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Turner v. County of San Diego

United States District Court, S.D. California

January 3, 2020

DAVID BRYAN TURNER, Jr., Booking No. 197347785, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO; SAN DIEGO HARBOR POLICE, Police Officer John Doe; SAN DIEGO SHERIFF DEPT., John Doe; METROPOLITAN TRANSIT SYSTEMS, Trolley Police Officer Jane Doe; STATE OF CALIFORNIA; CITY OF SAN DIEGO; WILLIAM D. GORE; CAPTAIN BUCHANAN, Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) AND § 1915A(b)(1)

          Hon. Gonzalo P. Curiel, United States District Judge

         I. Procedural History

         On October 11, 2019, David Bryan Turner, Jr., (“Plaintiff”), incarcerated at the George Bailey Detention Facility (“GBDF”) located in San Diego, California, filed a civil rights action (“Compl.”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In addition, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) (ECF No. 2). The Court granted Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed IFP[1] but simultaneously dismissed his Complaint for failing to state a claim and as frivolous for raising claims duplicative of an action he had already filed. (ECF No. 3.) Plaintiff was granted leave to file an amended complaint to correct the deficiencies of pleading identified in the Court's Order. (Id. at 10-11.)

         Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) on November 14, 2019. (ECF No. 4). However, the claims raised in the FAC are vague and do not appear to relate to the claims that he raised in his original Complaint. Moreover, Plaintiff no longer names San Diego Harbor Police, San Diego Sheriff Department, or the Metropolitan Transit System as Defendants. He does, however, add the State of California, City of San Diego, William D. Gore, and Captain Buchanan as Defendants.

         II. Sua Sponte Screening per 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A

         A. Standard of Review

         As the Court previously informed Plaintiff, because he is a prisoner and is proceeding IFP, his FAC requires a pre-answer screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(b). Under these statutes, the Court must sua sponte dismiss a prisoner's IFP complaint, or any portion of it, which is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks damages from defendants who are immune. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)); Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)). “The purpose of [screening] is ‘to ensure that the targets of frivolous or malicious suits need not bear the expense of responding.'” Nordstrom v. Ryan, 762 F.3d 903, 920 n.1 (9th Cir. 2014) (citations omitted).

         “The standard for determining whether a plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standard for failure to state a claim.” Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012); see also Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (noting that screening pursuant to § 1915A “incorporates the familiar standard applied in the context of failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)”). Rule 12(b)(6) requires a complaint “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted); Wilhelm, 680 F.3d at 1121.

         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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] ... a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. The “mere possibility of misconduct” or “unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusation[s]” fall short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id.; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).

         B. Rule 8

         “Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and that “each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-78. In addition to the grounds for sua sponte dismissal set out in § 1915(e)(2)(B), the district court may also dismiss a complaint for failure to comply with Rule 8 if it fails to provide the defendant fair notice of the wrongs allegedly committed. See McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1178-80 (9th Cir. 1996) (upholding Rule 8(a) dismissal of complaint that was “argumentative, prolix, replete with redundancy, and largely irrelevant”); Cafasso, United States ex rel. v. General Dynamics C4 Systems, Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1059 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing cases upholding Rule 8 dismissals where pleadings were “verbose, ” “confusing, ” “distracting, ambiguous, and unintelligible, ” “highly repetitious, ” and comprised of “incomprehensible rambling, ” while noting that “[o]ur district courts are busy enough without having to penetrate a tome approaching the magnitude of War and Peace to discern a plaintiff's claims and allegations.”).

         Here, Plaintiff's FAC contains virtually no specific factual allegations. Moreover, his FAC is disjointed and difficult to discern what claims he is attempting to make. While “legal conclusions” like “cruel and unusual punishment” “can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations, ” lest the Plaintiff face dismissal. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         The Court finds Plaintiff's FAC violates Rule 8 of the FRCP by failing to provide Defendants fair notice of the wrongs allegedly committed. Accordingly, the Court DISMISSES the entire Complaint on Rule 8 grounds.

         C. 42 ...


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