United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DISMISSING ACTION UNDER 28 U.S.C. §
1915(E)(2)(B) AND IMPOSING STANDING ORDER
L. ROBART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the court is pro se Plaintiff Anthony Herbert's
complaint against various defendants (Compl. (Dkt. # 1-1)),
and Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler's order granting
Mr. Herbert in forma pauperis ("IFP")
status and recommending that the court review his complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (IFP Order (Dkt. #
8) at 1). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), district courts
have authority to review IFP complaints and must dismiss them
if "at any time" it is determined that a complaint
is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2); see also Id. § 1915A(b)(1);
Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000)
(clarifying that § 1915(e) applies to all IFP
proceedings, not just those filed by prisoners). As discussed
below, Mr. Herbert's complaint falls within the category
of pleadings that the court must dismiss.
Herbert brings suit against King County, the Honorable Judge
Timothy A. Bradshaw, public defender Kristin Shotwell, and
prosecutor Rebecca Vasquez.(Compl. at 2.) Mr. Herbert's
claims arise from his competency hearings before Judge
Bradshaw and the subsequent forcible administration of
medication. (See Id. at 2-3).
Herbert alleges that he was "an inmate at the King
County Jail from November 18, 2011 through 2015."
(Id. at 2.) While he was a pretrial detainee, he had
a series of competency hearings before Judge Bradshaw.
(Id.) In May of 2014, Judge Bradshaw found Mr.
Herbert incompetent "for the fourth time in over two
years." (Id.) At that hearing, Mr.
Herbert's public defender, Kristin Shotwell, informed the
court that Mr. Herbert requested to be sent to Western State
Hospital ("WSH") for 180 days. (Id.) Mr.
Herbert claims that Ms. Shotwell's representation was
false-he "had not spoken to Ms. Shotwell nor did [he]
tell her [he] want[ed] to go to a psych ward for an
additional 6 months as opposed to being released pursuant to
King County Policy and State law." (Id.) Mr.
Herbert claims to have made "ample pleas . . . stating
'I didn't say that, '" but Judge Bradshaw
allegedly "ignore[d]" those statements and sent him
to WSH. (Id.)
being sent to WSH allegedly over his objections, Mr. Herbert
claims to have returned to court for a hearing on the
administration of medication. (Id.) As a result of
this hearing, Mr. Herbert asserts that he was "forced to
take antistrophic medications against [his] will."
(Id. at 3.) In November 2014, Mr. Herbert complains
that he was taken off of the medication "without any
medical taper, " causing "severe withdraw[al]s
including but not limited to weight loss and insomnia for
that period." (Id.)
Herbert asserts that Judge Bradshaw, Ms. Shotwell, and Ms.
Vasquez violated "the 1st, 5th, [and] 14th U.S.
Amendments" and committed "Civil Conspiracy,
Corruption and Washington Torts of Outrage, Negligence and
Intentional or Reckless conduct and Unlawful
Imprisonment." (Id. at 3-4.) Although Mr.
Herbert includes King County as a municipal defendant, he
does not list any legal claims against the county. (See
Id. at 2-4.) He seeks $500, 000.00 in compensatory
damages, $500, 000.00 in punitive damages, and $25, 000.00 in
nominal damages, as well as the "cost and fees of this
suit including but not limited to investigatory cost."
(Id. at 4.)
Section 1915 Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) authorizes a district court to
dismiss a claim filed IFP "at any time" if it
determines: (1) the action is frivolous or malicious; (2) the
action fails to state a claim; or (3) the action seeks relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The court concludes that Mr.
Herbert fails to state a claim and additionally seeks relief
from defendants who are immune from suit.
complaint must contain factual allegations "enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level."
BellAtl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
The court need not accept as true a legal conclusion
presented as a factual allegation. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Although the pleading
standard announced by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 does
not require "detailed factual allegations, " it
demands more than "an unadorned,
Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555);
see Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a).
it is unclear whether Mr. Herbert brings any claims against
King County, as he omits the county when listing legal claims
against defendants. (See Compl. at 3-4.)
Furthermore, Mr. Herbert pleads no facts applicable to the
liability of King County. (See generally Compl.) A
local government may not be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
simply because its employees or agents inflicted an injury.
Monell v. Dep 't of Soc. Servs. of City of N.Y.,
436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978). Instead, a government entity may be
liable under § 1983 "when execution of a
government's policy or custom, whether made by its
lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts may fairly be said
to represent official policy, inflicts the injury."
Id. The entity may also be liable if it had "a
policy or custom of failing to train its employees and that
failure to train caused the constitutional violation."
Collins v. City of Harker Heights, 503 U.S. 115, 123
(1992). Here, Mr. Herbert does not allege any factual
allegations related to King County, let alone any factual
allegations regarding King County policies or customs. Thus,
Mr. Herbert's claims against King County, if any, must be
dismissed under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
Herbert's claims against Judge Bradshaw must also be
dismissed because his claims are precluded by judicial
immunity. See Ashelman v. Pope,793 F.2d 1072, 1075
(9th Cir. 1986) (en banc) (holding that judges are absolutely
immune from liability for acts performed in their official
capacities and are liable only for acts taken in the clear
absence of all jurisdiction or that are not judicial in
nature). Mr. Herbert complains only of Judge Bradshaw's
ruling of incompetency and thus, his claim rests entirely on
Judge Bradshaw's exercise of his judicial authority.
(See Compl. at 2-3.) Additionally, Mr. Herbert ...