Fields v. Bouria et al

Filing 14

ORDER Dismissing Complaint For Failure To State A Claim And As Frivolous Pursuant To 28 U.S.C. § 1915(E)(2)(B). Signed by Judge Janis L. Sammartino on 11/18/2022.(All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(alns)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 MARCUS B. FIELDS, CDCR No. V-46240, Case No.: 3:22-CV-01656 JLS (MSB) vs. ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM AND AS FRIVOLOUS PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (ECF No. 2) 17 ALBERT BOURIA, Pfizer CEO; JOHN OR JANE DOES, Scientist, Chemist, Physicist 18 Defendants. 13 14 15 16 Plaintiff, 19 20 21 Presently before the Court is Plaintiff Marcus B. Fields’s Complaint (“Compl.,” ECF 22 No. 2). Having carefully considered Plaintiff’s Complaint and the appliable law, the Court 23 DISMISSES WITH PREJUDICE Plaintiff’s Complaint for the reasons that follow. 24 BACKGROUND 25 Marcus B. Fields (“Plaintiff”), currently incarcerated at the Richard J. Donovan 26 Correctional Facility (“RJD”), is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis (“IFP”) in this 27 civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff initially filed this action in the 28 Southern District of New York on September 16, 2022. See Compl. Chief United States 1 3:22-CV-01656 JLS (MSB) 1 District Judge Laura Taylor Swain granted Plaintiff’s Motion to Proceed IFP but later 2 transferred the matter to this Court on October 19, 2022. See ECF Nos. 4, 9. 3 Plaintiff claims that he was administered a “harmful tainted Pfizer Covid-19 4 vaccine” on March 4, 2021. Compl. at 5. Plaintiff’s allegations are not entirely clear, but 5 he appears to claim that the vaccine caused damage to his heart. Id. Plaintiff names the 6 Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) for Pfizer and unnamed “scientist, chemist, and 7 physicist” as Defendants. Id. at 1. Plaintiff seeks damages in the amount of $365,000,000 8 in damages. Id. at 7. 9 10 SCREENING PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) I. Standard of Review 11 Because Plaintiff is a prisoner and is proceeding IFP, his Complaint requires a pre- 12 answer screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Under this statute, the Court must 13 sua sponte dismiss a prisoner’s IFP complaint, or any portion of it, which is frivolous, 14 malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks damages from defendants who are immune. See 15 Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126–27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (discussing 28 16 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)). “The purpose of [screening] is ‘to ensure that the targets of frivolous 17 or malicious suits need not bear the expense of responding.’” Nordstrom v. Ryan, 762 F.3d 18 903, 920 n.1 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting Wheeler v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., 689 F.3d 19 680, 681 (7th Cir. 2012)). 20 “The standard for determining whether a plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon 21 which relief can be granted under Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as the Federal Rule 22 of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standard for failure to state a claim.” Watison v. Carter, 668 23 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012). Rule 12(b)(6) requires that a complaint “contain sufficient 24 factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” 25 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). 26 Detailed factual allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the 27 elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” 28 Id. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] . . . a context2 3:22-CV-01656 JLS (MSB) 1 specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and 2 common sense.” Id. The “mere possibility of misconduct” or “unadorned, the defendant- 3 unlawfully-harmed me accusation[s]” fall short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id.; 4 see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). 5 II. 42 U.S.C. § 1983 6 To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential 7 elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was 8 violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the 9 color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Naffe v. Frye, 789 F.3d 1030, 10 1035–36 (9th Cir. 2015). 11 As stated above, liability under § 1983 is limited to individuals “acting under the 12 color of state law.” See West, 487 U.S. at 48. Plaintiff does not allege that these corporate 13 Defendants are state actors. “[P]rivate parties are not generally acting under color of state 14 law,” and the Court must engage in a “fact bound” analysis to decide if “the conduct 15 allegedly causing the deprivation of a federal right [is] fairly attributable to the state.” Price 16 v. Hawaii, 939 F.2d 702, 707–08 (9th Cir. 1991) (quotation omitted). Here, there are no 17 plausible allegations linking the Defendants to any state action. 18 Although there are several approaches to determining whether a private actor’s 19 actions are attributable to the state, most are clearly inapplicable to the conduct alleged by 20 Plaintiff. Plaintiff does not allege any facts that might give rise to the inference that 21 Defendants entered into “an agreement or ‘meeting of the minds’ to violate [Plaintiff’s] 22 constitutional rights.” United Steelworkers of Am. v. Phelps Dodge Corp., 865 F.2d 1539, 23 1540–41 (9th Cir. 1989). Nor does Plaintiff contend that there is such “substantial 24 coordination and integration” between Defendants and an unnamed state actor that they 25 have a “symbiotic relationship.” See Brunette v. Humane Soc’y of Ventura Cnty., 294 F.3d 26 1205, 1213 (9th Cir. 2002). Plaintiff also does not allege that Defendants are engaged in 27 functions that have been “‘traditionally the exclusive prerogative of the state.’” Id. at 1214 28 (quoting Rendell-Baker v. Kohn, 457 U.S. 830, 842 (1982)). 3 3:22-CV-01656 JLS (MSB) 1 Accordingly, Plaintiff’s claim against Defendants must be dismissed sua sponte and 2 in its entirety for failing to state a claim upon which § 1983 relief can be granted pursuant 3 to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). 4 Even if the Plaintiff could identify individuals who allegedly violated his 5 constitutional rights while acting under color of state law, Plaintiff’s claims are also subject 6 to sua sponte dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) because they are duplicative of 7 claims he raised previously in another civil action he filed in this Court which is currently 8 pending, Fields v. Newsom, et al., S.D. Cal. Civil Case No. 22-cv-0044-LL-MDD (“Fields 9 I”). A court “‘may take notice of proceedings in other courts, both within and without the 10 federal judicial system, if those proceedings have a direct relation to matters at issue.’” 11 Bias v. Moynihan, 508 F.3d 1212, 1225 (9th Cir. 2007), quoting Bennett v. Medtronic, Inc., 12 285 F.3d 801, 803 n.2 (9th Cir. 2002). 13 In Fields I, Plaintiff alleged that while he was housed at RJD he received a Pfizer 14 Covid-19 vaccine that was “tainted” and caused him “hurt, pain, and irreversible side 15 effects.” (Fields I, ECF No. 12, First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) at 4.) This matter is 16 currently pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. See id., ECF No. 23. 17 “A prisoner’s claims are considered frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) if they 18 “merely repeat[] pending or previously litigated claims.” Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 19 1103, 1105 n.2 (9th Cir. 1995). Because Plaintiff is currently litigating the same claims 20 presented in this action as he is in S.D. Cal. Civil Case No. 22-cv-0044-LL-MDD, the 21 Court must dismiss this case without leave to amend as frivolous. See Cato, 70 F.3d at 22 1105 n.2; Adams v. Cal. Dep’t of Health Servs., 487 F.3d 684, 688–89 (9th Cir. 2007) 23 (“[I]n assessing whether the second action is duplicative of the first, we examine whether 24 the causes of action and relief sought, as well as the parties or privies to the action, are the 25 same.”), overruled on other grounds by Taylor v. Sturgell, 553 U.S. 880, 904 (2008). 26 /// 27 /// 28 /// 4 3:22-CV-01656 JLS (MSB) 1 III. Leave to Amend 2 The Court finds that granting leave to amend would be futile. See Gonzalez v. 3 Planned Parenthood, 759 F.3d 1112, 1116 (9th Cir. 2014) (“‘Futility of amendment can, 4 by itself, justify the denial of . . . leave to amend.’”) (quoting Bonin v. Calderon, 59 F.3d 5 815, 845 (9th Cir. 1995)). 6 CONCLUSION 7 For the reasons discussed, the Court: 8 1) 9 DISMISSES this civil action without leave to amend for failure to state a claim upon which § 1983 relief can be granted and as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 10 1915(e)(2)(B). 11 2) 12 13 14 15 16 CERTIFIES that an IFP appeal would not be taken in good faith pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), and 3) DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to enter a final judgment of dismissal and close the file. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: November 18, 2022 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5 3:22-CV-01656 JLS (MSB)

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