Taylor v. Meadows et al
ORDER granting 1 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis; denying 2 , 5 Motions for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction, and Permanent Injunction; denying without prejudice 3 Motion to have the U.S. Marshals serve the d efendants; and permitting Plaintiff to file Amended Complaint. On or before September 14, 2012, Ms. Taylor may file an amended complaint. Signed by Judge Dana L. Christensen on 8/15/2012. Mailed to Taylor. (Attachments: # 1 Amended Complaint Form) (TAG, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
AUG 15 2012
PATRICK E. DUFFY, CLERK
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
DEPUTY CLERK. MISSOULA
Cause No. CV 12-00072-H-DLC-RKS
KATE MAJIVER, et aI.,
This matter is pending on Plaintiff Jackie Taylor's motion to proceed in
forma pauperis (Dkt. 1), Complaints for Temporary Restraining Order and
Preliminary Injunction (Dkt. 2), Motion for Marshals to Serve Defendants (Dkt.
3), and Supplemental Complaints for Temporary Restraining Order and
Preliminary Injunction (Dkt. 5).
Ms. Taylor has now filed seven form complaints for temporary restraining
order, preliminary injunction, and permanent injunction. But she only filed one
motion to proceed in forma pauperis and one motion to serve defendants each of
which list the three sets of defendants named in the original complaints. The
complaints all arise out of the allegation that Ms. Taylor has been denied access to
public services and as such have been construed as one case.
The motion to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted. The motions for
temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction will be denied. Finally,
the motion to serve defendants will be denied without prejudice. Ms. Taylor will
be given an opportunity to file an amended complaint.
II. Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
Ms. Taylor has submitted a declaration which the Court finds sufficient to
make the showing required by 28 U.S.c. §1915(a). Accordingly, the request to
proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.
Plaintiff Jackie Taylor is a resident of Helena, Montana and is proceeding
without counsel. The named defendants are Cooperative Health Center-Kate
Mogiver (Dkt. 2, p. 1); Medicaid-David Meadows, Dan Peterson (Dkt. 2, p. 5);
Adult and Aging Services-John Macroe (Dkt. 2, p. 9); Anna Whiting
Sorrell-Director of DPHHS (Dkt. 5, p. 1); Josh Laframboise-Director ofthe
Helena Housing Authority (Dkt. 5, p. 3); Ann Wakeman (Dkt. 5, p. 5); Missoula
Food Bank (Dkt. 5, p. 5); Cynthia DOE-Director of the Missoula Food Bank (Dkt.
5, p. 5); Montana Food Network (Dkt. 5, p. 5); Kate Dirvon-Interim Director of
the Montana Food Network (Dkt. 5, p. 5); Pat Steinwand (Dkt. 5, p. 5); Coriean
Troeney (Dkt. 5, p. 5); and the following individuals from the Rocky Mountain
Development Council-Jean Leue, Wendy DOE, Kurt DOE, Walter DOE, and
Elaine DOE-pay center (Dkt. 5, p. 7).
Ms. Taylor's allegations are so vague and unintelligible that it is impossible
for the Court to determine if she has stated a cognizable claim for relief. In her
first form complaint (Dkt. 2, pp. 1-4), she contends that Cooperative Health Center
is "refusing to live up to their federally mandated + '504 C.R monies' in providing
me certain services and their refusal to provide or complete processes they'd
already begun with me." She alleges the center had begun trying to get her
medication (5mg brand name Ritalin) and eyeglasses, etc. (Dkt. 2, p. 1). But she
contends she has been denied all state and federal programs and her attempts to
resolve these issues have been ignored. She alleges her eyes are being damaged
because she has 12-year-old glasses and she is unable to get new glasses.
In her second form complaint (Dkt. 2, pp. 5-8), Ms. Taylor names Adult and
Aging Services-John Macroe as a defendant. She contends Mr. Macroe is the
senior legal person. Although it is not clear, it appears that Ms. Taylor has been
instructed to go through Mr. Macroe when she is attempting to get services but her
requests have been ignored. (Dtk 2, p. 5).
In the third form complaint (Dkt. 2, pp. 9-12), Ms. Taylor names
Medicaid-David Meadows and Dan Peterson as defendants. David Meadows is
listed as an account manager for government health care. Dan Peterson is with
DPHHS medicaid quality assurance. There are no clear allegations against these
In the fourth form complaint (Dkt. 5, pp. 1-2), Ms. Taylor names Anna
Whiting Sorrell, Director of the DPHHS. She contends she has submitted 30
letters of dire need and Director Sorrell has refused to help her in clear cut matters
In the fifth form complaint (Dkt.5, pp. 3-4), Ms. Taylor names Josh
Laframboise, Director ofthe Helena Housing Authority. She contends Mr.
Laframboise denied her any response to all her written requests regarding
problems with shelters, care, and Housing Authority employees.
In the sixth form complaint (Dkt. 5, pp. 5-6), Ms. Taylor names Ann
Wakeman, the Missoula Food Bank, Cynthia DOE-Director of the Missoula Food
Bank, Montana Food Network, Kate Dirvon-Interim Director of the Montana
Food Network, Pat Steinwand, and Coriean Troeney. She makes a number of
allegations against these individuals and agencies arising from her entitlement to
appropriate food. She states she is literally starving and malnourished.
In the seventh form complaint (Dkt. 5, pp. 7-8), Ms. Taylor names the
following individuals from the Rocky Mountain Development Council-Jean Leue,
Wendy DOE, Kurt DOE, Walter DOE, and Elaine DOE-pay center as defendants.
She contends these defendants have called the police on her twice for no reason
but to harass her and have made no effort to respond to her requests regarding her
special diet, housing assistance, and job search
Ms. Taylor makes no clear statement ofwhat relief she seeks. She simply
asks the Court to help her with restoring her life and being treated the same as
Ms. Taylor's requests for temporary restraining order and preliminary
injunction will be denied for several reasons. First, Ms. Taylor's allegations are so
vague and unintelligible it is impossible to determine whether she has stated a
cause of action at alL She makes general claims that she is being denied federal
and state public assistance. But she has not set forth why she feels she has been
wrongfully denied benefits, she does not specifically allege what acts of
Defendants allegedly violated her rights, and she does not specifically state what
relief she seeks from a restraining order or preliminary injunction. The Court
cannot issue a temporary restraining order without a clear understanding of what
relief Ms. Taylor seeks.
Secondly, Ms. Taylor did not comply with the notice provisions of Rule 65
ofthe Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A preliminary injunction may only be
issued on notice to the adverse party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(a)(I). A temporary
restraining order may be granted without written or oral notice to the adverse party
or that party's attorney if: (1) it clearly appears from specific facts shown by
affidavit or by the verified complaint that immediate and irreparable injury, loss or
damage will result to the applicant before the adverse party or the party's attorney
can be heard in opposition, and (2) the applicant's attorney (plaintiff herself in this
case, as she proceeds pro se) certifies in writing the efforts, if any, which have
been made to give notice and the reasons supporting the claim that notice should
not be required. Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b). Ms. Taylor has not satisfied either
requirement. Ms. Taylor gives no explanation why this matter should be held ex
parte, that is, without serving the opposing parties.
Third, Ms. Taylor has not made the requisite showing for a preliminary
injunction or temporary restraining order. "The proper legal standard for
preliminary injunctive relief requires a party to demonstrate 'that he [she] is likely
to succeed on the merits, that he [she] is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the
absence ofpreliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his [her} favor,
and that an injunction is in the public interest.'" Storrnans. Inc. v. Selecky. 586
F.3d 1109, 1127 (9th Cir. 2009)(guoting Winter v. Natural Resources Defense
CounciL Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 129 S.Ct. 365,374 (9th Cir. 2009).
Ms. Taylor has failed to make such a showing. First, she has not
demonstrated that she is likely to succeed on the merits in the underlying matter.
As set forth above, it is not even clear on what basis Ms. Taylor brings her claims.
On the first page of her filing, she does make mention of"504 c.R. Monies."
(Dkt. 2, p. I). Liberally construed, this may be a reference to Section 504 ofthe
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 729 ("Section 504"). Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination against otherwise qualified individuals
on the basis ofhandicap by any program or activity receiving federal fmancial
assistance. To establish a violation of Section 504, a plaintiff must show that (l)
she is handicapped within the meaning of Section 504; (2) she is otherwise
qualified for the benefit or services sought; (3) she was denied the benefit or
services solely by reason of her handicap; and (4) the program providing the
benefit or services receives federal financial assistance. Lovell v. Chandler, 303
F.3d 1039, 1052 (9th Cir. 2002).
Ms. Taylor's filings do not even begin to address the merits ofher
underlying case, and provide no evidence in support of her claims.
In addition, Ms. Taylor has not convincingly shown that she is likely to
suffer irreparable hann in the absence of injunctive relief. "Speculative injury
does not constitute irreparable injury sufficient to warrant granting a preliminary
injunction." Caribbean Marine Servs. Co. v. Baldrige, 844 F.2d 668, 674 (9th Cir.
1988), citing Goldie's Bookstore. Inc. v. Superior Court, 739 F.2d 466,472 (9th
Cir. 1984). As the United States Supreme Court set forth in the Winter decision,
the mere possibility of irreparable injury is insufficient-a plaintiff seeking a
preliminary injunction must demonstrate that she is likely to suffer irreparable
hann. Winter, 129 S.Ct. at 374. Ms. Taylor has not identified any facts to suggest
she will suffer irreparable hann.
Lastly, Ms. Taylor has not demonstrated that the balance of equities tips in
her favor or that an injunction is in the public interests. Thus, her request for
temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction will be denied.
VI. Leave to Amend
Regardless of the denial of the motion for temporary restraining order, Ms.
Taylor cannot proceed in this action without a clearer statement of her claims. As
she is proceeding in fonna pauperis, the Complaint is subject to screening under
28 U.S.c. § 1915, which provides: "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion
thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the
court determines that ... (B) the action or appeal-(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii)
fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief."
A complaint is frivolous, if it "lacks an arguable basis either in law or in
fact." Neitzke v. Williams. 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A complaint fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted if a plaintiff fails to allege the "grounds"
of her "entitlement to relief." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. __,127
S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007) (quotation omitted). This requirement demands "more
than labels and conclusions, [or] a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause
of action." Id. A complaint must" 'give the defendant fair notice of what the ...
claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.''' Erickson v. Pardus, 550 U.S.
_ _, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007)(quoting Bell, 127 S.Ct. at 1964 (quoting
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957»).
Additionally, "[a] document filed pro se is 'to be liberally construed,' and 'a
pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.' " Erickson, 127 S.Ct. at
2200; Cf. Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 8(t) ("All pleadings shall be so construed as to do
substantial justi ce").
Although the statute requires a dismissal for the reasons stated, it does not
deprive the district court of its discretion to grant or deny leave to amend. Lopez
v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000). The court can decline to grant
leave to amend if"it determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by
the allegation of other facts." Id. (quoting Doe v. United States, 58 F.3d 494, 497
(9th Cir. 1995». Leave to amend is liberally granted to pro se litigants unless it is
"absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by
amendment." Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987) (citing
Broughton v. Cutter Labs., 622 F.2d 458,460 (9th Cir. 1980».
Ms. Taylor's filing is so vague and unintelligible that the Court cannot
determine from the record before it what claims Ms. Taylor is trying to present.
Thus, the Complaint is in violation of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted. Rule 8 sets forth the general rules of pleading and provides:
(a) Claim for Relief. A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:
(1) a short and plain statement ofthe grounds for the court's
jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the
claim needs no new jurisdictional support;
(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief; and
3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in
the alternative or different types of relief.
Ms. Taylor has failed to comply with this rule. She will therefore be given an
opportunity to submit an amended complaint. If she chooses to do so, she must
comply with Rule 8 and submit only a "short and plain statement" of her claims
and a demand for relief.
In any amended complaint, Ms. Taylor must allege specific facts to
demonstrate the personal involvement of any named defendant. A complaint must
set forth the specific facts upon which a plaintiff relies in claiming the liability of
each defendant. Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 8(a)(2). Even a liberal interpretation of a pro
se civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of a claim that the
plaintiff failed to plead. rvey v. Board of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir.
1982). To establish liability pursuant to Section 1983, a plaintiff must set forth
facts demonstrating how each defendant caused or personally participated in
causing a deprivation of the plaintiffs protected rights. Arnold v. IBM, 637 F.2d
1350, 1355 (9th Cir. 1981).
Any amended complaint must consist of short, plain statements telling the
Court: (1) the rights Ms. Taylor believes were violated; (2) the name of the
defendant(s) who violated the rights; (3) exactly what each defendant did or failed
to do; (4) how the action or inaction ofthat defendant is connected to the violation
of Ms. Taylor's rights; (5) when the alleged actions took place; and (6) what injury
Ms. Taylor suffered because ofthat defendant's conduct. Rizzo v. Goode, 423
U.S. 362, 371-72,377 (1976).
Ms. Taylor must repeat this process for each defendant. Conclusory
statements are not enough, nor are declarations that all defendants violated some
law or statute. Instead, Ms. Taylor must provide specific factual allegations for
each element of each of her claims, and must state with specificity to which
defendants each of her claims apply. If Ms. Taylor fails to affirmatively link the
conduct of a defendant with an injury suffered, the allegation against that
defendant will be dismissed for failure to state a claim.
In filing an amended complaint, Ms. Taylor must clearly define the terms
she uses and clearly describe the claims she wishes to bring. Any further vague
and undefined allegations will be recommended for dismissal. The federal rules
contemplate brevity. See Galbraith v. County of Santa Clara, 307 F.3d 1119, 1125
(9th Cir. 2002); Fed.R.Clv.P. 8; cf. Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(b). Ms. Taylor's claims must
be set forth in short and plain terms, simply, concisely, and directly. See
Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506,514 (2002); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8. Ms.
Taylor should not include preambles, introductions, argument, speeches,
explanations, stories, griping, vouching, evidence, attempts to negate possible
defenses, summaries, and the like in her amended complaint. McHenry v. Renne,
84 F.3d 1172, 1180 (9th Cir. 1996); see also Crawford-El v. Britton, 523 U.S. 574,
597 (1998) (reiterating that "firm application of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure is fully warranted" in prisoner cases).
The amended complaint must be complete in itself without reference to any
prior pleading. Once Ms. Taylor files an amended complaint, it supercedes the
original pleadings and those pleadings no longer serve a function in the case.
Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1262 (9th Cir. 1992); Hal Roach Studios v.
Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d 1542, 1546 (9th Cir. 1990); Loux v. Rhay, 375
F.2d 55, 57 (9th Cir. 1967). Therefore, in an amended complaint, as in an original
complaint, each claim and the involvement of each defendant must be sufficiently
alleged. Only the original document must be filed; copies are not necessary.
Any amended complaint must be retyped or rewritten in its entirety on the
court-approved form and may not incorporate any part of the original Complaint
by reference. If Ms. Taylor fails to use the court-approved form, the Court may
strike the amended complaint and recommend the dismissal of this action. Some
of Ms. Taylor's handwritten pleadings (particularly her supplemental pleadings)
are difficult to read. Ms. Taylor must make an effort to type or write her amended
complaint in more legible handwriting.
At all times during the pendency of this action, Ms. Taylor SHALL
IMMEDIATELY ADVISE the Court of any change of address and its effective
date. Such notice shall be captioned "NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS."
The notice shall contain only information pertaining to the change of address and
its effective date. The notice shall not include any motions for any other relief.
Failure to file a NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS may result in the dismissal
of the action for failure to prosecute pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 4l(b).
Based on the foregoing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Ms. Taylor's
motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Dkt. l) is granted. The Clerk shall edit the
text of the docket entry for the Complaint to remove the word "LODGED" and the
Complaint is deemed filed on August 8, 2012.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Ms. Taylor's Motions for a Temporary
Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction, and Permanent Injunction (Dkt. 2, 5)
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Ms. Taylor's Motion to have the U.S.
Marshals serve the defendants (Dkt. 3) is denied without prejudice. This matter is
subject to prescreening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and until that process is
complete the complaint will not be served upon Defendants.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that on or before September 14,2012 Ms.
Taylor may file an amended complaint and the Clerk of Court is directed to
provide her a fonn for filing an amended complaint. Failure to use this fonn may
result in the dismissal of this action.
DATED this 15th day of August, 2012.
Dana L. Christensen, District Judge
United States District Court
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