United States District Court, W.D. Washington
ORDER TO SHOW OR AMEND COMPLAINT
Richard Creatura United States Magistrate Judge
Gary Casterlow-Bey, proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis, filed this civil rights complaint under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. He alleges that defendants
violated his constitutional rights when they inhibited his
access to the Court and limited his ability to litigate a
pending action. Plaintiff failed to allege, however, that any
named defendant caused him “actual injury” by the
alleged constitutional violation. Therefore, having reviewed
and screened plaintiff's complaint under 28 U.S.C. §
1915A, the Court declines to serve the Complaint, but will
allow plaintiff leave to file an amended pleading by October
2, 2017, to cure the deficiencies identified herein.
is housed at the Pierce County Jail on pre-trial status. Dkt.
8 at 3. He states that, while detained, he is litigating an
unrelated action in the federal district court and has three
pending deadlines in September and October. Id.
However, he alleges that defendants have inhibited his access
to the Court, limiting his ability to litigate his action and
imposing “repressive, oppressive, and
discriminatory” conditions. Id. at 3-4. He
states that defendants are impeding his
“constitutional, civil, and human right to litigate in
federal court while in the physical custody of the County of
Pierce.” Id. at 4.
relief, plaintiff requests $10 million in compensatory
damages, $10 million in punitive damages, and $30 million in
“barbaric consequential damages” related to the
alleged constitutional violations. Id. at 4-5.
the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, the Court is
required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking
relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee
of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The
Court must “dismiss the complaint, or any portion of
the complaint, if the complaint: (1) is frivolous, malicious,
or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted;
or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.” Id. at (b); 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2); see Barren v. Harrington, 152
F.3d 1193 (9th Cir. 1998).
order to state a claim for relief 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 law. See Crumpton v.
Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991). The first
step in a § 1983 claim is therefore to identify the
specific constitutional right allegedly infringed.
Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994). To
satisfy the second prong, a plaintiff must allege facts
showing how individually named defendants caused, or
personally participated in causing, the harm alleged in the
complaint. See Arnold v. IBM, 637 F.2d 1350, 1355
(9th Cir. 1981).
Access to Courts
alleges his constitutional rights were violated when
defendants limited his ability to litigate an unrelated case
he had filed in federal district court. Dkt. 8. Inmates have
a “fundamental constitutional right of access to the
courts.” Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 828
(1977). In Bounds, the Supreme Court held that the
right of access imposes an affirmative duty on prison
officials to assist inmates in preparing and filing legal
papers, either by establishing an adequate law library or by
providing adequate assistance from persons trained in the
law. Id. at 828. In Lewis v. Casey, 518
U.S. 343 (1996), the Supreme Court held a prisoner must show
some actual injury resulting from a denial of access in order
to allege a constitutional violation. Id. at 349.
establish he suffered an actual injury, plaintiff must show
“actual prejudice with respect to contemplated or
existing litigation, such as the inability to meet a filing
deadline or to present a claim.” Lewis, 518
U.S. at 348; Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403,
415, (2002); Nevada Dep't of Corr. v. Greene,
648 F.3d 1014, 1018 (9th Cir. 2011); Phillips v.
Hurst, 588 F.3d 652, 655 (9th Cir. 2009). The right of
access to the courts is limited to non-frivolous direct
criminal appeals, habeas corpus proceedings, and § 1983
cases. See Lewis, 518 U.S. at 353 n. 3, 354-55.
“Failure to show that a ‘nonfrivolous legal claim
has been frustrated' is fatal to [an access to courts]
claim.” Alvarez v. Hill, 518 F.3d 1152, 1155
n. 1 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Lewis, 518 U.S. at 353
& n. 4).
plaintiff has not alleged an injury or prejudice. At most, he
speculates that he could miss three future deadlines if he is
unable to file documents on time. Dkt. 8 at 3. Though he
notes that he has asked jail officials to copy and mail his
legal documents, he has not explained why that has caused him
harm. Id. He does not claim that he has missed any
filing deadlines, that he has missed any hearings, or that
any defendant or other prison official has mishandled his
documents. The complaint fails to allege facts showing
plaintiff had a legal claim frustrated by defendant's
actions. See Exmundo v. Kevorkian, 2009 WL 3416236,
*3 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 22, 2009). Therefore, plaintiff has not
demonstrated how he has suffered actual injury with respect
to his ongoing litigation.
addition to failing to allege an injury, plaintiff fails to
allege facts showing how each defendant proximately caused
the alleged constitutional violations. See Dkt. 8.
To state a claim under § 1983, plaintiff must allege
facts showing how a defendant caused or personally
participated in causing the harm alleged in the complaint.
Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 633 (9th Cir. 1988);
Arnold, 637 F.2d at 1355. A person subjects another
to a deprivation of a constitutional right when committing an
affirmative act, participating in another's affirmative
act, or failing to perform an act which is legally required.
Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978).
Sweeping conclusory allegations against an official are
insufficient to state a claim for relief. Leer, 844
F.2d at 633.
names Classification Sargent Caruso and Sheriff Eileen Bisson
as defendants in this action. Dkt. 8. While plaintiff's
factual summary identifies the two defendants, plaintiff
fails to clearly state the alleged wrong-doing of each
defendant. See Id. Rather, he states broadly that
“Pierce County Jail Policy as interpreted by
[defendants] are both repressive, oppressive, and
discriminatory in nature, ” and that defendant Caruso
verbally conveyed that the jail does not recognize the
authority of this Court. Dkt. 8 at 3-4. He presents only