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Caril v. State

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

September 30, 2019

LEON CARIL II, Plaintiff,
STATE OF WASHINGTON, et al., Defendants.


          J. Richard Creatura, United States Magistrate Judge

         The District Court has referred this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights matter to United States Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura under 28 U.S.C. §§ 636(b)(1)(A) and (1)(B) and Local Magistrate Judge Rules MJR 1, 3, and 4. See Dkt. 2. Plaintiff, who is incarcerated and proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis, has filed a complaint under § 1983 and a motion for the appointment of counsel in this Court. Because his complaint contains no cognizable claims and fails to identify any particular defendants who are not immune from suit, the undersigned orders plaintiff to show cause or amend his complaint on or before October 28, 2019. The undersigned also denies without prejudice plaintiff's motion for the appointment of counsel, as plaintiff has not shown the exceptional circumstances required to justify appointing counsel.


         Plaintiff initiated this matter in August 2019. In his complaint, he seeks to bring suit against the State of Washington, Western State Hospital, and various staff members of Western State Hospital, whom plaintiff identifies only by their first names. See Dkt. 6, at 2. Plaintiff lists eighteen claims under his statement of claim in his complaint, some of which are incomprehensible and all of which lack any articulated factual or legal basis. See Dkt. 6, at 3.

         The Court granted plaintiff permission to proceed in forma pauperis, and he filed a motion to have a “public defender” appointed to represent him on his § 1983 claim. See Dkt. 7, at 1. Plaintiff has also filed miscellaneous documents with the Court, most of which appear to refer to various motions that have not been filed in this case, asking that the motions be noted for the same day that they are filed. See Dkt. 8, at 1; see also Dkts. 9-11.


         I. Failure to State a Claim

         Because plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis, his complaint is subject to screening before service under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), meaning that if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief, this Court may dismiss the complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)-(iii). This Court will offer plaintiff an opportunity to amend his complaint to cure the deficiencies unless it appears that amendment would be futile. See Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995).

         A complaint must contain a “‘short and plain statement of the claim[s] showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests[.]'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Although factual allegations need not be detailed, plaintiff must go beyond mere “labels and conclusions” and cannot rely on a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action[.]” Id. Plaintiff cannot simply make “an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The complaint must set forth the elements of the legal claim-that is, the law underlying the claims-and factual allegations that are sufficient that, taken as true, they establish how defendants acted unlawfully. See Id. at 678-79.

         Here, however, plaintiff sets forth primarily bare legal conclusions in his complaint, without any explanation or factual development of his claims. For instance, he states claims for violations of “inalienable rights” and “civil liberties” but provides no explanation of what the constitutional-or other-basis for his claims is, or how a particular right was violated. See Dkt. 6, at 3-4. Plaintiff fails to explain what type of action plaintiff intends to bring, whom he intends to bring the claim against, what legal theory plaintiff intends to proceed under, or what factual allegations plaintiff relies upon.

         Moreover, if plaintiff wishes to make out a claim for damages under § 1983, he must allege the elements of such a claim-(1) “the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States” and (2) how “the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). For many of his claims, plaintiff fails to identify a particular constitutional right or law that was violated. Simply stating that his “civil liberties” or “inalienable rights” were violated is inadequate.

         Not only does plaintiff fail to identify particular constitutional rights underlying many of his claims, but for all of his claims except one for “verbal abuse” by “Daryl, Liz, Marrissa” (see Dkt. 6, at 3) he fails to name any particular person acting under color of state law who deprived him of a constitutional right.

         As for plaintiff's named defendants, because plaintiff's complaint is for damages, he cannot bring suit under § 1983 for alleged constitutional deprivations against the State of Washington or Western State Hospital, which is an agency of the State. See, e.g. Beaver v. Western State Hosp., 457 Fed. App'x 638, 639 (9th Cir. 2011) (Western State Hospital is immune from suit for damages under § 1983); see also Franceschi v. Schwartz, 57 F.3d 828 831 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam). If plaintiff seeks damages under § 1983, he should not name these defendants, who are immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment.

         Moreover, plaintiff must identify how each individual person named as a defendant- “Liz, Marrisa, Daryl and some other staff members”-actually subjected him to a deprivation of rights. See Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978) (“A person ‘subjects' another to the deprivation of a constitutional right, within the meaning of section 1983, if he does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative acts, or omits to perform an act which he is legally required to do that causes the deprivation of which complaint is made.”). ...

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