Dillon v. Washoe County Sheriff's Office, et al.
ORDER - Plaintiff's motion for leave to file first amended complaint (ECF No. 40 ) is GRANTED. The scheduling order (ECF No. 38 ) is hereby VACATED until such time as all new defendants have been served and have filed a responsive pleading. (Deadlines previously set by ECF No. 38 Order terminated.) Signed by Magistrate Judge Valerie P. Cooke on 7/31/2017. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - DRM)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEVADA
MELVIN LEWIS DILLON,
COUNTY OF WASHOE, et al.,
MINUTES OF THE COURT
July 31, 2017
THE HONORABLE VALERIE P. COOKE, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
REPORTER: NONE APPEARING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF(S): NONE APPEARING
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT(S): NONE APPEARING
MINUTE ORDER IN CHAMBERS:
Plaintiff is a prisoner in the custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections (“NDOC”).
(ECF No. 20). On May 30, 2017, Travis Barrick, Esq. entered an appearance for plaintiff in this
case (ECF No. 33). Thereafter, plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint
(ECF No. 40). Defendants filed a response which merely requested the court to screen plaintiff’s
proposed amended complaint (ECF No. 41). Plaintiff filed a reply (ECF No. 42).
The general rule under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A is that “[t]he court shall review . . . a
complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from the governmental entity or
officer or employee of a governmental entity” and “shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss
the complaint, or any portion of the complaint” if it is “frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted; or . . . seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), (b).
Section 1915A does not expressly differentiate between represented and unrepresented
prisoner cases with regard to screening, and there is no authority addressing this issue. This
Court typically does not screen § 1983 prisoner cases where the plaintiff is represented by
counsel. For one thing, the pleading obligations of an attorney under Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 tend to
substantially reduce the incidence of claims that are frivolous or otherwise patently
noncognizable on their face. Pro se litigants are not attorneys and should not be expected to
know how to draft pleadings as if they were. Judicial screening of prisoner complaints serves to
prevent prisoner complaints which are truly difficult, if not impossible to understand, from being
served upon defendants. Screening of represented cases to decipher the allegations and claims is
usually unnecessary. See, e.g., Nordstrom v. Ryan, 762 F.3d 903, 907 n.1 (9th Cir. 2014) (noting
that the “purpose of § 1915A is to ensure that the targets of frivolous or malicious suits need not
bear the expense of responding”); O’Neal v. Price, 531 F.3d 1146, 1153 (9th Cir. 2008)
(explaining that the PLRA’s screening provision was intended to “conserve judicial resources by
authorizing district courts to dismiss nonmeritorious prisoner complaints at an early stage”). As
such, the Court will not screen this counseled prisoner case.
Therefore, plaintiff’s motion for leave to file first amended complaint (ECF No. 40) is
GRANTED. The scheduling order (ECF No. 38) is hereby VACATED until such time as all
new defendants have been served and have filed a responsive pleading.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DEBRA K. KEMPI, CLERK
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