Lancaster v. King County et al

Filing 5

ORDER DECLINING TO SERVE COMPLAINT AND GRANTING PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO AMEND by Hon. Mary Alice Theiler. (cc: plaintiff with Amended 1983 Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint form)(ST)

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 6 7 8 DAVID JAMES LANCASTER, Plaintiff, 9 10 v. 11 KING COUNTY, Case No. C17-0459-RSM-MAT ORDER DECLINING TO SERVE COMPLAINT AND GRANTING PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO AMEND Defendant. 12 13 14 Plaintiff David Lancaster has submitted to the Court for filing a civil rights complaint under 15 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court, having reviewed plaintiff’s complaint, hereby finds and ORDERS 16 as follows: 17 (1) Plaintiff is currently confined at the King County Regional Justice Center in Kent, 18 Washington. (See Dkt. 1-1 at 2.) He asserts in his complaint that after arriving at the King County 19 Jail in Seattle on the morning of February 25, 2017, he began experiencing severe chest pain and 20 difficulty breathing. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff states that he notified a corrections officer of his need for 21 medical care, but no medical attention was forthcoming. (Id.) Instead, plaintiff claims, he was 22 transferred to solitary confinement for three days and never received any medical care. (Dkt. 1-1 23 at 3.) Plaintiff maintains that he is now scared to ask for medical attention, or to grieve this issue, ORDER DECLINING TO SERVE COMPLAINT AND GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND - 1 1 because the last time he requested care he was put in solitary confinement. (Id.) Plaintiff identifies 2 King County as the lone defendant in this action, and he asks that the County be ordered to pay 3 for him to be seen by a cardiologist of his choosing, and that the County pay all related medical 4 expenses. (See id. at 2, 4.) (2) 5 In order to sustain a civil rights action, a plaintiff must show (1) that he suffered a 6 violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute, and (2) that the 7 violation was proximately caused by a person acting under color of state or federal law. See 8 Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991). To satisfy the second prong, a plaintiff 9 must allege facts showing how individually named defendants caused, or personally participated 10 in causing, the harm alleged in the complaint. See Arnold v. IBM, 637 F.2d 1350, 1355 (9th Cir. 11 1981). 12 A defendant cannot be held liable solely on the basis of supervisory responsibility or 13 position. Monell v. Department of Social Servs., of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 691-694 14 (1978). Rather, a plaintiff must allege that a defendant’s own conduct violated the plaintiff’s civil 15 rights. City of Canton, Ohio v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 385-90 (1989). A local government unit or 16 municipality can be sued as a “person” under § 1983. Monell, 436 U.S. at 691. However, a 17 municipality cannot be held liable under § 1983 solely because it employs a tortfeasor. Id. A 18 plaintiff seeking to impose liability on a municipality under § 1983 must identify a municipal 19 “policy” or “custom” that caused his or her injury. Bryan County Commissioners v. Brown, 520 20 U.S. 397, 403 (1997) (citing Monell 436 U.S. at 694). 21 (3) The Court declines to order that plaintiff’s complaint be served because plaintiff 22 fails to allege any viable claim against King County, the only defendant named in this action. The 23 County may not be held liable in this civil rights action solely because it employs individuals ORDER DECLINING TO SERVE COMPLAINT AND GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND - 2 1 whom plaintiff believes caused him harm. If plaintiff wishes to pursue a claim against King 2 County, he must identify the constitutional harm he believes he suffered, he must identify the 3 County policy or custom which caused that harm, and he must set forth specific facts 4 demonstrating the County’s involvement in the alleged civil rights violation. 5 Plaintiff may also elect to pursue claims against individual employees of King County if 6 he believes specific employees caused him harm. If plaintiff wishes pursue claims against 7 individual King County employees, he must clearly identify each employee he wishes to proceed 8 against, he must identify the constitutional right violated by the conduct of each employee, and he 9 must set forth specific facts demonstrating that each named employee personally participated in 10 11 causing him harm of federal constitutional dimension. (4) Plaintiff may file an amended complaint curing the above noted deficiencies within 12 thirty (30) days of the date on which this Order is signed. The amended complaint must carry the 13 same case number as this one. If no amended complaint is timely filed, the Court will recommend 14 that this action be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) for failure to state a claim upon 15 which relief may be granted. 16 Plaintiff is advised that an amended pleading operates as a complete substitute for an 17 original pleading. See Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1262 (9th Cir.) (citing Hal Roach 18 Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., Inc., 896 F.2d 1542, 1546 (9th Cir. 1990) (as amended), 19 cert. denied, 506 U.S. 915 (1992). Thus, any amended complaint must clearly identify each 20 intended defendant, the constitutional claim(s) asserted, the specific facts which plaintiff believes 21 support each claim against each defendant, and the specific relief requested. 22 23 (5) The Clerk is directed to send plaintiff the appropriate forms so that he may file an amended complaint. The Clerk is further directed to send copies of this Order to plaintiff and to ORDER DECLINING TO SERVE COMPLAINT AND GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND - 3 1 2 the Honorable Ricardo S. Martinez. DATED this 29th day of March, 2017. 3 A 4 Mary Alice Theiler United States Magistrate Judge 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 ORDER DECLINING TO SERVE COMPLAINT AND GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND - 4

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