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Mousa v. LASD

United States District Court, C.D. California

December 19, 2019

MOHAMMED MOUSA, Plaintiff,
v.
LASD, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

          JOHN E. MCDERMOTT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         PROCEEDINGS

         On September 3, 2019, Mohammed Mousa (“Plaintiff”), a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a letter that was construed as a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Complaint”). On December 15, 2019, a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) was filed.

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that the FAC should be dismissed with leave to amend.

         PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

         Plaintiff alleges that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (“LASD”) and Deputies Morisseau and Kerr violated his civil rights while he was detained at the Los Angeles County Jail. Plaintiff alleges the following:

Both Defend[a]nts crueled [sic] & unusual punished me by not feeding me on April-25-19 while Passover any breakfast or lunch at all while [I] was on the kosher diet. Mr. Morisseau didn[']t feed me on April-23-19 any dinner at all while it was Passover and [I] was supposed to eat kosher.

(FAC at 5.) He claims “cruel & unusual punishment” and “p[h]ysical & emotional harm” (FAC at 5) and asks for “compensation relief” (FAC at 6).

         DISCUSSION

         I. PLEADING STANDARDS

         A complaint may be dismissed as a matter of law for failure to state a claim for two reasons: (1) the plaintiff fails to state a cognizable legal theory; or (2) the plaintiff has alleged insufficient facts under a cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). In determining whether a complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted, allegations of material fact are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Love v. United States, 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 1988). However, “the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). “[A] liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled.” Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982).

         Although a complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations" to survive dismissal, a plaintiff must provide “more than mere labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (rejecting the traditional “no set of facts” standard set forth in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)). The complaint must contain factual allegations sufficient to rise above the “speculative level, ” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, or the merely possible or conceivable. Id. at 557, 570.

         Simply put, the complaint must contain "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. A claim has facial plausibility when the complaint presents enough facts “to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). This standard is not a probability requirement, but “it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. A complaint that pleads facts that are merely consistent with liability stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility. Id.

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated and (2) that the violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Liability may be imposed on an individual defendant under § 1983 if the plaintiff can show that the defendant proximately caused the deprivation of a federally protected right. Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 634 (9th Cir. 1988). A person deprives another of a constitutional right within the meaning of § 1983 if he does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative act or omits to perform an act which he is legally required to do, that causes the deprivation of which the plaintiff complains. Id. at 633. The inquiry into causation must be individualized and focus on the duties and responsibilities of each individual defendant whose acts or omissions ...


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