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Johnson v. Stevens County Sheriff's Department

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

April 15, 2019




         BEFORE THE COURT is Plaintiff Naathon-Ray Johnson's complaint, ECF No. 1. Mr. Johnson is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. Magistrate Judge John T. Rodgers reviewed Mr. Johnson's application to proceed in forma pauperis and granted Mr. Johnson that status. ECF No. 5. This Court is performing the second part of the screening process under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 to determine whether Mr. Johnson's lawsuit should be allowed to proceed to service of the complaint upon Defendants. The Court has reviewed the complaint and is fully informed.


         The following are the facts as alleged in Mr. Johnson's complaint. Mr. Johnson was determined to be disabled in either 2013 or 2014 because of the complications associated with his Crohn's disease and spine. ECF No. 1 at 5. He received social security income through a payee, who is a person appointed by the government to manage the social security income for someone who cannot manage it himself. Id. at 5-6. With his social security income, Mr. Johnson claims that leased a property in Colville, Washington beginning in May of 2017. Id. at 6.

         Mr. Johnson alleges that his payee failed to continue paying him his social security income shortly after he began leasing the property. ECF No. 1 at 6. He then alleges he went without social security payments for several months. Id. He claims that he pleaded with Defendant Social Security Administration to set up a new payee, working with Defendant Rural Resources. Id. at 6-7. He also claims that he went through several evaluations with Defendant Alliance Mental Health Services to help prove his entitlement to social security income. Id. at 7.

         Around this same time, Defendant claims he was having several medical issues relating to an unknown neurological disorder. ECF No. 1 at 8. He claims that these medical issues resulted in several trips to Defendant Providence Mount Carmel Hospital. Id. at 8-9. At one point, he claims that Mount Carmel had Mr. Johnson “shipped out” to a facility on the west side of Washington. Id. at 9.

         Mr. Johnson also claims that Rural Resources did not assist him with issues with his rental property in Colville. ECF No. 1 at 10. Mr. Johnson alleges that there were problems with the heating and plumbing, and that his neighbors would constantly steal things from his residence. Id. However, soon after, Mr. Johnson claims that he received forged eviction papers and a notice of abandonment of property. Id. at 10-11. Mr. Johnson also claims that the power was turned off in January of 2019. Id. at 11.

         Mr. Johnson then claims that Defendant Spokane Sheriff's Department arrested him for trespassing on his own property. ECF No. 1 at 11. He was placed in Stevens County Jail and charged with trespassing. Id. at 12. While in prison, Mr. Johnson claims that he was not given his needed medication and was denied access to legal envelopes and materials. Id. at 13. At his preliminary hearing, Mr. Johnson alleges that he stated that he wanted to represent himself, but the Stevens County Superior Court denied his request and appointed Mr. Johnson a public defender. Id. Mr. Johnson claims he was not given an opportunity to speak at his preliminary hearing. Id. He also claims that he was never given an information, complaint, citation, or police report. Id. at 12. Mr. Johnson claims that he was released on the same day. Id.

         After he was released, Mr. Johnson claims that he returned to his rental property and discovered that all of his belongings were missing. ECF No. 1 at 13. While he tried to inventory what was missing, Mr. Johnson claims that he was again arrested for trespassing. Id. He claims that his second preliminary hearing was just like his first. Id. at 14.

         Mr. Johnson then filed this complaint against Defendants, claiming that they violated his First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. ECF No. 1 at 3. He also claims that they violated the Social Security Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and “State law/Regulations Concurrent with federal law.” Id.


         A district court must screen complaints brought by litigants proceeding in forma pauperis and shall dismiss the proceeding at any time if the action or appeal is frivolous or malicious; fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2).

         The Court reviews Plaintiff's complaint to determine if it gives enough notice and detail to allow the defendants to “reasonably prepare a response.” See, e.g., Paulsen v. CNF, Inc., 559 F.3d 1061, 1071 (9th Cir. 2009). The notice pleading standards are stated, in part, in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), which provides:

         (a) Claim for Relief. A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:

(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs ...

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