United States District Court, E.D. California
DEBORAH BARNES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with an action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that defendants
violated his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments. Presently before the court is plaintiff's
motion to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 3) and three
separate amended complaints filed simultaneously (ECF Nos.
16, 17, 18). For the reasons set forth below, the court will
grant the motion to proceed in forma pauperis, dismiss the
complaints, and direct plaintiff to file one amended
has submitted a declaration that makes the showing required
by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). (ECF No. 2.) Accordingly, the
request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.
is required to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for
this action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a), 1915(b)(1). By
this order, plaintiff will be assessed an initial partial
filing fee in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1). By separate order, the court will direct
the appropriate agency to collect the initial partial filing
fee from plaintiff's trust account and forward it to the
Clerk of the court. Thereafter, plaintiff will be obligated
for monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding
month's income credited to plaintiff's prison trust
account. These payments will be forwarded by the appropriate
agency to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in
plaintiff's account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee
is paid in full. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
initiated this action on March 13, 2019. However, plaintiff
did not sign his complaint. (See ECF No. 1 at 20.)
Because the court cannot consider unsigned filings, the
original complaint was stricken from the record pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 and Local Rule 131. (ECF
No. 8.) The court granted plaintiff leave to file an amended
complaint and advised plaintiff that unrelated claims against
multiple defendants should be brought in separate actions.
appears that plaintiff took literally, the court's
advisement that separate claims belong in separate
complaints. The court will clarify that unrelated claims
against different defendants should be brought in entirely
separate actions. Allegations related to different defendants
may only be brought in the same case if the allegations arise
out of the same transaction or occurrence, or series of
transactions and occurrences. Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a); Desert
Empire Bank v. Ins. Co. of N. Am., 623 F.2d 1371, 1375
(9th Cir. 1980).
an amended complaint supersedes a prior complaint. See
Loux v. Rhay, 375 F.2d 55, 57 (9th Cir. 1967). Once an
amended complaint is filed, any prior complaint no longer
serves a function in the case. (Id.) Thus, the third
amended complaint (ECF No. 18), supersedes the other two
complaints. However, because it appears that plaintiff
misinterpreted the court's prior advisement, it will
dismiss the amended complaints and provide plaintiff another
opportunity to file one amended complaint that complies with
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules.
court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or
employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint or
portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are
legally “frivolous or malicious, ” that fail to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) & (2).
is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221,
1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss a
claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. The
critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however
inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual basis.
See Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227. Rule 8(a)(2) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “requires only
‘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
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
in order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim a
complaint must contain more than “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action;” it
must contain factual allegations sufficient “to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell
Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555. In reviewing a complaint
under this standard, the court must accept as true the
allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital Bldg.
Co. v. Rex Hospital Trustees, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976),
construe the pleading in ...