Lester v. San Francisco County Jail et al

Filing 4

ORDER of Dismissal With Leave To Amend (Amended Complaint due by 8/4/2011). Signed by Judge William Alsup on 7/5/11. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service)(fj, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/6/2011)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 14 15 16 17 18 ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND Plaintiff, vs. 12 13 No. C 11-3123 WHA (PR) STEPHEN DWAYNE LESTER, 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 SAN FRANCISCO SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT; SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY BOARD OF PAROLE; SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT; SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY JAIL; PUBLIC DEFENDER’S OFFICE; KAMALA HARRIS; DEPUTY NUE; BAILIFF HERNANDEZ; VILASKA NGUYEN; MICHAEL MARTEL; ARAMARK, Defendants. 19 / 20 INTRODUCTION 21 Plaintiff, an inmate in the San Francisco County Jail, filed a pro se civil rights complaint 22 23 under 42 U.S.C. 1983. He has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in a separate 24 order. Based upon a review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915A, it is dismissed with 25 leave to amend. DISCUSSION 26 27 28 A. STANDARD OF REVIEW Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek 1 redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. 2 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims 3 which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek 4 monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. at 1915A(b)(1),(2). Pro 5 se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 6 (9th Cir. 1990). 7 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the statement need only '"give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . . claim is and the grounds 10 upon which it rests."'" Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S. Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (citations omitted). 11 For the Northern District of California claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." "Specific facts are not necessary; the 9 United States District Court 8 Although in order to state a claim a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a 12 plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than 13 labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not 14 do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative 15 level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007) (citations omitted). A 16 complaint must proffer "enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Id. 17 at 1974. 18 To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: 19 (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) 20 that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. 21 West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). 22 B. 23 LEGAL CLAIMS The complaint contains a substantial number of improperly joined claims. "A party 24 asserting a claim, counterclaim, crossclaim, or third-party claim may join, as independent or 25 alternative claims, as many claims as it has against an opposing party." Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a). 26 The rules are somewhat different when, as here, there are multiple parties. Multiple parties may 27 be joined as defendants in one action only "if any right to relief is asserted against them jointly, 28 severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, 2 1 or series of transactions or occurrences; and any question of law or fact common to all 2 defendants will arise in the action." Id. at 20(a)(2). 3 The upshot of these rules is that “multiple claims against a single party are fine, but 4 Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 5 2.” George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). "Unrelated claims against different 6 defendants belong in different suits." Ibid. 7 Plaintiff makes a wide range of allegations about the conditions of his confinement at 8 the county jail between January 23 and February 8, 2011, against eleven named defendants. His 9 allegations include: being assigned an upper bunk, inadequate medical care, denial of the phones, interference with mail, verbal harassment, interference with his criminal court 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 proceedings, unsanitary food, a missing lunch, and denial of envelopes. Plaintiff alleges that 12 these violations of his rights were carried out by different defendants, and they do not arise out 13 of the same transaction, occurrence or series of occurrences, and do not involve a common 14 question of law or fact. The complaint is simply a recitation of seemingly all the things that 15 plaintiff has found objectionable during the course of his stay in the county jail. "A buckshot 16 complaint that would be rejected if filed by a free person – say, a suit complaining that A 17 defrauded plaintiff, B defamed him, C punched him, D failed to pay a debt, and E infringed his 18 copyright, all in different transactions – should be rejected if filed by a prisoner." Ibid. 19 Accordingly, the defendants and claims in the complaint are improperly joined. 20 Although a court may strike individual claims that are not properly joined, it cannot be 21 determined here which of the many claims plaintiff may wish to keep and which he wants to 22 omit. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 21. Thus, instead of dismissing certain claims and defendants, the 23 complaint is now dismissed with leave to file an amended complaint. The amended complaint 24 must comply with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 18 and 20 concerning joinder of claims and 25 defendants, and if it does not then this action will be dismissed. 26 27 28 CONCLUSION 1. The complaint is DISMISSED with leave to amend, as indicated above, within thirty days from the date of this order. The amended complaint must include the caption and civil 3 1 case number used in this order (No. C 11-3123 WHA (PR)) and the words AMENDED 2 COMPLAINT on the first page. Because an amended complaint completely replaces the 3 original complaint, plaintiff must include in it all the claims he wishes to present. See Ferdik v. 4 Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1262 (9th Cir. 1992). He may not incorporate material from the 5 original complaint by reference. Failure to amend within the designated time and in accordance 6 with this order will result in the dismissal of these claims. 7 2. It is the plaintiff's responsibility to prosecute this case. Plaintiff must keep the court 8 informed of any change of address by filing with the clerk a separate paper headed “Notice of 9 Change of Address.” Papers intended to be filed in this case should be addressed to the clerk and not to the undersigned. Petitioner also must comply with the curt's orders in a timely 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 fashion. Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of this action for failure to prosecute 12 pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). 13 IT IS SO ORDERED. 14 Dated: July 5 , 2011. 15 WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 16 17 18 19 G:\PRO-SE\WHA\CR.11\LESTER3123.LTA.wpd 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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