Coyle v. Unknown

Filing 40

ORDER DISMISSING CASE. The Court dismisses Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint and this civil action in its entirety for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)( 1), denies leave to further amend as futile, certifies that an IFP appeal of this Order would not be taken in good faith pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), and directs the Clerk of Court to enter judgment and close the file. Signed by Judge Larry Alan Burns on 3/6/17.(All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(kas)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 JUSTIN COYLE, Booking No. 16156062, ORDER DISMISSING CIVIL ACTION FOR FAILING TO STATE A CLAIM PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) AND 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) Plaintiff, 13 vs. 14 15 Case No.: 3:15-cv-02867-LAB-AGS UNKNOWN, et al., Defendants. 16 17 18 JUSTIN COYLE (“Plaintiff”), who was a pretrial detainee at George Bailey 19 Detention Facility (“GBDF”) at the time he initiated suit, (see ECF No. 1), but whom has 20 since been transferred to the San Diego Central Jail, where the Court presumes he is 21 either still awaiting trial or sentence, (ECF No. 37), is proceeding pro se in this civil 22 rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis, but has 23 24 dismissed his original (ECF No. 1), and second amended complaints (ECF No. 4) for 25 failing to state a claim with leave to amend. (ECF Nos. 2, 18.) Plaintiff has since 26 unsuccessfully appealed (ECF Nos. 19, 24, 27), and after being granted an extension of 27 time, has now filed his Third Amended Complaint (“TAC”) (ECF No. 34). 28 /// 1 3:15-cv-02867-LAB-AGS 1 Because Plaintiff’s latest pleading still fails to state a claim, the Court now 2 dismisses the entire action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and § 1915A(b)(1) 3 without further leave to amend. 4 Background Plaintiff’s TAC is sparse and, as was true of his original complaint, he identifies no 5 6 individual defendants and he alleges no violations of any specific constitutional right. 7 For example, in “Count One,” Plaintiff claims 5 bags of Maxwell House coffee, various 8 items from 2 “internet purchase hygiene kits” and other miscellaneous items worth 9 $126.55 were taken from him on October 7, 2015, when he was extracted from his cell. 10 (ECF No. 34 at 1.) In “Count Two,” Plaintiff claims he was “assaulted by two separate 11 SD County Jail staff” while returning from court on January 7, 2016. (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff 12 also claims that afterward, an unidentified nurse “ignored [his] orders … not [to] touch 13 [his] butto[cks],” and “pricked” him with a needle. (Id.) Plaintiff “believe[s] this incident 14 was for humiliation purposes,” and constituted a “sexual attack.” (Id. at 3.) Finally, in 15 “Count Three,” Plaintiff claims he was “falsely imprisoned” for ten days after he was 16 “given an O.R.” on September 29, 2014, by the East County San Diego Superior Court. 17 (Id.) 18 19 20 Discussion A. Legal Standards for Screening per 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b) Because Plaintiff remains a prisoner and is proceeding IFP, his TAC requires a 21 pre-answer screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(b). “The purpose 22 of § 1915A is ‘to ensure that the targets of frivolous or malicious suits need not bear the 23 expense of responding.’” Nordstrom v. Ryan, 762 F.3d 903, 920 n.1 (9th Cir. 2014) 24 (quoting Wheeler v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., 689 F.3d 680, 681 (7th Cir. 2012)). 25 “The standard for determining whether a plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which 26 relief can be granted under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as the Federal Rule of Civil 27 Procedure 12(b)(6) standard for failure to state a claim.” Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 28 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012); see also Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2 3:15-cv-02867-LAB-AGS 1 2012) (noting that screening pursuant to § 1915A “incorporates the familiar standard 2 applied in the context of failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 3 12(b)(6)”). 4 As Plaintiff is now well aware, the Prison Litigation Reform Act requires the Court 5 to review complaints filed by all persons proceeding IFP and by those, like Plaintiff, who 6 are “incarcerated or detained in any facility [and] accused of, sentenced for, or 7 adjudicated delinquent for, violations of criminal law or the terms or conditions of parole, 8 probation, pretrial release, or diversionary program,” “as soon as practicable after 9 docketing.” See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b). Under these screening statutes, 10 the Court must sua sponte dismiss complaints, or any portions of them, which are 11 frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim, or which seek damages from defendants who 12 are immune. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 13 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)); Rhodes v. 14 Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)). 15 All complaints must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that 16 the pleader is entitled to relief.” FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are 17 not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by 18 mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) 19 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). “Determining whether 20 a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] ... a context-specific task that requires 21 the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. The “mere 22 possibility of misconduct” falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id.; see also 23 Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). 24 “When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their 25 veracity, and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” 26 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. The court “ha[s] an obligation where the petitioner is pro se, 27 particularly in civil rights cases, to construe the pleadings liberally and to afford the 28 petitioner the benefit of any doubt,” Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 & n.7 (9th Cir. 3 3:15-cv-02867-LAB-AGS 1 2010), but it “may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled.” 2 Chapman v. Pier 1 Imports (U.S.) Inc., 631 F.3d 939, 954 (9th Cir. 2011) (citations 3 omitted). 4 B. Application to Third Amended Complaint Plaintiff’s TAC suffers from the same critical deficiencies of pleading as his prior 5 6 pleadings and therefore, it must be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) 7 and § 1915A(b)(1). 8 9 As an initial and overall matter, both the Rules of Federal Procedure and the Civil Rights Act require Plaintiff to, at minimum, identify the persons he seeks to sue, and 10 allege at least some non-conclusory facts from which the Court might “draw the 11 reasonable inference” that each defendant has violated the Constitution. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 12 at 676-78. While Rule 8 does not impose a “hyper[-]technical, code-pleading regime,” it 13 “demands more than [the] unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me 14 accusation[s,]” id. at 678, Plaintiff continues to make in this case, despite having the 15 benefit of two prior Orders explaining the deficiencies of his approach. See ECF Nos. 2, 16 18. 17 Specifically, as to any allegedly unauthorized, negligent, or even intentional 18 deprivation of his personal property, Plaintiff was advised such claims could not proceed 19 under § 1983 because the State provides an adequate post-deprivation remedy through the 20 California Tort Claims Act. See ECF No. 18 at 8 (citing Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 21 113, 129-32 (1990); Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984); Barnett v. Centoni, 31 22 F.3d 813, 816-17 (9th Cir. 1994)). Therefore, to the extent Plaintiff continues to contend 23 his coffee, hygiene kits, and other canteen purchases were “taken from [him] and never 24 returned,” (ECF No. 34 at 1), he still fails to state a claim upon which relief may be 25 granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); 1915A(b)(1). 26 Plaintiff’s January 7, 2016 “assault” claims fare no better. See ECF No. 34 at 2. 27 Again, Plaintiff was previously apprised that his failure to offer any “explanation 28 whatsoever” as to the circumstances giving rise to this incident, identify the defendants 4 3:15-cv-02867-LAB-AGS 1 involved, describe the necessity for, type or severity of the force used, or to explain 2 whether he was injured or resisting, was insufficient to support a plausible excessive 3 force claim. (ECF No. 18 at 7-8, citing Kingsley v. Hendrickson, __ U.S. __, 135 S. Ct. 4 2466, 2473 (2015) (noting that excessive force claims alleged by pretrial detainees 5 require allegations that defendants’ application of force was objectively unreasonable).) 6 Plaintiff’s TAC still fails to identify any person who is alleged to have “assaulted” him, 7 and still fails to contain any “factual content that allow the court to draw the reasonable 8 inference that [any] defendant is liable.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (“‘[N]aked assertion[s]’ 9 devoid of ‘further factual enhancement’” are insufficient to “‘state a claim for relief that 10 11 is plausible on its face.’”) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557, 570). Finally, to the extent Plaintiff also claims to have been “falsely imprisoned” for ten 12 days, (ECF No. 34 at 3), he again fails to identify any person who may be held liable for 13 “illegally ke[eping] him” after he alleges to have been ordered released. See Taylor v. 14 List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989) (“Liability under [§] 1983 arises only upon a 15 showing of personal participation by the defendant.”). Even more critically, however, the 16 Court finds this type of claim may not even be brought in a § 1983 action–for it amounts 17 to a challenge against both the length and the validity of his incarceration. A petition for 18 habeas corpus is Plaintiff’s sole judicial remedy when attacking “the validity of the fact 19 or length of ... confinement.” Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 489-90 (1973); Young 20 v. Kenny, 907 F.2d 874, 875 (9th Cir. 1990). 21 Based on this authority, and in light of Plaintiff’s multiple opportunities to fix his 22 pleadings, the Court finds his TAC must now be dismissed without further leave to 23 amend, because he has continually failed to state any plausible claim upon which § 1983 24 relief may be granted. See Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1126-27; Rhodes, 621 F.3d at 1004. 25 26 Conclusion and Order The Court dismisses Plaintiff’s Third Amended Complaint and this civil action in 27 its entirety for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to 28 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1), denies leave to further amend as futile, see 5 3:15-cv-02867-LAB-AGS 1 Hartmann v. CDCR, 707 F.3d 1114, 1130 (9th Cir. 2013) (“A district court may deny 2 leave to amend when amendment would be futile.”), certifies that an IFP appeal of this 3 Order would not be taken in good faith pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), and directs 4 the Clerk of Court to enter judgment and close the file. 5 IT IS SO ORDERED. 6 7 8 9 Dated: March 6, 2017 HON. LARRY ALAN BURNS United States District Judge 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 6 3:15-cv-02867-LAB-AGS

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