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Haywood v. U.C. San Diego

United States District Court, S.D. California

December 10, 2019

ERICA D. HAYWOOD, Booking #19750859, Plaintiff,
U.C. SAN DIEGO, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff, Erica D. Haywood, while in custody at the San Diego County Sheriff Department's Las Colinas Detention & Reentry Facility, has a civil rights Complaint (“Compl.”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Compl., Doc. No. 1. Haywood seeks $18 million in general and punitive damages from several municipalities, a non-profit agency, the University of California Medical Center in San Diego, the U.S. Postal Service, JCPenney, and the Fashion Valley Mall, based on what appear to be unrelated incidents of alleged harassment, entrapment, stalking, mail theft, false reporting, and negligent medical and mental health care treatment. Id. at 3‒8, 16‒19, 21. Haywood did not pay the civil filing fee required by 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a) at the time she filed her Complaint; instead, she filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). See Doc. No. 2.

         I. Motion to Proceed IFP

         A. Standard of Review

         “All persons, not just prisoners, may seek IFP status.” Moore v. Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, 657 F.3d 890, 892 (9th Cir. 2011). Prisoners like Haywood, however, “face an additional hurdle.” Id.

         In addition to requiring prisoners to “pay the full amount of a filing fee, ” in “monthly installments” or “increments” as provided by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3)(b), the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) amended section 1915 to preclude the privilege to proceed IFP in cases where the prisoner:

. . . has, on 3 or more prior occasions, while incarcerated or detained in any facility, brought an action or appeal in a court of the United States that was dismissed on the grounds that it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical injury.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). “This subdivision is commonly known as the ‘three strikes' provision.” Andrews v. King, 398 F.3d 1113, 1116 n.1 (9th Cir. 2005). “Pursuant to § 1915(g), a prisoner with three strikes or more cannot proceed IFP.” Id.; see also Andrews v. Cervantes, 493 F.3d 1047, 1052 (9th Cir. 2007) (hereafter “Cervantes”) (under the PLRA, “[p]risoners who have repeatedly brought unsuccessful suits may entirely be barred from IFP status under the three strikes rule[.]”). The objective of the PLRA is to further “the congressional goal of reducing frivolous prisoner litigation in federal court.” Tierney v. Kupers, 128 F.3d 1310, 1312 (9th Cir. 1997).

         “Strikes are prior cases or appeals, brought while the plaintiff was a prisoner, which were dismissed on the ground that they were frivolous, malicious, or failed to state a claim, ” Andrews, 398 F.3d at 1116 n.1 (internal quotations omitted), “even if the district court styles such dismissal as a denial of the prisoner's application to file the action without prepayment of the full filing fee.” O'Neal v. Price, 531 F.3d 1146, 1153 (9th Cir. 2008). When courts “review a dismissal to determine whether it counts as a strike, the style of the dismissal or the procedural posture is immaterial. Instead, the central question is whether the dismissal ‘rang the PLRA bells of frivolous, malicious, or failure to state a claim.'” El-Shaddai v. Zamora, 833 F.3d 1036, 1042 (9th Cir. 2016) (quoting Blakely v. Wards, 738 F.3d 607, 615 (4th Cir. 2013)).

         Once a prisoner has accumulated three strikes, section 1915(g) prohibits her pursuit of any subsequent IFP civil action or appeal in federal court unless she faces “imminent danger of serious physical injury.” See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g); Cervantes, 493 F.3d at 1051-52 (noting § 1915(g)'s exception for IFP complaints which “make[] a plausible allegation that the prisoner faced ‘imminent danger of serious physical injury' at the time of filing.”).

         B. Discussion

         Haywood does not clearly allege any basis for § 1983 liability, let alone assert “plausible allegations” to suggest she “faced ‘imminent danger of serious physical injury' at the time of filing.” Cervantes, 493 F.3d at 1055 (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g)). Instead, as best the Court can decipher, Haywood seeks to sue various governmental and private entities for having stalked, harassed, entrapped, “banned, ” defrauded, and “exasperated” her, both before and during her current term of detention. See Compl. at 3‒4, 16‒19; Sierra v. Woodford, 2010 WL 1657493, at *3 (E.D. Cal. April 23, 2010) (finding “long, narrative, rambling stat[e]ments regarding a cycle of violence, and vague references to motives to harm” insufficient to show “ongoing danger” as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) and Cervantes.), aff'd sub nom. Sierra v. Woodford, Dir. of Corr., 505 Fed.Appx. 641 (9th Cir. 2013).

         And while Defendants typically carry the initial burden to produce evidence demonstrating a prisoner is not entitled to proceed IFP, Andrews, 398 F.3d at 1119, “in some instances, the district court docket may be sufficient to show that a prior dismissal satisfies at least one on the criteria under § 1915(g) and therefore counts as a strike.” Id. at 1120. That is the case here.

         A court may take judicial notice of its own records, see Molus v. Swan, Civil Case No. 3:05-cv-00452-MMA-WMc, 2009 WL 160937, *2 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 22, 2009) (citing United States v. Author Services, 804 F.2d 1520, 1523 (9th Cir. 1986)); Gerritsen v. Warner Bros. Entm't Inc., 112 F.Supp.3d 1011, 1034 (C.D. Cal. 2015), and “‘may take notice of proceedings in other courts, both within and without the federal judicial system, if those proceedings have a direct relation to matters at issue.'” Bias v. Moynihan, 508 F.3d 1212, 1225 (9th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bennett v. Medtronic, ...

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