at California
State Prison - Sacramento. See ECF No. 1, pg. 1.
Plaintiff names the following as defendants: (1) P.
Kuppinger, a correctional officer; (2) L. Watkins, a
correctional officer; and (3) Abigail Gorrell, a prison
nurse. See id. at 2. According to plaintiff,
defendants Kuppinger and Watkins slammed him to the wall and
choked him after plaintiff informed defendants he had a
broken shoulder. See id. at 3. Plaintiff states he
was rendered unconscious as a result. See id.
Plaintiff's complaint contains no allegations specific to
court finds plaintiff's complaint states a cognizable
claim of excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment
as against defendants Kuppinger and Watkins. The complaint
does not, however, currently state any cognizable claims
against defendant Gorrell.
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the plaintiff must
allege an actual connection or link between the actions of
the named defendants and the alleged deprivations. See
Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658
(1978); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362 (1976).
“A person ‘subjects' another to the
deprivation of a constitutional right, within the meaning of
§ 1983, if he does an affirmative act, participates in
another's affirmative acts, or omits to perform an act
which he is legally required to do that causes the
deprivation of which complaint is made.” Johnson v.
Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978). Vague and
conclusory allegations concerning the involvement of official
personnel in civil rights violations are not sufficient.
See Ivey v. Board of Regents, 673 F.2d 266,
268 (9th Cir. 1982). Rather, the plaintiff must set forth
specific facts as to each individual defendant's causal
role in the alleged constitutional deprivation. See Leer
v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 62.
plaintiff's complaint is devoid of any allegations
specific to defendant Gorrell. Plaintiff states that
“the nurse” told the other defendants plaintiff
was attempting to receive medication at the time. ECF No. 1,
pg. 3. This allegation, however, neither references defendant
Gorrell by name nor does it suggest any actional conduct by
“the nurse.” As such, this allegation is
insufficient to demonstrate an actual connection between
defendant Gorrell and a constitutional violation.
it is possible that the deficiencies identified in this order
may be cured by amending the complaint, plaintiff is entitled
to leave to amend. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d
1122, 1126, 1131 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). Plaintiff is
informed that, as a general rule, an amended complaint
supersedes the original complaint. See Ferdik v.
Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1262 (9th Cir. 1992).
Therefore, if plaintiff amends the complaint, the court
cannot refer to the prior pleading in order to make
plaintiff's amended complaint complete. See
Local Rule 220. An amended complaint must be complete in
itself without reference to any prior pleading. See
plaintiff chooses to amend the complaint, plaintiff must
demonstrate how the conditions complained of have resulted in
a deprivation of plaintiff's constitutional rights.
See Ellis v. Cassidy, 625 F.2d 227 (9th Cir. 1980).
The complaint must allege in specific terms how each named
defendant is involved, and must set forth some affirmative
link or connection between each defendant's actions and
the claimed deprivation. See May v. Enomoto, 633
F.2d 164, 167 (9th Cir. 1980); Johnson v. Duffy, 588
F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978).
the complaint appears to otherwise state cognizable claims,
if no amended complaint is filed within the time allowed
therefor, the court will issue findings and recommendations
that the claims identified herein as defective be dismissed,
as well as such further orders as are necessary for service
of process as to the cognizable claims.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff may file a first amended
complaint within 30 days of ...