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Yates v. Naphcare, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 22, 2014

GABRIEL YATES, Plaintiff,
v.
NAPHCARE, INC., et al., Defendants.

ORDER

JAMES C. MAHAN, District Judge.

This removed pro se prisoner civil rights action by a pretrial detainee comes before the court for initial review of the amended complaint (#33) under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

When a "prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity, " the court must "identify cognizable claims or 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." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

In considering whether the plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief can be granted, all material factual allegations in the complaint are accepted as true for purposes of initial review and are to be construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See, e.g., Russell v. Landrieu, 621 F.2d 1037, 1039 (9th Cir. 1980). However, mere legal conclusions unsupported by any actual allegations of fact are not assumed to be true in reviewing the complaint. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-81 & 686-87 (2009). That is, bare and conclusory assertions that constitute merely formulaic recitations of the elements of a cause of action and that are devoid of further factual enhancement are not accepted as true and do not state a claim for relief. Id.

Further, the factual allegations must state a plausible claim for relief, meaning that the well-pleaded facts must permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct:

[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." [ Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007).] A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id., at 556, 127 S.Ct. 1955. The plausibility standard is not akin to a "probability requirement, " but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Ibid. Where a complaint pleads facts that are "merely consistent with" a defendant's liability, it "stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id., at 557, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (brackets omitted).
....[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not "show[n]" - "that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 8(a)(2).
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

Allegations of a pro se complainant are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).

The court's statements regarding the original complaint remain pertinent:

In the complaint, plaintiff Gabriel Yates alleges in principal part that he has been denied requested kosher meals at the Clark County Detention Center ("CCDC") because he is a practicing Muslim rather than Jewish. As the complaint alleges, food that is kosher also satisfies the requirements of halal, the corresponding approved regimen for Islam. Plaintiff further alleges that CCDC receives federal financial assistance, as a predicate for potential application of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).
At its core, the complaint states a claim upon which relief may be granted under the First Amendment, RLUIPA and the Equal Protection Clause. See, e.g., Shakur v. Schriro, 514 F.3d 878 (9th Cir. 2008).
That is not to say, however, that the complaint states a federal claim for relief against all defendants and/or on all claims presented.
First, plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted against defendant Naphcare [Naphcare, Inc.]. Plaintiff's conclusory allegation that Naphcare is responsible for alleged harm caused by the denial of kosher meals because Naphcare failed, as a medical services contractor, to intervene to correct the practice after he started a hunger strike fails to state a claim. An arguendo failure to respond appropriately - medically - to a prisoner's serious medical need occasioned by a detainee's hunger strike would be one thing. Intervening to correct a practice over which by definition Naphcare would have no authority - as a medical services provider hired by the local government jailer - is another. Conclusorily labeling such a failure to intervene in the jail's practice regarding kosher ...

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