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Green v. Gilbert

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

December 6, 2017

DEANGELO A GREEN, Plaintiff,
v.
MARGARET GILBERT, MICHAEL GLEASON, JOHN DOE, JANE DOE, Defendants.

          ORDER TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT

          David W. Christel United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff DeAngelo A. Green, proceeding pro se, 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 finds Plaintiff has failed to state a claim but provides Plaintiff leave to file an amended pleading by January 8, 2018, to cure the deficiencies identified herein.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, who is housed at Washington State Penitentiary, alleges his constitutional rights were violated when Defendants Margaret Gilbert and Michael Gleason negligently failed to protect him. Dkt. 3. Plaintiff alleges inmate Matthew Holt put a “hit” on Plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff was attacked and correctional employees failed to protect him from the assault. Id.

         DISCUSSION

         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).

         I. Personal Participation

         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 Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 633 (9th Cir. 1988); Arnold v. IBM, 637 F.2d 1350, 1355 (9th Cir. 1981). 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. Further, a § 1983 suit cannot be based on vicarious liability alone, but must allege the defendant's own conduct violated the plaintiff's civil rights. City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 385-90 (1989).

         In the Complaint, Plaintiff names the following Defendants: Margaret Gilbert, Michael Gleason, John Doe 1-10, and Jane Doe 1-10. Dkt. 3. Plaintiff fails to state the alleged wrongdoing of any Defendant in this case. He provides detailed information regarding his interactions with fellow inmates incarcerated in Washington State correctional facilities. Id. He, however, fails to explain what actions or inactions by Defendants resulted in deliberate indifference to a serious risk of harm. See id. Rather, Plaintiff provides only a generalized statement alleging Defendants were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's needs by negligently failing to protect him. Plaintiff's conclusory allegations are insufficient to show Defendants personally participated in the alleged constitutional violations. See Jones v. Community Development Agency, 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984) (vague and mere conclusory allegations unsupported by facts are not sufficient to state section 1983 claims).

         The Court notes Defendants Gilbert and Gleason hold supervisory positions. See Dkt. 3. Plaintiff cannot bring § 1983 action against a supervisor on a theory that the supervisor is liable for the acts of his or her subordinates. See Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 325 (1981).

         If Plaintiff wishes to pursue this § 1983 action, he must provide a short, plain statement explaining exactly what each Defendant did or failed to do and how the actions violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights and caused him harm.

         II. Instruction to Plaintiff and the Clerk

          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 ...


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