United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
JOHN W. LAMBERT, Plaintiff,
SNOHOMISH COUNTY CORRECTIONS, Defendant.
ORDER DECLINING TO SERVE COMPLAINT AND GRANTING
PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO AMEND
P. DONOHUE CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
John Lambert is currently confined at the Snohomish County
Jail in Everett, Washington. He has submitted to the Court
for filing a civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. The Court, having reviewed plaintiff's complaint,
hereby finds and ORDERS as follows:
Plaintiff alleges in his civil rights complaint that the
lights in his cell at the Snohomish County Jail are kept on
at all times causing him migraine headaches, vision problems,
and lack of sleep. Plaintiff further alleges that he has been
denied treatment for the medical and mental health problems
caused by the lights. Plaintiff identifies Snohomish County
Jail as the lone defendant in this action, and he seeks
damages for the alleged harm being caused to his medical and
Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides
that in order for a pleading to state a claim for relief it
must contain a short and plain statement of the grounds for
the court's jurisdiction, a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and
a demand for the relief sought. The statement of the claim
must be sufficient to “give the defendant fair notice
of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon
which it rests.” Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S.
41, 47 (1957). The factual allegations of a complaint must be
“enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In addition, a
complaint must allege facts to state a claim for relief that
is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
order to state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, a plaintiff must show (1) that he suffered a violation
of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal
statute, and (2) that the violation was proximately caused by
a person acting under color of state or federal law. See
Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th
Cir. 1991). 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).
defendant cannot be held liable solely on the basis of
supervisory responsibility or position. Monell v.
Department of Social Servs., of City of New York, 436
U.S. 658, 691-694 (1978). Rather, a plaintiff must allege
that a defendant's own conduct violated the
plaintiff's civil rights. City of Canton, Ohio v.
Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 385-90 (1989). A local government
unit or municipality can be sued as a “person”
under § 1983. Monell, 436 U.S. at 691. However,
a municipality cannot be held liable under § 1983 solely
because it employs a tortfeasor. Id. A plaintiff
seeking to impose liability on a municipality under §
1983 must identify a municipal “policy” or
“custom” that caused his or her injury. Bryan
County Commissioners v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403 (1997)
(citing Monell 436 U.S. at 694).
Court declines to order that plaintiff's complaint be
served because he fails to identify a viable defendant in his
complaint, and he fails to specifically allege the violation
of a federal constitutional right. As noted above, plaintiff
identifies the Snohomish County Jail as the only defendant in
this action. However, the Jail is an entity of Snohomish
County and, as such, is not a proper defendant in this
action. See Nolan v. Snohomish County, 59
Wn.App. 876, 883 (1990) (“in a legal action involving a
county, the county itself is the only legal entity capable of
suing and being sued”). Plaintiff may pursue a claim
against Snohomish County itself, but in order to do so he
must specifically identify the County as a defendant in this
action, he must identify the County “policy” or
“custom” that caused him harm, and he must
identify the federal constitutional right that he believes
has been violated by the identified “policy” or
may also pursue claims against individual members of the
Snohomish County Jail staff if he deems it appropriate to do
so. This would require that plaintiff specifically identify
the members of the Jail staff who caused him harm, the
federal constitutional provision he believes was violated by
the conduct of each individual staff member, and the facts
which support each claimed violation.
Plaintiff may file an amended complaint curing the above
noted deficiencies within thirty (30)
days of the date on which this Order is signed.
The amended complaint must carry the same case number as this
one. If no amended complaint is timely filed, the Court will
recommend that this action be dismissed under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted.
is advised that an amended pleading operates as a
complete substitute for an original pleading.
See Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1262 (9th
Cir.) (citing Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner
& Co., Inc., 896 F.2d 1542, 1546 (9th Cir. 1990) (as
amended), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 915 (1992). Thus,
any amended complaint must clearly identify each intended
defendant, the constitutional claim(s) asserted, the specific
facts which plaintiff believes support each claim against
each defendant, and the specific relief requested.
Clerk is directed to send plaintiff the appropriate forms so
that he may file an amended complaint. The Clerk is further
directed to send copies of this Order to plaintiff and to the
Honorable Richard A. Jones.
 Plaintiff appears to use the terms
“Snohomish County Corrections” and
“Snohomish County Jail” interchangeably in his
submissions. (See Dkt. 3 at 1; Dkt. 3-2 at 1-2.)
Because plaintiff identifies the “Snohomish County
Jail” as the defendant in Part III of his complaint
(see Dkt. 3-2 at 2), ...