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Parks v. Haynes

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

November 13, 2017

RON HAYNES, et al., Defendant.


          David W. Christel United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Jonathan E. Parks, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Having reviewed and screened Plaintiff's Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court declines to serve the Complaint but provides Plaintiff leave to file an amended pleading by December 15, 2017, to cure the deficiencies identified herein.


         Plaintiff, who is housed at the Washington State Penitentiary, filed this § 1983 action. It appears Plaintiff's allegations occurred when he was previously housed at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center. He alleges that his civil rights were violated when prison staff allegedly retaliated against him for filing complaints, denying him showers, proper clothing, food, and access to his legal papers and the law library. Dkt. 4 at 14-15. He also claims he was denied adequate food after going on a hunger strike for three days. Id. at 14. Though he includes numerous kites and grievances disbursed amongst his Complaint, he does not explain how any particular person or persons violated his rights. See Dkt. 4. He requests relief in the form of monetary damages for his denial of food and additional damages for “preventing access to the courts[, ] . . . preventing contacting attorney[, ] . . . [and] misuse of the [disciplinary] proceeding.” Id. at 26.


         Under 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).

         In 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 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).

         Plaintiff's Complaint suffers from deficiencies requiring dismissal if not corrected in an amended complaint.

         I. Personal Participation

         Plaintiff makes broad allegations that his constitutional rights were violated when prison staff retaliated against him by depriving him of food, clothing, and access to the courts. 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). Sweeping conclusory allegations against an official are insufficient to state a claim for relief. Leer, 844 F.2d at 633.

         Here, Plaintiff has failed to allege the personal participation of any Defendants. He has provided a list naming all Defendants. Dkt. 4 at 2. However, he does not describe how any Defendants actually deprived Plaintiff of his constitutional rights. He alleges that he was deprived food, showers, clothing, and access to the courts, and that the disciplinary process was unlawfully used against him. Id. at 14-15. He further alleges that his legal mail is being tampered with and he has been denied access to legal phone calls as part of a sanction. Id. at 15. Though these may amount to allegations of constitutional violations, Plaintiff does not explain how any particular Defendant contributed to these alleged injuries. Rather, he relies on conclusory allegations, stating broadly that his rights were violated. Because Plaintiff has not alleged personal participation by Defendants, he has not yet stated a claim under § 1983 for which relief can be granted. Therefore, the Court orders Plaintiff to show cause or file an amended complaint remedying the deficiencies noted herein.

         II. Instruction to Plaintiff

         If 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 person who violated the right; (3) exactly what the individual 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 (1976). Further, if Plaintiff intends to include grievances or kites with his amended complaint, they should be attached to the end as exhibits, not distributed throughout the body of his Complaint.

         Plaintiff 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 ...

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