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Richard v. Galbraith

United States District Court, S.D. California

December 18, 2019

CRAIG RICHARD, CDCR #J-36916, Plaintiff,
v.
C/O GALBRAITH; C/O SORENSEN; C/O KAHN; C/O NORIEGA, Defendants.

          ORDER: 1) GRANTING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION; 2) VACATING NOVEMBER 18, 2019 ORDER AND JUDGMENT; 3) DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR FAILING TO STATE A CLAIM PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

          HON. LARRY ALAN BURNS, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         I. Procedural History

         On June 13, 2019, Craig Richard (“Plaintiff”), currently incarcerated at the California Health Care Facility (“CHCF”) located in Stockton, California, and proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (ECF No. 1). While Plaintiff was housed at CHCF at the time he filed this action, the named Defendants are prison officials at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (“RJD”). (See Compl. at 1-2.) In addition, he filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) (ECF No. 3).

         On July 8, 2019, the Court denied Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed IFP and dismissed his Complaint for failing to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. (ECF No. 4.) Plaintiff was granted thirty (30) days leave to pay the entire initial civil filing fee, along with filing an amended complaint. (Id.)

         On August 20, 2019, Plaintiff filed a “Motion Requesting Filing Fee Readjustment and/or Reconsideration of IFP status.” (ECF No. 10.) However, Plaintiff then filed a “Motion Requesting the Court to withdraw Plaintiff's previous request to readjust Plaintiff's Filing Fee Order and/or Reconsider Plaintiff's IFP status.” (ECF No. 12.) Plaintiff also filed a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”), along with a Motion to Appoint Counsel. (ECF Nos. 13, .)

         The Court granted Plaintiff's motion to withdraw the motion for reconsideration but dismissed the action based on Plaintiff's failure to pay the initial partial filing fee in the time previously determined by the Court. (ECF No. 17.) A judgment was entered as to the entire action in favor of all the named Defendants. (ECF No. 18.)

         On December 3, 2019, Plaintiff filed a “Motion requesting the Court to withdraw the Order dismissing Plaintiff's civil action” which the Court liberally construes as a motion for reconsideration of the Court's November 18, 2019 Order. (ECF No. 20.) In addition, Plaintiff also filed a letter to the Court on December 17, 2019 to provide documentation in support of his Motion. (ECF No. 22.)

         II. Motion for Reconsideration

         Initially, Plaintiff was ordered to pay the initial civil filing fee of $400 in full by August 8, 2019. (ECF No. 4.) Plaintiff was later granted an extension of time to pay the filing fee no later than September 9, 2019. (ECF No. 8.) The Court's docket did not reflect that Plaintiff had complied with the Court's Orders, and thus, the entire action was dismissed on November 18, 2019 and judgment was entered. (ECF No. 17.)

         However, Plaintiff filed a motion declaring that he had, in fact, paid the initial civil filing fee of $400 in September. (ECF No. 20.) On December 17, 2019, Plaintiff filed a letter with documentation by prison officials confirming that they had submitted the $400 civil filing fee to this Court on Plaintiff's behalf. (ECF No. 22.) Although the Court's docket did not reflect receipt of the filing fee, a review of the Court's records demonstrated that the Court had in fact received Plaintiff's filing fee on September 17, 2019 but failed to enter that into the docket. This has been now been corrected and the Court's docket accurately reflects that Plaintiff has complied with the Court's previous Order to pay the civil filing fee. (ECF No. 23.)

         Accordingly, Plaintiff's “Motion Requesting the Court to Withdraw the Order Dismissing Plaintiff's Civil Action” is GRANTED. (ECF No. 20.) The Court will VACATE the November 18, 2019 Order and Clerk's Judgment. (ECF Nos. 17, 18.) However, Plaintiff's FAC remains subject to the required sua sponte screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         III. Screening of Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

         The Court is required to conduct a sua sponte review of Plaintiff's FAC because he was “incarcerated or detained in any facility [and] is accused of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for, violations of criminal law or the terms or conditions of parole, probation, pretrial release, or diversionary program” at the time he filed this action. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), (c).

         Section 1915A, also enacted as part of PLRA, requires sua sponte dismissal of prisoner complaints, or any portions thereof, which are frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); Coleman v. Tollefson, 135 S.Ct. 1759, 1764 (2015); Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 446-47 (9th Cir. 2000). “The purpose of § 1915A is to ‘ensure that the targets of frivolous or malicious suits need not ...


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