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Pete v. King County

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

June 23, 2017

LARIS PETE, Plaintiff,
KING COUNTY, Defendant.


          BRIAN A TSUCHIDA United States Magistrate Judge

         Pro se plaintiff Laris Pete, who is currently confined at the King County Jail, has filed a 28 U.S.C. § 1983 prisoner civil rights complaint. Dkt. 1-1. The Court declines to serve the complaint because it contains fatal deficiencies that, if not addressed, might lead to a recommendation of dismissal of the entire action for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. However, because plaintiff is proceeding pro se, he is granted leave to file an amended complaint or to show cause why his claim should not be dismissed by July 21, 2017. Any amended complaint will operate as a complete substitute for all previously filed complaints; plaintiff's previous complaint will not be considered.


         Mr. Pete contends he was falsely accused of assault in the third degree and a felony violation of a no contact order. Dkt. 1-1. He contends he was accused of barricading himself, his children, and their mother in their mother's apartment; and he was tear-gassed. Id. He seeks compensation for “being splashed all over the news, ” for being tear-gassed and incarcerated, for having his children removed and placed in the custody of Child Protective Services, for losing his housing, for loss of wages, and for pain and suffering. Id.


         To sustain a civil rights action under § 1983, a plaintiff must show (1) he suffered a violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute, and (2) the violation was proximately caused by a person acting under color of state or federal law. See Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991).

         A. King County as Defendant

         Plaintiff has named King County as a defendant, but he fails to plead facts linking the county to any misconduct. If plaintiff intends to pursue a claim against King County, he must allege facts setting forth how the county's employees or agents acted through an official custom, pattern or policy that permits deliberate indifference to, or violates, his civil rights or that King County ratified the unlawful conduct. Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978).

         B. Other Defendants

         Plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim for relief under § 1983 because it fails to identify a single named individual. Therefore, any amended complaint must include short, plain statements telling the Court: (1) the constitutional right plaintiff believes was violated; (2) the name of the person who violated the right; (3) exactly what that individual did or failed to do; (4) how the action or inaction of that person is connected to the violation of his constitutional rights; and (5) what specific injury plaintiff suffered because of that person's conduct. See Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72 (1976) (emphasis added). Plaintiff must repeat this process for each person he names as a defendant, including any “John Doe” and “Jane Doe” defendants. If plaintiff fails to affirmatively link the conduct of each named defendant with the specific injury suffered by plaintiff, the claim against that defendant will be dismissed for failure to state a claim. Conclusory allegations that a defendant or a group of defendants have violated a constitutional right are not acceptable and will be dismissed.

         Plaintiff is cautioned that any action brought pursuant to § 1983 must name as defendants only persons acting under color of state or federal law. Crumpton, 947 F.2d at 1420. Thus, to the extent plaintiff intends to sue any private media outlets, for example, his claims will also be dismissed.

         C. Challenge to Ongoing State Criminal Action

         Plaintiff is further cautioned that he may not challenge the propriety of his underlying state criminal proceedings in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit. Federal courts will not intervene in a pending criminal proceeding absent extraordinary circumstances. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 45, 46 (1971). The Younger abstention doctrine requires that a district court dismiss a federal action if state proceedings are (1) ongoing, (2) implicate important state interests, and (3) afford the plaintiff an adequate opportunity to raise the federal issue. Columbia Basin Apartment Ass'n v. City of Pasco, 268 F.3d 791, 799 (9th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted). Plaintiff's complaint suggests all of the Younger criteria are present here: the proceedings appear to be ongoing, involve a criminal prosecution that implicates important state interests, and there is nothing to indicate plaintiff cannot raise in his criminal case the same claims he raises here or that there is a danger of great and immediate irreparable harm. It therefore appears that this action would improperly interfere with the state criminal proceeding.

         D. Exhaustion of ...

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