United States District Court, N.D. California
ROBERT J. ALEXANDER, Plaintiff,
TARGET INCORPORATED, et al., Defendants.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND
PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a detainee, proceeds with a pro se civil rights complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He has been granted leave to
proceed in forma pauperis.
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). In its review the court must identify any
cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which are
frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who
is immune from such relief. Id. at 1915A(b)(1), (2).
Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri
v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief." "Specific facts are not
necessary; the statement need only '"give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests."'" Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citations omitted).
Although in order to state a claim a complaint “does
not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds'
of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do. . . . Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). A
complaint must proffer "enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at
570. The United States Supreme Court has recently explained
the “plausible on its face” standard of
Twombly: “While legal conclusions can provide
the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by
factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual
allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by
the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated,
and (2) that the alleged deprivation was committed by a
person acting under the color of state law. West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
alleges that his rights were violated when he was detained at
a Target retail store.
private individual does not act under color of state law, an
essential element of a § 1983 action. See Gomez v.
Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). Purely private
conduct, no matter how wrongful, is not covered under §
1983. See Ouzts v. Maryland Nat'l Ins. Co., 505
F.2d 547, 550 (9th Cir. 1974). Simply put: There is no right
to be free from the infliction of constitutional deprivations
by private individuals. See Van Ort v. Estate of
Stanewich, 92 F.3d 831, 835 (9th Cir. 1996).
taken by private individuals or organizations may be under
color of state law “if, though only if, there is such a
close nexus between the State and the challenged action that
seemingly private behavior may be fairly treated as that of
the State itself. What is fairly attributable is a matter of
normative judgment, and the criteria lack rigid simplicity. .
. . [N]o one fact can function as a necessary condition
across the board for finding state action; nor is any set of
circumstances absolutely sufficient, for there may be some
countervailing reason against attributing activity to the
government.” Brentwood Academy v. Tennessee
Secondary Sch. Athletic Ass'n, 531 U.S. 288, 295-96
(2001) (internal quotation marks omitted). “Even facts
that suffice to show public action (or, standing alone, would
require such a finding) may be outweighed in the name of some
value at odds with finding public accountability in the
circumstances.” See id. at 303.
alleges that loss prevention staff at a Target retail store
tackled him and then detained him without reading him is
Miranda rights, they handcuffed him, denied him an
attorney and access to his medication and a restroom. As
currently plead, plaintiff fails to state a claim pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. The defendants were not state actors,
rather they were employees at a retail store and plaintiff
has not shown they were acting under color of state law.
While plaintiff could seek relief in state court, he has not
set forth a claim for relief in this court. Plaintiff has
also named the police department as a defendant but there are
no allegations against any individual officer. The complaint is
dismissed with leave to amend to provide more information and
state a federal claim.
complaint is DISMISSED with leave to amend
in accordance with the standards set forth above. The amended
complaint must be filed no later than January 6,
2020 and must include the caption and civil case
number used in this order and the words AMENDED COMPLAINT on
the first page. Because an amended complaint completely
replaces the original complaint, plaintiff must include in it
all the claims he wishes to present. See Ferdik v.
Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1262 (9th Cir. 1992). He may