United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
DEBORAH BARNES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges
his rights were violated during his 2009 criminal trial and
requests immediate release from custody. Presently before the
court is plaintiff's application for expedited review
(ECF No. 13), motion to stay (ECF No. 20), application for
class certification (ECF No. 23), motion to amend, and his
amended complaint for screening (ECF No. 14). For the reasons
set forth below, the court will grant the motion to amend,
deny the application for expedited review, recommend that the
motions for stay and for class certification be denied, and
recommend that the amended complaint be dismissed without
leave to amend.
has filed a motion to amend the complaint, along with a
proposed amended complaint. (ECF No. 14.) Plaintiff requests
to amend the complaint because he has determined that he
should have named the County of Sacramento instead of the
California Department of Justice. Because the complaint has
not yet been served, the court will grant the motion to amend
and screen the proposed amended complaint below.
also included a request to proceed under a pseudonym in his
motion to amend. (ECF No. 14 at 1.) “The normal
presumption in litigation is that parties must use their real
names.” Doe v. Kamehameha Schools/Bernice Pauahi
Bishop Estate, 596 F.3d 1036, 1042 (9th Cir. 2010);
see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(a) (“[t]he title of
the complaint must name all the parties”); Fed.R.Civ.P.
17(a)(1) (“An action must be prosecuted in the name of
the real party in interest.”). Nevertheless, many
federal courts, including the Ninth Circuit, have permitted
parties to proceed anonymously when special circumstances
justify secrecy.” Does I thru XXIII v. Advanced
Textile Corp., 214 F.3d 1058, 1067 (9th Cir. 2000).
order to proceed anonymously, a plaintiff must show both (1)
a fear of severe harm, and (2) that the fear of severe harm
is reasonable.” Kamehameha, 596 F.3d at 1043.
“Examples of areas where courts have allowed pseudonyms
include cases involving abortion, birth control,
transexuality, mental illness, welfare rights of illegitimate
children, AIDS, and homosexuality.” Doe v.
Megless, 654 F.3d 404, 408 (3rd Cir. 2011) (quotation
has cited only a discovery of his right to privacy in support
of his request. Accordingly, the court finds that he has not
made the showing required to proceed anonymously in this
action and will deny his request to proceed under a
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.
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)). However, in order to
survive dismissal for failure to state a claim a complaint
must contain more that “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 the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
and resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's favor.
Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969).
Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides
Every person who, under color of [state law] . . . subjects,
or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States .
. . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or
immunities secured by the Constitution . . . shall be liable
to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or
other proper proceeding for redress.
42 U.S.C. § 1983. The statute requires that there be an
actual connection or link between the actions of the
defendants and the deprivation alleged to have been suffered
by plaintiff. See Monell v. Dept. 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).
supervisory personnel are generally not liable under §
1983 for the actions of their employees under a theory of
respondeat superior and, therefore, when a named defendant
holds a supervisorial position, the causal link between him
and the claimed constitutional violation must be specifically
alleged. See Fayle v. Stapley, 607 F.2d 858, 862
(9th Cir. 1979); Mosher v. Saalfeld, 589 F.2d 438,
441 (9th Cir. 1978). Vague and conclusory allegations
concerning the ...