Blake v. Santa Clara Department of Correction et al

Northern District of California, cand-4:2015-cv-01239

ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND. Signed by Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. on 6/5/2015.

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 SHAWNCEY BLAKE, 7 Case No. 15-cv-01239-HSG (PR) Plaintiff, 8 ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE v. TO AMEND 9 SANTA CLARA DEPARTMENT OF 10 CORRECTION, et al., 11 Defendants. 12 Northern District of California United States District Court 13 INTRODUCTION 14 Plaintiff, an inmate at the Santa Clara County Jail, filed this pro se civil rights complaint 15 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that he was disciplined in retaliation for pursuing an 16 administrative grievance. Plaintiff is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in a separate 17 order. For the reasons stated below, the complaint is dismissed with leave to amend. 18 DISCUSSION 19 A. Standard of Review 20 Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek 21 redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. 22 § 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of 23 the complaint, if the complaint "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief 24 may be granted," or "seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." Id. 25 § 1915A(b). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed, however. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police 26 Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). 27 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the 28 claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." "Specific facts are not necessary; the 1 statement need only "'give the defendant fair notice of what the. . . claim is and the grounds upon 2 which it rests.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S. Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (citations omitted). Although 3 in order to state a claim a complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a plaintiff's 4 obligation to provide the grounds of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and 5 conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. . . . 6 Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell 7 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint 8 must proffer "enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 1974. 9 To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: 10 (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that 11 the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. 12 Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Northern District of California United States District Court 13 B. Legal Claims 14 Plaintiff alleges that, in February 2015, he filed an administrative grievance in an attempt 15 to exhaust administrative remedies for purposes of a separate lawsuit. The grievance was in the 16 form of a letter sent to the division commander with "confidential legal mail" written on the 17 outside of the envelope. He alleges that although he followed proper procedures for submitting 18 the grievance, he received a major rule infraction for disobeying an order from a jail official. He 19 claims that by punishing him for seeking an administrative remedy, defendants violated his First 20 Amendment right to access the courts and retaliated against him for exercising his First 21 Amendment rights. When liberally construed, these claims are cognizable. 22 The problem for plaintiff, however, is that the complaint does not state a claim against the 23 defendants he identifies by name. Plaintiff names Division Commander Hoyt, Chief of 24 Corrections John Hirokawa, and Deputy Hogan as defendants but adds no facts linking them to his 25 allegations of wrongdoing. Even at the pleading stage, "[a] plaintiff must allege facts, not simply 26 conclusions, that show that an individual was personally involved in the deprivation of his civil 27 rights." Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998); Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 28 628, 634 (9th Cir. 1988). Plaintiff's allegations will be dismissed with leave to amend to show 2 1 what actions each defendant took or failed to take that caused the First Amendment violations. 2 Sweeping conclusory allegations will not suffice; plaintiff must instead "set forth specific facts as 3 to each individual defendant's" deprivation of protected rights. Leer, 844 F.2d at 634. Plaintiff is 4 advised that a supervisor is not liable merely because the supervisor is responsible, in general 5 terms, for the actions of another. Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989); Ybarra v. 6 Reno Thunderbird Mobile Home Village, 723 F.2d 675, 680-81 (9th Cir. 1984). A supervisor may 7 be liable only on a showing of (1) personal involvement in the constitutional deprivation or (2) a 8 sufficient causal connection between the supervisor's wrongful conduct and the constitutional 9 violation. Henry A. v. Willden, 678 F.3d 991, 1003-04 (9th Cir. 2012). 10 Finally, plaintiff has not alleged any conduct by defendant Santa Clara Department of 11 Corrections, which is a department of the municipality of Santa Clara County. To impose liability 12 under Section 1983 against a municipal entity such as Santa Clara County for a violation of Northern District of California United States District Court 13 constitutional rights, a plaintiff must show: (1) that the plaintiff possessed a constitutional right of 14 which he or she was deprived; (2) that the municipality had a policy; (3) that this policy amounts 15 to deliberate indifference to the plaintiff's constitutional rights; and (4) that the policy is the 16 moving force behind the constitutional violation. Plumeau v. School Dist. #40 County of Yamhill, 17 130 F.3d 432, 438 (9th Cir. 1997); see Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978). 18 Plaintiff does not allege any policy by Santa Clara County that allegedly led to the actions against 19 him. Plaintiff may attempt to cure this deficiency in the amended complaint, if he can do so in 20 good faith. 21 CONCLUSION 22 For the foregoing reasons, the complaint is dismissed with leave to amend, as indicated 23 above, within thirty (30) days of this order. The pleading must be simple and concise and must 24 include the caption and civil case number used in this order (15-1239 HSG (PR)) and the words 25 AMENDED COMPLAINT on the first page. Failure to file a proper amended complaint 26 within the designated time will result in the dismissal of this action. The Clerk of the Court 27 shall send plaintiff a blank civil rights form along with his copy of this order. 28 Plaintiff is advised that an amended complaint supersedes the original complaint. "[A] 3 1 plaintiff waives all causes of action alleged in the original complaint which are not alleged in the 2 amended complaint." London v. Coopers & Lybrand, 644 F.2d 811, 814 (9th Cir. 1981). 3 Defendants not named in an amended complaint are no longer defendants. See Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 4 963 F.2d 1258, 1262 (9th Cir. 1992). 5 IT IS SO ORDERED. 6 Dated: 6/5/2015 7 ______________________________________ HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. 8 United States District Judge 9 10 11 12 Northern District of California United States District Court 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4