United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE OR AMEND COMPLAINT
W. CHRISTEL 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 two City Attorneys
violated a variety of his rights protected under the
Constitution and other federal law when they discriminated
against him in his search for adequate housing. However,
Plaintiff has named only municipalities as Defendants and has
not alleged that the unlawful deprivation of his rights was
done pursuant to a policy of those municipalities. Therefore,
having reviewed and screened Plaintiff's Complaint under
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court declines to serve the
Amended Complaint but provides Plaintiff leave to file an
amended pleading by November 9, 2017, to cure the
deficiencies identified herein.
is currently in the custody of the Pierce County Sheriff and
is housed at the Pierce County Jail. Dkt. 6. On August 28,
2017, Plaintiff filed a § 1983 action and an Application
to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. Dkt. 1, 6. In his
complaint, he alleges that his rights were violated under the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, the American with Disabilities Act
of 1990, as well as the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth
Amendments. Dkt. 6 at 2. He states that the City Attorneys
for the Cities of Tacoma and Lakewood discriminated against
him when they ignored letters he sent asking for adequate
housing. Id. at 3. As relief, he requests “a
response to my plea, ” a “home for an elderly,
disabled man, ” and $3 million in compensatory,
punitive, and consequential damages. Id. at 4. On
October 5, 2017, the Court granted Plaintiff's
Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. Dkt. 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 42 U.S.C. §
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 step, 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).
Complaint suffers from deficiencies requiring dismissal if
not corrected in an Amended Complaint.
names the City of Tacoma and the City of Lakewood as the only
two Defendants in his Complaint. To state a claim under 42
U.S.C. § 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 omitting
to perform an act which is legally required. Johnson v.
Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978). Further,
municipalities may be the subject of a § 1983 claim.
Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Services,
436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978). However, a municipality may only be
held liable if its policies are the “moving force
[behind] the constitutional violation.” City of
Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 389 (1989) (quoting
Monell, 436 U.S. at 694). To recover, Plaintiff must
show that Defendants' employees or agents acted through
an official custom or policy that permits violation of
Plaintiff's civil rights, or that the entity ratified the
unlawful conduct. See Monell, 436 U.S. at 690-91.
Plaintiff has not alleged Defendants' employees deprived
him of his civil rights through an official custom or policy.
Plaintiff states his rights under the Civil Rights Act of
1964, the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, as well as
the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments were infringed.
Dkt. 6 at 2. He appears to allege the City Attorneys for
Lakewood and Tacoma discriminated against him when they
failed to respond to letters he sent requesting a permanent
home as a senior, disabled citizen. Id. at 3-4.
Though he does allege personal participation by the City
Attorneys, he names only the Cities of Tacoma and Lakewood as
Defendants. However, he does not explain how the alleged
unlawful actions were in compliance with a custom or policy
of either City, nor whether the Cities ratified the alleged
unlawful conduct. Because he does not name the City Attorneys
as Defendants and has not explained how the Cities'
policies were the moving force behind the alleged
constitutional violations, he has not stated a claim for
which this Court can offer a remedy. See Monell, 436
U.S. at 690-91, 94. Therefore, the Court orders Plaintiff to
show cause why the Court should not recommend dismissal of
his action, or file an Amended Complaint correcting the
deficiencies identified above.
Instructions to Plaintiff and the Clerk
Plaintiff intends to pursue a § 1983 civil rights action
in this Court, he must file an amended complaint and within
the amended complaint, he must write a short, plain statement
telling the Court: (1) the constitutional right Plaintiff
believes was violated; (2) the name of the persons or
entities who violated the right; (3) exactly what the persons
or entities did or failed to do; (4) how the action or
inaction of the individual is connected to the violation of
Plaintiff's constitutional rights; and (5) what specific
injury Plaintiff suffered because of the individual's
conduct. See Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72,
377, 96 S.Ct. 598, 46 L.Ed.2d 561 (1976). Further, if
Plaintiff intends to maintain a suit against a municipality,
he must additionally explain how the Cities' policies
were the driving force behind the actions that allegedly
deprived him of his Constitutional rights. See
Monell, 436 U.S. at 694.
shall present the amended complaint on the form provided by
the Court. The amended complaint must be legibly rewritten or
retyped in its entirety, it should be an original and not a
copy, it should contain the same case number, and it may not
incorporate any part of the original complaint by reference.
The amended complaint will act as a complete substitute for
the original Complaint, and not as a supplement. The Court
will screen the amended complaint to determine whether it
contains factual allegations linking each defendant to the
alleged violations of Plaintiff's ...