Meeker v. California State Parole Office et al

Filing 9

ORDER GRANTING Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis; ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, signed by Magistrate Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on 4/26/2015. Amended Complaint due within 21 days. (Hall, S)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 DAVID MEEKER, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 v. CALIFORNIA STATE PAROLE OFFICE and AGENT BEARD, 15 Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Case No.: 1:14-cv-01953 - LJO - JLT ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND 16 17 David Meeker initiated this action by filing a complaint against the California State Parole 18 Office and Parole Agent Beard, alleging the defendants are liable for violations of the “POC”1 and 19 Americans with Disabilities Act. (Doc. 1.) For the following reasons, Plaintiff’s motion to proceed in 20 forma pauperis is GRANTED. However, because Plaintiff fails to allege facts sufficient to support his 21 claims for relief, his complaint is DISMISSED with leave to amend. 22 I. 23 Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis As a general rule, all parties instituting any civil action, suit or proceeding in a United States 24 District Court must pay a filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). However, the Court may authorize the 25 commencement of an action “without prepayment of fees and costs of security therefor, by a person 26 who submits an affidavit that . . . the person is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor.” 28 27 28 1 Based upon the allegations of the complaint, it appears the “POC” is the “Parole Outpatient Clinic” program, which assists parolees with mental health problems. 1 1 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Therefore, an action may proceed despite a failure to prepay the filing fee only if 2 leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) is granted by the Court. See Rodriguez v. Cook, 169 F.3d 3 1178, 1177 (9th Cir. 1999). The Court has reviewed the application and finds Plaintiff satisfies the 4 requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Therefore, Plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis is 5 GRANTED. 6 II. Screening Requirement 7 When a plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis, the Court is required to review the complaint, and 8 shall dismiss the case at any time if the Court determines that the allegation of poverty is untrue, or the 9 action or appeal is “frivolous, malicious or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or . . . 10 seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2). A 11 claim is frivolous “when the facts alleged arise to the level of the irrational or the wholly incredible, 12 whether or not there are judicially noticeable facts available to contradict them.” Denton v. Hernandez, 13 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992). 14 III. 15 Pleading Standards General rules for pleading complaints are governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A 16 pleading stating a claim for relief must include a statement affirming the court’s jurisdiction, “a short 17 and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief; and . . . a demand for the 18 relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 19 8(a). The Federal Rules adopt a flexible pleading policy, and pro se pleadings are held to “less 20 stringent standards” than pleadings by attorneys. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521-21 (1972). 21 A complaint must give fair notice and state the elements of the plaintiff’s claim in a plain and 22 succinct manner. Jones v. Cmty Redevelopment Agency, 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984). Further, a 23 plaintiff must identify the grounds upon which the complaint stands. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 24 U.S. 506, 512 (2002). The Supreme Court noted, 25 26 27 28 Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. A pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). 2 1 Conclusory and vague allegations do not support a cause of action. Ivey v. Board of Regents, 673 F.2d 2 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982). The Court clarified further, [A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” [Citation]. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. [Citation]. The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement,” but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. [Citation]. Where a complaint pleads facts that are “merely consistent with” a defendant’s liability, it “stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to relief.’ 3 4 5 6 7 8 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citations omitted). When factual allegations are well-pled, a court should 9 assume their truth and determine whether the facts would make the plaintiff entitled to relief; legal 10 conclusions in the pleading are not entitled to the same assumption of truth. Id. The Court “may act on its own initiative to note the inadequacy of a complaint and dismiss it 11 12 for failure to state a claim.” See Wong v. Bell, 642 F.2d 359, 361 (9th Cir. 1981) (citation omitted). 13 Leave to amend a complaint may be granted when the deficiencies of the complaint may be cured. 14 Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127-28 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). 15 IV. Discussion and Analysis 16 Plaintiff alleges that he “was to receive bus passes to get around” because he is 63 years old 17 “with [a] number of physical and mental issue[s].” (Doc. 1 at 3.) According to Plaintiff, under the 18 POC program and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) he was “to receive assistance which 19 was not given.” (Id.) He asserts that he needed to go to the police station to register, but “was told to 20 walk 10+ miles which was not possible due to [Plaintiff’s] disability.” (Id.) Because Plaintiff failed to 21 go to the police station, Agent Beard arrested him. (Id. at 4.) 22 As an initial matter, Plaintiff has not shown he has any constitutional right to assistance with the 23 POC. The POC was established to assist with parolees’ mental health treatment following a period of 24 incarceration. See California Dep’t of Corrections & Rehabilitation, “Division of Adult Parole 25 Operations—A Five-Year Roadmap to Our Future,” available at 26 index.html (last visited Apr. 23, 2015); see also Louis v. Astrue, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89834 *41 27 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 12, 2011). Given that the purpose of the POC is to help parolees with mental health 28 treatment, there is no indication that Plaintiff is entitled to receive transportation under the POC. 3 1 Furthermore, Plaintiff fails to allege facts sufficient to support a claim under the ADA. Title II 2 of the ADA provides in relevant part: “no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such 3 disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or 4 activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity.” 42 U.S.C. § 12132. 5 To state a cognizable claim for a violation of Title II, a plaintiff allege “(1) [he] is a qualified individual 6 with a disability; (2) [he] was excluded from participation in or otherwise discriminated against with 7 regard to a public entity’s services, programs, or activities, and (3) such exclusion or discrimination 8 was by reason of [his] disability.” Lovell, 303 F.3d 1052 (citing Weinrich v. Los Angeles County 9 Metro. Transp. Autho., 114 F.3d 976, 978 (9th Cir. 1997). Here, there are no facts alleged that support 10 a determination that transportation is service provided by the State Parole Board, or that Plaintiff was 11 denied access to transportation because of his disability. Finally, this Court has determined that a plaintiff is unable to state a claim against a parole 12 13 officer for failure to assist him with obtaining transportation. See Wallace v. Jones, 2013 U.S. Dist. 14 LEXIS 71368 (E.D. Cal May 2013). In Wallace, the plaintiff asserted that the “defendants failed to 15 assist him with obtaining substance abuse treatment, employment, transportation, clothing, food, and 16 shelter.” Id. at *7. The Court explained, “Although the state must provide constitutionally adequate 17 food, clothing and shelter for incarcerated prisoners, there is no duty for parole officers to ensure that 18 parolees obtain public assistance, housing or medical care.” Id. at *7-8 (citing Cady v. Becarri, 2012 19 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173592 (D. Mont. Aug. 23, 2012); DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dep’t. of Social 20 Services, 489 U.S. 189 (1989)). 21 V. Conclusion and Order 22 Given the deficiencies of the complaint, the Court will provide Plaintiff with one opportunity 23 to clarify his claims and set forth facts sufficient to support the claims for relief. See Noll v. Carlson, 24 809 F.2d 1446, 1448-49 (9th Cir. 1987). The amended complaint must reference the docket number of 25 assigned to this case and must be labeled “First Amended Complaint.” 26 Plaintiff is advised that an amended complaint supersedes the original complaint. Forsyth v. 27 Humana, Inc., 114 F.3d 1467, 1474 (9th Cir. 1997); King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567 (9th Cir. 1987). 28 The amended complaint must be “complete in itself without reference to the prior or superseded 4 1 pleading.” Local Rule 220. Thus, once Plaintiff files an amended complaint, Plaintiff’s original 2 complaint will not serve any function in the case. Plaintiff is warned that “[a]ll causes of action alleged 3 in an original complaint which are not alleged in an amended complaint are waived.” King, 814 F.2d at 4 567 (citing London v. Coopers & Lybrand, 644 F2d 811, 814 (9th Cir. 1981)); accord. Forsyth, 114 5 F.3d at 1474. 6 Based upon the foregoing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: 7 1. Plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED; 8 2. Plaintiff’s complaint is DISMISSED WITH LEAVE TO AMEND; 9 3. Within twenty-one days from the date of service of this order, Plaintiff SHALL file an amended complaint curing the deficiencies identified by the Court in this order; and 10 11 4. If Plaintiff fails to comply with this order, the action will be dismissed for failure to obey a court order. 12 13 14 15 16 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: April 26, 2015 /s/ Jennifer L. Thurston UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?