United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
CAROLYN K. DELANEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
is proceeding in this action pro se. Plaintiff has requested
authority pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 to proceed in
forma pauperis. This proceeding was referred to this court by
Local Rule 302(c)(21).
has submitted the affidavit required by § 1915(a)
showing that plaintiff is unable to prepay fees and costs or
give security for them. Accordingly, the request to proceed
in forma pauperis will be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).
federal in forma pauperis statute authorizes 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. §
Plaintiff's Allegations Against Sgt. Martinez are
Vague and Conclusory and Plaintiff is Granted Leave
to File an Amended Complaint as to Sgt. Martinez Only
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.
order to avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim a
complaint must contain more than “naked assertions,
” “labels and conclusions, ” or “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007). In other words, “[t]hreadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements do not suffice.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009).
Furthermore, a claim upon which the court can grant relief
has facial plausibility. 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, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.
When considering whether a complaint states a claim upon
which relief can be granted, the court must accept the
allegations as true, Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S.Ct.
2197, 2200 (2007), and construe the complaint in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff, see Scheuer v.
Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974).
vaguely alleges he “suffered physical and mental abuse
under cruel and unusual punishment” while on “23
hr lock down” with the lights on for 24 hours. (ECF No.
1 at 5.) It appears these allegations may pertain to
defendant Sgt. Martinez's treatment of plaintiff.
(See Id. at 3 (naming Sgt. Martinez with the San
Joaquin County Jail as a defendant).) However, plaintiff also
names five other defendants in his complaint: San Joaquin
County Superior Court Judges Guiliani and Ronald Northup,
district attorney Stacey Derman, San Joaquin County public
defender Christina Martinez, and San Joaquin County Superior
Court. Plaintiff attaches several exhibits to his complaint
that pertain to a separate family law matter in the Superior
Court of California San Joaquin County. (See ECF No.
1 at 8-19.) Plaintiff seeks $22 million in punitive damages
for emotional distress. (Id. at 5.)
court finds the allegations in plaintiff's complaint
regarding Sgt. Martinez are so vague and conclusory that it
is unable to determine whether the current action is
frivolous or fails to state a claim for relief. The court has
determined that the complaint does not contain a short and
plain statement as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Although
the Federal Rules adopt a flexible pleading policy, a
complaint must give fair notice and state the elements of the
claim plainly and succinctly. Jones v. Cmty. Redev.
Agency, 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984). Plaintiff
must allege with at least some degree of particularity overt
acts which defendant engaged in that support plaintiff's
claim. Id. Because plaintiff has failed to comply
with the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), the complaint
must be dismissed. The court will, however, grant leave to
file an amended complaint as to defendant Sgt. Martinez only.
plaintiff chooses to amend the complaint, plaintiff must set
forth the jurisdictional grounds upon which the court's
jurisdiction depends. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a).
Further, plaintiff must demonstrate how the conduct
complained of has resulted in a deprivation of
plaintiff's federal rights. See Ellis v.
Cassidy, 625 F.2d 227 (9th Cir. 1980).
addition, plaintiff is informed that the court cannot refer
to a prior pleading in order to make plaintiff's amended
complaint complete. Local Rule 220 requires that an amended
complaint be complete in itself without reference to any
prior pleading. This is because, as a general rule, an
amended complaint supersedes the original complaint. See
Loux v. Rhay, 375 F.2d 55, 57 (9th Cir. 1967). Once
plaintiff files an amended complaint, the original pleading
no longer serves any function in the case. Therefore, in an
amended complaint, as in an original complaint, each claim
and the involvement of each defendant must be sufficiently
Recommendation That Plaintiff's Claims Against the
Remaining Five Defendants be Dismissed Without Leave
allegations regarding the remaining five defendants are also
vague and conclusory. However, as discussed below, these five
defendants are immune from suit and ...