Walker v. Dyer

Filing 5

ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND. Signed by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on 1/11/17. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(fs, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/11/2017)

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1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 4 ROGER LEE WALKER, Case No. 16-cv-04988-YGR (PR) Plaintiff, 5 ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND v. 6 7 FORMER SHERIFF GLENN E. DYER, et al., 8 Defendants. 9 I. INTRODUCTION Plaintiff, who is currently in custody at the Coalinga State Hospital, is a civil detainee 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 under California’s “Sexually Violent Predators Act,” California Welfare & Institutions Code 12 § 6600 et seq. In 2014 and 2016, Plaintiff was housed at the Santa Rita Jail for a “period of 13 several months while awaiting court proceedings.” Dkt. 1 at 3. Plaintiff has filed this pro se civil 14 rights complaint alleging that his constitutional rights were violated by former Sheriff Glenn E. 15 Dyer1 and several unnamed deputies who worked at “Unit 3” at Santa Rita Jail (“SRJ”) during his 16 incarceration there on unspecified dates in 2014 and 2016. Plaintiff claims that he was “placed in 17 administrative segregation each time and treated harshly and punitively for no other reason that 18 being a civil detainee under the 6600 law.” Id. 19 Plaintiff’s complaint is now before the Court for review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915, 20 along with his motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, which will be granted in a separate 21 Order. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages as well as injunctive relief. 22 23 24 25 Venue is proper because the events giving rise to Plaintiff’s claims are alleged to have occurred at SRJ, which is located in this judicial district. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). For the reasons set forth below, the Court DISMISSES the complaint with leave to amend to correct certain deficiencies addressed below. 26 27 1 28 The Court notes that the former Sheriff Dyer passed away in 1999, and the current Alameda County Sheriff is Gregory J. Ahern. 1 2 II. DISCUSSION A. Standard of Review Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek 3 redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. 4 § 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims 5 which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek 6 monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. at 1915A(b)(1),(2). Pro se 7 pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th 8 Cir. 1990). 9 Liability may be imposed on an individual defendant under section 1983 if the plaintiff can 10 show that the defendant proximately caused the deprivation of a federally protected right. See 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 634 (9th Cir. 1988); Harris v. City of Roseburg, 664 F.2d 1121, 12 1125 (9th Cir. 1981). A person deprives another of a constitutional right within the meaning of 13 section 1983 if he does an affirmative act, participates in another’s affirmative act or omits to 14 perform an act which he is legally required to do, that causes the deprivation of which the plaintiff 15 complains. Leer, 844 F.2d at 633; Robins v. Meecham, 60 F.3d 1436, 1442 (9th Cir. 1995). To 16 state a claim a plaintiff must show a specific constitutional or federal guarantee safeguarding the 17 interests that have been invaded. See Paul v. Davis, 424 U.S. 693, 697 (1976). 18 19 Although a plaintiff is not required to plead “specific factual details not ascertainable in advance of discovery,” Gibson v. United States, 781 F.2d 1334, 1340 (9th Cir. 1986), he does not 20 state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 if the allegations in the complaint are mere conclusions, 21 Kennedy v. H & M Landing, Inc., 529 F.2d 987, 989 (9th Cir. 1976); Fisher v. Flynn, 598 F.2d 22 663, 665 (1st Cir. 1979). A complaint must contain sufficient allegations to put defendants fairly 23 on notice of the claims against them. McKeever v. Block, 932 F.2d 795, 798 (9th Cir. 1991). A 24 complaint that fails to state the specific acts of the defendant which violated the plaintiff’s rights 25 fails to meet the notice requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Hutchinson v. 26 United States, 677 F.2d 1322, 1328 n.5 (9th Cir. 1982). 27 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the 28 2 1 claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” “Specific facts are not necessary; the 2 statement need only ‘“give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . . claim is and the grounds 3 upon which it rests.”’” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citations omitted). Although 4 in order to state a claim a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a plaintiff’s 5 obligation to provide the ‘grounds of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief’ requires more than labels and 6 conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do . . . . 7 Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell 8 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554-55 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must 9 proffer “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. B. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 As mentioned above, Plaintiff is a civil detainee who is no longer housed at SRJ. He Legal Claims 12 complains of constitutional violations that stem from his incarceration at SRJ during unknown 13 dates in 2014 and 2016. In his one-paragraph “Statement of Claim” section, Plaintiff alleges that 14 he was “placed in administrative segregation each time and treated harshly and punitively for no 15 other reason that being a civil detainee under the 6600 law.” Dkt. 1 at 3. While Plaintiff names 16 former Sheriff Dyer, the Court notes above that this individual passed away in 1999. Moreover, 17 Plaintiff provides insufficient facts, e.g., name of the deputies as well as specific dates of the 18 alleged negative treatment to support these vague and general allegations. Accordingly, this Court 19 has no choice but to dismiss the complaint with leave to amend. 20 Plaintiff’s pleading is too short on facts for the Court to determine whether any of his 21 constitutional rights may have been violated. Plaintiff will be given leave to amend so that he may 22 attempt to allege facts showing how his constitutional rights have been violated. Also, for each 23 instance of a constitutional violation, he should name each person who violated his constitutional 24 rights, describe what each person did to violate his rights, state where the violation occurred, and 25 when certain violations occurred, i.e., indicate the exact dates of the alleged negative treatment in 26 administrative segregation. In his amended complaint, Plaintiff must provide a more detailed 27 description of his claims in order for the Court to determine whether enough is alleged to find the 28 pleading adequate to state a claim for relief and require a response from Defendants. 3 Accordingly, the Court finds that the Plaintiff’s allegations fail to state a claim, and this 1 2 complaint will be dismissed with leave to amend to give him an opportunity to cure the 3 aforementioned deficiencies. 4 III. CONCLUSION 5 For the foregoing reasons, the Court orders as follows: 6 1. The complaint is DISMISSED WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, as indicated above, 7 within twenty-eight (28) days of the date this Order is filed. The amended complaint must 8 include the caption and civil case number used in this Order (C 16-4988 YGR (PR)) and the words 9 “AMENDED COMPLAINT” on the first page. Because an amended complaint completely replaces the prior pleadings, Plaintiff may not incorporate material from the prior pleadings by 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 reference but must include in the amended complaint all the claims and allegations he wishes to 12 present. See Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1262 (9th Cir. 1992). Failure to amend within 13 the designated time and in accordance with this Order will result in the dismissal of this 14 action. 15 2. It is Plaintiff’s responsibility to prosecute this case. Plaintiff must keep the Court 16 informed of any change of address and must comply with the Court’s orders in a timely fashion. 17 Pursuant to Northern District Local Rule 3-11 a party proceeding pro se whose address changes 18 while an action is pending must promptly file a notice of change of address specifying the new 19 address. See L.R. 3-11(a). The Court may dismiss without prejudice a complaint when: (1) mail 20 directed to the pro se party by the Court has been returned to the Court as not deliverable, and 21 (2) the Court fails to receive within sixty days of this return a written communication from the pro 22 se party indicating a current address. See L.R. 3-11(b). 23 24 25 26 27 3. The Clerk of the Court shall send Plaintiff a blank civil rights complaint form along with his copy of this Order. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: January 11, 2017 ______________________________________ YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS United States District Judge 28 4

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