United States District Court, W.D. Washington
MELVIN L. JONES, a/k/a McCLELLAN Tulalip Tribes Member T1753, Plaintiff,
TULALIP TRIBES FINANCE & MEMBERS & EMPLOYEES, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DIRECTING CLERK TO RESEND LEAVE TO
A. TSUCHIDA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
L. Jones filed a complaint on August 8, 2017. Dkt. 6. The
complaint was deficient and the Court declined service and
granted him leave to amend his complaint. Dkt. 7. The order
was mailed to Mr. Jones on August 8, 2017. On August 25,
2017, the Court was notified that Mr. Jones did not receive
the order. Dkt. 17. The Court accordingly
1. The Clerk shall provide Mr. Jones a copy of this order;
2. Mr. Jones is directed to submit an amended complaint
curing the deficiencies noted below no later than
September 27, 2017.
L. Jones is presently being held at Western State Hospital.
Dkt. 4. According to Mr. Jones, he was transferred from the
Snohomish County Jail after he was found incompetent to stand
trial. Id. In his pro se complaint he alleges that
various individuals have slandered his name by telling
“everyone” that he is a snitch and confidential
informant, and that they are withholding his membership in
the Tulalip Tribe and refuse to send him monthly per-capita
checks. Mr. Jones requests that all of the named defendants
and organizations be restrained, that he receive all his
per-capita checks from the Tulalip Tribe, and that this Court
place him in the federal witness protection program. Dkt.
1-1, pp. 3-4.
the complaint contains deficiencies, the Court
DECLINES to serve the complaint but
GRANTS Mr. Jones leave to file an amended
complaint by September 27, 2017.
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. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii), 1915A(b)(1). To state a claim
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a complaint must allege: (i) the
conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under
color of state law and (ii) the conduct deprived a person of
a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution
or laws of the United States. Parratt v. Taylor, 451
U.S. 527, 535 (1981), overruled on other grounds, Daniels
v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327 (1986). Section 1983 is the
appropriate avenue to remedy an alleged wrong only if both of
these elements are present. Haygood v. Younger, 769
F.2d 1350, 1354 (9th Cir. 1985).
Jones must clarify whether he has any basis for pursuing a
claim under § 1983. In his complaint, he names numerous
individuals but fails to allege facts describing who these
individuals are, whether they were acting under color of
state law, and how and when they allegedly violated his
constitutional rights. Mr. Jones alleges only that certain
named defendants (Echavarria, Santos, Schackel, Sallee,
Tilleson, and Fryberg) have slandered his name and that
unnamed Tulalip Tribes Finance employees have denied Mr.
Jones a Tulalip tribal membership card and refuse to send him
monthly per capita checks. Mr. Jones fails to plead facts as
to the remaining thirteen defendants and a number of the
defendants are clearly private parties, i.e., Global
Tel Link, Wells Fargo, who cannot be sued under § 1983
because they are not state actors. In addition, actions under
section 1983 cannot be maintained in federal court for
persons alleging a deprivation of constitutional rights under
color of tribal law. Evans v. McKay, 869 F.2d 1341,
1347 (9th Cir.1989); see also Bressi v. Ford, 575
F.3d 891, 895 (9th Cir.2009); R.J. Williams Co. v. Fort
Belknap Housing Authority, 719 F.2d 979, 982 (9th
Cir.1983). The tribal defendants can thus be held liable
under § 1983 only if they were acting under color of
state, not tribal, law at the time of the alleged violation
of Mr. Jones's constitutional rights.
Jones intends to pursue this action, he must file an amended
complaint with short, plain statements telling the Court: (1)
the constitutional right he believes was violated; (2) 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 Mr.
Jones' constitutional rights; and (5) what specific
injury he suffered because of that person's conduct. See
Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72, 377 (1976). In
addition, Mr. Jones must name a state actor as a defendant or
plead facts sufficient to show that the named defendants in
this action were “acting under color of state or
federal law” as opposed to tribal law.
Court DECLINES to serve the complaint which
as discussed above is deficient. The Court realizes Mr. Jones
is proceeding pro se. Thus rather than simply dismissing the
action, the Court grants him permission to file an amended
complaint to cure the above-mentioned deficiencies by
September 27, 2017. The amended complaint
must carry the same case number as this one. If no
amended complaint is timely filed, the Court will recommend