United States District Court, E.D. California
KAREEM J. HOWELL, Plaintiff,
KEVIN COOK, Kings County Deputy District Attorney, STEVEN NGUYEN, Kings County Deputy District Attorney, and KEITH FAGUNDES, Kings County District Attorney, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA
PAUPERIS AND DIRECTING PAYMENT OF INMATE FILING FEE BY
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION,
ORDER GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND COMPLAINT (DOCS. 1, 2)
K. OBERTO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
is a prisoner proceeding pro se and has requested leave to
proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
(Docs. 1, 2.) Plaintiff's prison trust account statement
was filed on November 22, 2019. (Doc. 7.) For the reasons
stated below, Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis is GRANTED, and Plaintiff is granted leave to
file a first amended complaint.
Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
has made the showing required by § 1915(a) and
accordingly, the request to proceed in forma pauperis will be
granted. Plaintiff is obligated to pay the statutory filing
fee of $350.00 for this action. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
Plaintiff is obligated to make monthly payments in the amount
of twenty percent of the preceding month's income
credited to Plaintiff's trust account. The California
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is required to
send to the Clerk of Court payments from Plaintiff's
account each time the amount in the account exceeds $10.00,
until the statutory filing fee is paid in full. 28 U.S.C.
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
Plaintiff's Complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject
to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it
seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 28 U.S.C.
complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . .
. .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations
are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, courts
“are not required to indulge unwarranted
inferences.” Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,
572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted).
proceeding pro se are entitled to have their pleadings
liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their
favor. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir.
2010) (citations omitted). To survive screening,
Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which
requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to
reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quotation marks omitted); Moss v. United States
Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).
The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is
not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls
short of satisfying the plausibility standard.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at
complaint alleges claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Defendants for violations of Plaintiff's First Amendment
rights and Fourteenth Amendment due process rights. (Doc. 1
at 7-8.) Defendant Keith Fagundes is the District Attorney of
Kings County, California and Defendants Kevin Cook and Steven
Nguyen are Deputy District Attorneys. (Id. at 6-7.)
alleges that on April 25, 2018, correctional officers at
California State Prison-Corcoran, where Plaintiff is
incarcerated, assaulted him. (Id. at 7.) On May 22,
2018, one of the correctional officers allegedly filed a
false complaint with Defendants claiming Plaintiff threatened
him. (Id. at 8.) On June 4, 2018, Plaintiff demanded
that Defendants prosecute him and “give him his right
in court” in response to the correctional officer's
complaint, but Defendants responded that “a review of
their records [did] not reveal any outstanding cases on
Plaintiff” that would cause Defendants to prosecute
he would not be prosecuted for his altercation with the
correctional officers, Plaintiff then filed civil actions
against the correctional officers for assaulting him.
(Id. at 9.) The civil cases later settled, and with
the civil cases resolved, Defendants charged Plaintiff
criminally in February 2019 with battery on the correctional
officers. (Id.) In July 2019, Defendants filed
another criminal complaint charging Plaintiff with battery on
another correctional officer. (Id.) Defendants filed
a third criminal complaint charging Plaintiff with
threatening the correctional officer who submitted the
allegedly false complaint against Plaintiff back in May 2018.
first claim for relief, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants
charged and “maliciously prosecuted” him in
retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights by
complaining about the correctional officers assaulting
Plaintiff and other prisoners, and for filing civil actions
against the correctional officers. (Id. at 7,
11-12.) In the second claim for relief, Plaintiff alleges
that Defendants violated his due process rights by not
charging him immediately after he demanded to be charged in
June 2018, and instead charging him only after his civil
actions against the correctional officers were resolved.
(Id. at 8, 13.) Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages
in the amount of $250, 000 and punitive damages in the amount
of $250, 000. (Id. at 14.) ...