Joseph Christo Gomez v. Cruz et al

Filing 5

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND by Judge John F. Walter, re Complaint (Prisoner Civil Rights), 1 . The Complaint is dismissed with leave to amend. If Plaintiff still wishes to pursue this action, he is granted thirty (30) days from the date of this Order within which to file a First Amended Complaint. The First Amended Complaint shall be complete in itself. It shall not refer in any manner to any prior complaint or to any other document. See Order for details. (dml)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 13 14 15 JOSEPH CHRISTO GOMEZ, ) NO. CV 16-7430-JFW(E) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH ) CRUZ, et al., ) LEAVE TO AMEND ) Defendants. ) ______________________________) 16 17 18 19 For the following reasons, the Complaint is dismissed with leave to amend. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). 20 21 BACKGROUND 22 23 Plaintiff, an inmate at the Los Angeles County Jail, filed this 24 civil rights action on October 4, 2016, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 25 1983. 26 (2) Legal Unit Deputy Cruz; (2) Sergeant Moreno; and (4) Deputies 27 Lascurain and Julliff. 28 official capacities only. Defendants are: (1) Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell; Plaintiff sues all Defendants in their 1 Plaintiff alleges that, in September of 2015, Defendants Cruz and 2 Julliff assertedly failed to provide legal forms Plaintiff requested 3 (Complaint, p. 5). 4 removed without good cause” (id.). 5 allegedly has failed to provide legal forms (id). Plaintiff’s “pro per” status allegedly “was For a year, Los Angeles County 6 7 In June of 2016, Defendant Moreno and another sergeant allegedly 8 had Plaintiff arrested, purportedly in retaliation for “requesting 9 info to obtain a copy of [Plaintiff’s] legal rights & request safety 10 for fear of [Plaintiff’s] life” (id.). Moreno allegedly “disciplined 11 [Plaintiff] in retaliation” (id., p. 3). 12 Defendant McDonnell allegedly has not responded to Plaintiff’s letter 13 of complaint requesting action (id., p. 5). 14 allegedly failed multiple times to file forms, apparently grievance 15 forms (id.). Since June of 2016, Defendant Lascurain 16 17 Plaintiff seeks an order requiring the Los Angeles Sheriff’s 18 Department “to look into policies and procedures that continually 19 violate prisoner[’]s rights,” an order requiring jail officials to 20 provide Plaintiff access to the law library, “relief from 21 incarceration for illegal confinement” due to his alleged inability to 22 file a notice of appeal or a habeas corpus petition, an order 23 permitting Plaintiff “to file late or untimely responses to 24 [Plaintiff’s] conviction and sentencing,” and damages (id., p. 6). 25 /// 26 /// 27 /// 28 /// 2 1 DISCUSSION 2 3 The Court must construe Plaintiff’s official capacity claims 4 against the individual Defendants as claims against the County of Los 5 Angeles. 6 Plaintiff may not sue the County on a theory of respondeat superior, 7 which is not a theory of liability cognizable under 42 U.S.C. section 8 1983. 9 Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676 (2009); Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165-66 (1985). See Connick v. Thompson, 563 U.S. 51, 60 (2011); Ashcroft v. 10 325 (1981). The County may be held liable only if the alleged 11 wrongdoing was committed pursuant to a municipal policy, custom or 12 usage. 13 Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 402-04 (1997); Monell v. New York City Department 14 of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978). 15 do not suffice to plead a municipal liability claim. 16 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (plaintiff must allege more than an “unadorned, 17 the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation”; a pleading that 18 “offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the 19 elements of a cause of action will not do”); Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 20 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011) (en banc), cert. denied, 132 S. Ct. 2101 21 (2012) (“allegations in a complaint or counterclaim may not simply 22 recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient 23 allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the 24 opposing party to defend itself effectively”); see also AE ex rel. 25 Hernandez v. County of Tulare, 666 F.3d 631, 637 (9th Cir. 2012) 26 (pleading standards set forth in Starr v. Baca govern municipal 27 liability claims). 28 plead a cognizable municipal liability claim. See Board of County Commissioners of Bryan County, Oklahoma v. Conclusory allegations See Ashcroft v. The Complaint fails to allege facts sufficient to 3 1 Plaintiff may not sue any supervisor on a theory that the 2 supervisor is liable for the acts of his or her subordinates. See 3 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676; Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. at 4 325. 5 is not “accountable for the misdeeds of [his or her] agents.” 6 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677. Mere knowledge of a subordinate’s 7 alleged misconduct is insufficient. Id. 8 liable in his or her individual capacity “for [his or her] own 9 culpable action or inaction in the training, supervision or control of A supervisor “is only liable for his or her own misconduct,” and A supervisor may be held 10 [his or her] subordinates.” Watkins v. City of Oakland, Cal., 145 11 F.3d 1087, 1093 (9th Cir. 1998) (quoting Larez v. City of Los Angeles, 12 946 F.2d 630, 646 (9th Cir. 1991)). 13 individual Defendant, Plaintiff must allege facts showing that the 14 individual Defendant participated in or directed the alleged 15 violation, or knew of the violation and failed to act to prevent it. 16 See Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998), cert. 17 denied, 525 U.S. 1154 (1999) (“A plaintiff must allege facts, not 18 simply conclusions, that show that an individual was personally 19 involved in the deprivation of his civil rights.”); Taylor v. List, 20 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). To state a claim against any 21 Plaintiff may not bring a civil rights action to challenge his 22 23 conviction or sentence and obtain release from custody. Habeas corpus 24 is the exclusive remedy for a person in state custody who challenges 25 the fact or duration of custody and seeks a speedier release 26 therefrom. 27 /// 28 /// Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973). 4 1 Any claims for damages arising out of an allegedly wrongful 2 conviction or sentence are barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 3 (1994) (“Heck”). 4 in order to pursue a claim for damages arising out of an allegedly 5 unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused 6 by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence 7 invalid, a civil rights plaintiff must prove that the conviction or 8 sentence has been “reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive 9 order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such In Heck, the United States Supreme Court held that, 10 determination, or called into question by a federal court’s issuance 11 of a writ of habeas corpus.” 12 damages bearing that relationship to a conviction or sentence that has 13 not been so invalidated is not cognizable under § 1983.” 14 Plaintiff has not alleged that his conviction or sentence has been so 15 invalidated. Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-87. “A claim for Id. at 487. 16 17 Correctional officials may not retaliate against inmates who 18 exercise their First Amendment rights. See Rhodes v. Robinson, 408 19 F.3d 559, 567-68 (9th Cir. 2005); Hines v. Gomez, 108 F.3d 265, 269 20 (9th Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 524 U.S. 936 (1998) (prisoners may base 21 retaliation claims “on harms that would not raise due process 22 concerns”). 23 Amendment retaliation entails five basic elements: (1) An assertion 24 that a state actor took some adverse action against an inmate 25 (2) because of (3) that prisoner’s protected conduct, and that such 26 action (4) chilled the inmate’s exercise of his First Amendment 27 rights, and (5) the action did not reasonably advance a legitimate 28 correctional goal.” “Within the prison context, a viable claim of First Rhodes v. Robinson, 408 F.3d at 567-68 (citations 5 1 and footnote omitted). Plaintiff’s confused and conclusory 2 allegations of alleged retaliation are insufficient. 3 Owens, 577 Fed. App’x 664 (9th Cir. 2014); see generally Ashcroft v. 4 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. See Guillen v. 5 6 To the extent Plaintiff alleges that any Defendant interfered 7 with Plaintiff’s ability to submit inmate grievances, such allegations 8 are insufficient to state a federal claim. 9 constitutional entitlement to a specified prison grievance procedure.” “[I]nmates lack a separate 10 Ramirez v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 860 (9th Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 11 541 U.S. 1063 (2004) (rejecting claim that prison officials “added 12 things” to plaintiff’s grievance to mask procedural errors allegedly 13 committed at challenged disciplinary hearing); see also Mann v. Adams, 14 855 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 898 (1988). 15 Prison officials’ alleged violations of grievance procedures do not 16 give rise to a federal constitutional claim. 17 at 640; see also Taek Sang Yoon v. Arnett, 385 Fed. App’x 666, 668 18 (9th Cir. 2010) (“the district court properly dismissed any due 19 process claim Yoon sought to allege based on defendants’ alleged 20 failure to respond to, and interference with, Yoon’s administrative 21 grievances, because he has no due process right to the handling of 22 grievances in any particular manner”). Mann v. Adams, 855 F.2d 23 24 To the extent Plaintiff claims that any Defendant violated 25 Plaintiff’s right of access to the courts, the Complaint fails to 26 state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 27 violation of his or her right of access to the courts must demonstrate 28 that the inmate has standing to bring the claim by showing the 6 An inmate claiming a 1 defendant’s actions caused the inmate to suffer “actual injury” in 2 pursuit of either a direct or collateral attack upon a conviction or 3 sentence or a challenge to the conditions of confinement. 4 Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 349 (1996). 5 show that an action was “lost or rejected,” or that presentation of a 6 non-frivolous claim was or is being prevented, as a result of the 7 alleged denial of access. 8 demonstrated by the simple fact that a prisoner is “subject to a 9 governmental institution that was not organized or managed properly.” Under Lewis v. Casey, an inmate must Id. at 356. 10 Id. at 350. 11 Lewis v. Actual injury is not The Complaint does not allege any actual injury as required by Lewis v. Casey. 12 13 To the extent Plaintiff attempts to assert the rights of other 14 inmates, Plaintiff may not do so in this action. A pro se plaintiff 15 may not represent anyone other than himself or herself. 16 v. Burt, 141 F.3d 927, 931 (9th Cir. 1998); Johns v. County of San 17 Diego, 114 F.3d 874, 876 (9th Cir. 1997). See Campbell 18 19 ORDER 20 21 For the foregoing reasons, the Complaint is dismissed with leave 22 to amend. If Plaintiff still wishes to pursue this action, he is 23 granted thirty (30) days from the date of this Order within which to 24 file a First Amended Complaint. 25 complete in itself. 26 complaint or to any other document. 27 Amended Complaint in conformity with this Order may result in the 28 dismissal of this action. The First Amended Complaint shall be It shall not refer in any manner to any prior Failure to file timely a First See Pagtalunan v. Galaza, 291 F.3d 639, 7 1 642-43 (9th Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 538 U.S. 909 (2003) (court may 2 dismiss action for failure to follow court order); Simon v. Value 3 Behavioral Health, Inc., 208 F.3d 1073, 1084 (9th Cir.), amended, 234 4 F.3d 428 (9th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1104 (2001), 5 overruled on other grounds, Odom v. Microsoft Corp., 486 F.3d 541 (9th 6 Cir.), cert. denied, 552 U.S. 985 (2007) (affirming dismissal without 7 leave to amend where plaintiff failed to correct deficiencies in 8 complaint, where court had afforded plaintiff opportunities to do so, 9 and where court had given plaintiff notice of the substantive problems 10 with his claims); Plumeau v. School District #40, County of Yamhill, 11 130 F.3d 432, 439 (9th Cir. 1997) (denial of leave to amend 12 appropriate where further amendment would be futile). 13 14 IT IS SO ORDERED. 15 16 DATED: October 12, 2016. 17 18 19 _______________________________ JOHN F. WALTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 20 21 PRESENTED this 12th day 22 of October, 2016 by: 23 24 25 ___________/S/____ CHARLES F. EICK UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 26 27 28 8

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