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Vinson v. Noele

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

October 2, 2019

MARK ROLAN VINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
JOE NOELE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE OR FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT

          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. The matter is before the Court on plaintiff's complaint. See Dkt. 4.

         Plaintiff brings claims against “Sheriff Joe Noele, ” “Super[i]ntend[e]nt David Fortino, ” and “all jail staff, Jefferson County Sheriff[']s Office, ” although the precise basis for his claims is unclear. Plaintiff fails to identify any particular acts or omissions by these three defendants that caused constitutional deprivations. Instead, he relies on citations to swathes of Washington laws or to federal regulations, which do not create a private right of action. Thus, having screened plaintiff's complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court declines to serve the complaint because it fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted. However, the Court provides plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint on or before October 30, 2019 to cure the deficiencies identified herein.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, who is pro se, proceeds in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Plaintiff states that he was a client in Western State Hospital until September 2, 2019 and brings claims related to an incident before that, when he was arrested. See Dkt. 4, at 6. He indicates that he is a pretrial detainee, who is “[c]ivilly committed[.]” Dkt. 4, at 2.

         Although the factual allegations in plaintiff's proposed complaint are somewhat unclear, it appears that he seeks to bring claims for violation of his right to a speedy trial (see Dkt. 4, at 7) and for mistreatment by those who arrested him-namely failure to provide him with medical attention for injuries that he had when he was arrested. See Dkt. 4, at 6.

         DISCUSSION

         I. § 1915A Screening

         Because plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis and against governmental entities and officers, his complaint is subject to screening before service, 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); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). This Court will offer plaintiff an opportunity to amend his complaint to cure the deficiencies unless it is clear that amendment would be futile. See Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995).

         Here, plaintiff's complaint does not survive screening because it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, as set forth below. However, the Court will offer plaintiff an opportunity to amend his complaint to correct the deficiencies identified in this Order.

         A. Failure to State a Claim

         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.

         Further, in a § 1983 action, a plaintiff must establish two basic elements-(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).

         B. ...


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