Candler v. Stainer, et al.

Filing 13

ORDER signed by District Judge Troy L. Nunley on 2/27/2017 ADOPTING IN PART 11 Findings and Recommendations; DISMISSING the 1 Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint; DISMISSING Defendants C.D.C.R., CSP - Sacramento with prejudice; ORDERING the plaintiff to file the attached Notice of Amendment and a First Amended Complaint within thirty (30) days; DIRECTING the Clerk of Court to send the plaintiff a copy of this order, a prisoner civil rights complaint form, and copies of the 1 Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint, 11 Findings and Recommendations, and 12 Objections to Findings and Recommendations; CAUTIONING the plaintiff that a failure to timely file a First Amended Complaint may result in the dismissal of this action. (Michel, G.)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 KEITH CANDLER, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 No. 2:15-cv-00969-TLN-CMK v. ORDER MILES STAINER, et al., 15 Defendants. 16 Plaintiff, a prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 17 18 1983 on May 5, 2015. The matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 19 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302. On January 10, 2017, the Magistrate Judge filed 20 findings and recommendations recommending that the Court dismiss Plaintiff’s claim without 21 leave to amend. (ECF No. 11 at 8.) Plaintiff timely filed objections on January 18, 2017. (ECF 22 No. 12.) In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C) and Local Rule 304(f), this 23 24 Court has conducted a de novo review of this case. For the reasons detailed below, the Court 25 adopts in part the findings and recommendations and dismisses Plaintiff’s Complaint. The Court, 26 however, grants Plaintiff leave to amend his Complaint because the Court does not agree that it is 27 impossible for Plaintiff to cure the deficiencies in his Complaint. 28 //// 1 1 I. 2 Plaintiff alleges that two state agencies and several individuals have not provided 3 adequate medical care for his mental illnesses or not provided care at all. (ECF No. 1 at 3-4, 8.) 4 FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND Plaintiff alleges that some named Defendants “knew or should have known” that Plaintiff 5 required further mental health services and that they “deliberately” refused to provide it. (ECF 6 No. 1 at 5, 8.) Plaintiff also alleges that these Defendants are liable for failure to properly train 7 and supervise their subordinates. (ECF No. 1 at 5, 8.) 8 Plaintiff alleges that Defendant doctor met with him for only 10 minutes per appointment 9 and refused to discuss entering him into a program Plaintiff wished to attend. (ECF No. 1 at 7.) 10 Plaintiff also alleges that the Defendant doctor refused his requests for a “higher level of care” 11 and to attend a medical hearing that Plaintiff states he was “entitled” to attend. (ECF No. 1 at 7.) 12 Plaintiff alleges that he has “received documents” documenting that other named 13 Defendants “denied plaintiff adequate mental health care.” (ECF No. 1 at 6.) Plaintiff alleges 14 that “these defendants also forged and/or doctored” his medical records to indicate that he 15 received proper medical care. (ECF No. 1 at 6.) Plaintiff attaches as Exhibit D five pages that he 16 labels “Proof of Falsified mental Health Records.” Id. at 31-37. Plaintiff alleges that one 17 Defendant forced him to wear tight restraints during out of cell meetings. (ECF No. 1 at 6.) 18 The Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff has not yet pled sufficient facts in his Complaint 19 to give Defendants the required fair notice of the claims against them and the grounds on which 20 those claims rest. The Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff, therefore, could not proceed beyond 21 the screening stage and his Complaint should be dismissed. (ECF No. 11 at 8); Bell Atlantic v. 22 Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This Court agrees and adopts the portion of the findings and 23 recommendations which dismisses Plaintiff’s Complaint. 24 The Magistrate Judge concluded that Plaintiff is not entitled to leave to amend his 25 Complaint prior to dismissal of the action because it did not appear possible that Plaintiff could 26 cure the deficiencies by amending his Complaint. (ECF No. 11 at 8.) This Court is not 27 convinced that it is impossible for Plaintiff to cure the deficiencies. The Court declines to adopt 28 that portion of the findings and recommendation and grants Plaintiff leave to amend. 2 1 II. 2 The court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a STANDARD OF LAW 3 governmental entity, or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). 4 The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof that: (1) is frivolous or malicious; (2) fails 5 to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief from a defendant 6 who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b)(1), (2). 7 Federal courts must liberally construe a pro se pleading. Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 8 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987). “This rule is particularly important in civil rights cases…[B]efore 9 dismissing an action, a court should always be certain that other less drastic alternatives are not 10 available.” Id. “A district court should grant leave to amend … unless it determines that the 11 pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts’” Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 12 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (quoting Doe v. United States, 58 F.3d 484, 497 (9th Cir. 13 1995)); see also Gardner v. Marino, 563 F.3d 981, 990 (9th Cir. 2009) (finding no abuse of 14 discretion in denying leave to amend when amendment would be futile). The court must explain 15 how the plaintiff’s complaint is deficient and allow the plaintiff the opportunity to cure those 16 deficiencies. Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1130–31. 17 18 19 III. ANALYSIS A. Plaintiff has leave to amend his Complaint. A court should grant leave to amend “if it appears at all possible that the plaintiff can 20 correct the defect” by alleging other facts. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d at 1130–31 (finding a 21 pleading could be cured by naming the correct defendants). This Court is not convinced that it is 22 impossible for Plaintiff to cure the deficiencies in his Complaint by alleging additional facts. 23 Plaintiff must plead sufficient facts to give Defendants proper notice of the claims against 24 them and the grounds on which they rest. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Stating a conclusion is not 25 sufficient. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A pleading is insufficient if it offers mere “labels and 26 conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. 27 at 555; see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Plaintiff must instead allege facts from which the Court 28 can reasonably infer that any violation occurred. 3 1 For example, insofar as Plaintiff asserts a claim for inadequate mental health care, he 2 alleges that he “received medical documents” documenting that Defendants provided inadequate 3 care. (ECF No. 1 at 6.) Plaintiff, however, has either not provided those documents or has not 4 explained how the documents he did file constitute medical documents proving inadequate care. 5 Furthermore, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants “forged and/or doctored” Plaintiff’s 6 medical records to falsely indicate that Plaintiff received proper mental health care following a 7 “suicidal incident.” (ECF No. 1 at 6.) Plaintiff attaches as Exhibit D five pages that he labels 8 “Proof of Falsified Mental Health Records.” (ECF No. 1 at 31-37.) These pages appear to be 9 routine medical records. Plaintiff has not explained in what way these records are falsified. 10 Plaintiff asserts claims against the California State Prison – Sacramento and the California 11 Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Both Defendants are state agencies. Hale v. 12 Arizona, 993 F.2d 1387, 1398-99 (9th Cir. 1993). The Eleventh Amendment proscribes suits in 13 federal court against a state, its agencies, or its departments. Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. 14 Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100, 104 S. Ct. 900, 908 (1984); Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 15 (9th Cir.1989). These Defendants are immune from this suit and are dismissed with prejudice. 16 Plaintiff states that he requires discovery. (ECF No. 12 at 3, 4, 6.) As explained above, 17 the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), and dismiss those that 18 are frivolous, fail to state a claim, or seek monetary relief from an immune defendant. 28 U.S.C. 19 §§ 1915A(b)(1), (2). Plaintiff included two immune Defendants in his Complaint and he has not 20 pled sufficient facts to give the remaining Defendants notice of the claims against them and the 21 bases for those claims. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Until Plaintiff cures these deficiencies, this 22 action cannot advance beyond the screening stage. 23 24 B. Plaintiff’s amended complaint must be complete in itself. Under Local Rule 220, Plaintiff’s amended complaint must be “complete in itself without 25 reference to the prior…pleading.” The Court cannot refer to information in the original 26 Complaint to complete Plaintiff’s amended complaint. Local Rule 220. Plaintiff must, in his 27 amended complaint, allege facts that show how the conduct of each named Defendant is 28 connected to each of Plaintiff’s claims. Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371 (1976). 4 1 IV. 2 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: 3 CONCLUSION 1. 4 The findings and recommendations filed January 10, 2017, (ECF No. 11), are adopted in part; 5 2. Plaintiff’s Complaint (ECF No. 1) is dismissed; 6 3. Defendants California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and California State Prison – Sacramento, are dismissed with prejudice; 7 8 4. 9 Plaintiff shall file on the docket a completed Notice of Amendment (attached) and a First Amended Complaint within thirty (30) days of this 10 Order; 11 Plaintiff’s amended complaint must be labeled “First Amended 12 Complaint.” Plaintiff’s amended complaint must bear the docket number 13 assigned to this case. Plaintiff’s amended complaint must comply with the 14 requirements of the Civil Rights Act, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 15 and the Local Rules of Practice. 16 5. The Clerk of Court is directed to send Plaintiff the following: 17 a. A copy of this Order; 18 b. A copy of the form used by prisoners for filing civil rights complaints; 19 c. A copy of Plaintiff’s Complaint (ECF. No 1) and a copy of Plaintiff’s 20 Objections (ECF. No. 12); 21 22 23 24 d. 6. A copy of the Findings and Recommendations (ECF No. 11); Plaintiff’s failure to timely file a First Amended Complaint in accordance with this Order may result in dismissal of this action. Dated: February 27, 2017 25 26 Troy L. Nunley United States District Judge 27 28 5 1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 8 KEITH CANDLER, 9 Plaintiff, 10 11 No. 2:15-cv-00969-TLN-CMK v. NOTICE OF AMENDMENT MILES STAINER, et al., 12 Defendants. 13 14 15 Plaintiff hereby submits the attached in compliance with the Court’s Order filed ______________. 16 17 _____________ First Amended Complaint 18 19 20 __________________________ ________________________________ Date Plaintiff 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 6

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