(PC) Williams v. Hurlbert et al

Filing 8

ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan on 9/08/21 GRANTING 2 Motion to Proceed IFP. Plaintiff shall pay the statutory filing fee of $350. All payments shall be collected in accordance with the notice to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation filed concurrently herewith. Plaintiffs complaint 1 is dismissed with leave to amend within 30 days from the date of service of this order. (Plummer, M)

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Case 2:21-cv-00891-TLN-EFB Document 8 Filed 09/08/21 Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 JOEL LEE WILLIAMS, JR., 12 13 14 15 No. 2:21-cv-0891-TLN-EFB P Plaintiff, v. ORDER B. HURLBERT, et al., Defendants. 16 17 Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action brought under 42 18 U.S.C. § 1983. In addition to filing a handwritten complaint and a nearly identical but typed 19 version of the same complaint (ECF Nos. 1 & 7), he also filed an application to proceed in forma 20 pauperis (ECF No. 2). 21 22 Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis The court has reviewed plaintiff’s application and finds that it makes the showing required 23 by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) and (2). Accordingly, by separate order, the court directs the agency 24 having custody of plaintiff to collect and forward the appropriate monthly payments for the filing 25 fee as set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) and (2). 26 Screening Standards 27 Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek 28 redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. 1 Case 2:21-cv-00891-TLN-EFB Document 8 Filed 09/08/21 Page 2 of 5 1 § 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion 2 of the complaint, if the complaint “is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which 3 relief may be granted,” or “seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such 4 relief.” Id. § 1915A(b). 5 A pro se plaintiff, like other litigants, must satisfy the pleading requirements of Rule 8(a) 6 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8(a)(2) “requires a complaint to include a short and 7 plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the 8 defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. 9 Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554, 562-563 (2007) (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)). 10 While the complaint must comply with the “short and plaint statement” requirements of Rule 8, 11 its allegations must also include the specificity required by Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 12 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). 13 To avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim a complaint must contain more than “naked 14 assertions,” “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of 15 action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-557. In other words, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of 16 a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 17 678. 18 Furthermore, a claim upon which the court can grant relief must have facial plausibility. 19 Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual 20 content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the 21 misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. When considering whether a complaint states a 22 claim upon which relief can be granted, the court must accept the allegations as true, Erickson v. 23 Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007), and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the 24 plaintiff, see Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). 25 26 Screening Order Plaintiff’s complaint is plainly deficient insofar as it attempts to bring several unrelated 27 claims against different defendants. Plaintiff’s first and second claims (ECF No. 1 at 5-10) allege 28 that on or around October 6, 2019, defendants Hubert, Ginder, and Spiker denied plaintiff due 2 Case 2:21-cv-00891-TLN-EFB Document 8 Filed 09/08/21 Page 3 of 5 1 process in both disciplinary and criminal proceedings charging plaintiff with sexual misconduct. 2 Plaintiff’s third claim (id. at 11-13) links defendant Philips to plaintiff’s loss of his typewriter 3 while confined to administrate segregation between July and October of 2019. Plaintiff’s fourth 4 claim (id. at 14-16) accuses defendant Neves of “comparative negligence” for “failing to act 5 reasonable in protecting plaintiff[’s] substantive right in a prison grievance.” In his fifth claim 6 (id. at 17-18), plaintiff alleges that defendant Abad sexually harassed him on November 11, 2019. 7 In his final claim (id. at 19-21), plaintiff alleges that Hubert “failed to act.” Despite the wordiness 8 of the complaint, the circumstances giving rise to this claim are not at all clear. 9 10 It is well settled that a claimant may not proceed with various unrelated claims against separate defendants: 11 “The controlling principle appears in Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a): ‘A party asserting a claim to relief as an original claim, counterclaim, crossclaim, or third-party claim, may join, either as independent or as alternate claims, as many claims, legal, equitable, or maritime, as the party has against an opposing party.’ Thus multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2.” 12 13 14 15 George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). Here, there appears to be no basis for 16 litigating the due process claims against Hubert, Ginder, and Spiker, the loss of property claim 17 against defendant Neves, and the sexual harassment claim against Abad, all together in this 18 action. These claims seemingly encompass discrete events and separate defendants, rendering 19 them ill-suited to proceed in a single suit. Plaintiff’s complaint will be dismissed with leave to 20 amend. 21 Leave to Amend 22 Plaintiff is cautioned that any amended complaint must identify as a defendant only 23 persons who personally participated in a substantial way in depriving him of his constitutional 24 rights. Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978) (a person subjects another to the 25 deprivation of a constitutional right if he does an act, participates in another’s act or omits to 26 perform an act he is legally required to do that causes the alleged deprivation). Plaintiff may also 27 include any allegations based on state law that are so closely related to his federal allegations that 28 “they form the same case or controversy.” See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). 3 Case 2:21-cv-00891-TLN-EFB Document 8 Filed 09/08/21 Page 4 of 5 1 2 The amended complaint must also contain a caption including the names of all defendants. Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(a). 3 Plaintiff may not change the nature of this suit by alleging new, unrelated claims. See 4 George, 507 F.3d at 607. Nor, as mentioned above, may he bring unrelated claims against 5 multiple defendants. Id. 6 Any amended complaint must be written or typed so that it so that it is complete in itself 7 without reference to any earlier filed complaint. E.D. Cal. L.R. 220. This is because an amended 8 complaint supersedes any earlier filed complaint, and once an amended complaint is filed, the 9 earlier filed complaint no longer serves any function in the case. See Forsyth v. Humana, 114 10 F.3d 1467, 1474 (9th Cir. 1997) (the “‘amended complaint supersedes the original, the latter 11 being treated thereafter as non-existent.’”) (quoting Loux v. Rhay, 375 F.2d 55, 57 (9th Cir. 12 1967)). 13 Any amended complaint should be as concise as possible in fulfilling the above 14 requirements. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Plaintiff should avoid the inclusion of procedural or factual 15 background which has no bearing on his legal claims. He should also take pains to ensure that his 16 amended complaint is as legible as possible. This refers not only to penmanship, but also spacing 17 and organization. Plaintiff should carefully consider whether each of the defendants he names 18 actually had involvement in the constitutional violations he alleges. A “scattershot” approach in 19 which plaintiff names dozens of defendants will not be looked upon favorably by the court. 20 Conclusion 21 Accordingly, it is ORDERED that: 22 1. Plaintiff’s application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 2) is granted; 23 2. Plaintiff shall pay the statutory filing fee of $350. All payments shall be collected 24 in accordance with the notice to the California Department of Corrections and 25 Rehabilitation filed concurrently herewith; 26 3. Plaintiff’s complaint (ECF No. 1) is dismissed with leave to amend within 30 days 27 28 from the date of service of this order; and ///// 4 Case 2:21-cv-00891-TLN-EFB Document 8 Filed 09/08/21 Page 5 of 5 1 2 3 4. Failure to comply with any part of this this order may result in dismissal of this action. DATED: September 8, 2021. 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

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