United States District Court, D. Nevada
AUBREY U. LEWIS, SR., Plaintiff,
RENO POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.
WILLIAM G. COBB UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the court is Plaintiff's pro se Amended Complaint. (ECF
is an inmate in the custody of the Nevada Department of
Corrections (NDOC), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis
(IFP) with this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
(Pl.'s Am. Compl., ECF No. 23; Order granting app. to
proceed IFP, ECF No. 3.) The events giving rise to this
action, however, involve Plaintiff's arrest and pretrial
filed his original complaint on August 11, 2016. (ECF Nos.
1-1, 4.) On August 23, 2016, the undersigned issued an order
granting his IFP application (subject to the requirements of
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA)), and screened the
complaint, which was brought against a John Doe Reno Police
Department officer, two John Doe Washoe County Jail
employees, a Jane Doe medical staff member at the Washoe
County Jail., and unspecified Washoe County medical staff
members. (ECF No. 3 at 2-3.) The undersigned concluded that
Plaintiff stated colorable claims for unlawful seizure and
excessive force under the Fourth Amendment, as well as a
pretrial detainee claim for denial or delay of medical care
under the Fourteenth Amendment. (Id.) Plaintiff had
named the “Reno Police, ” “Washoe County
Jail, ” and “County Jail Medical” in the
caption of the original complaint, but otherwise listed only
doe defendants. Therefore, the undersigned directed the City
of Reno and Washoe County to enter a limited appearance and
permitted Plaintiff to conduct limited pre-service discovery
in an effort to ascertain the identity of the doe defendants.
(Id.) At that time, the court prospectively extended
the ninety-day deadline for service under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 4(m) in light of the need to conduct
pre-service discovery. (Id.)
court intended to set the matter for a status conference in
ninety days, but due to a calendaring error, this did not
occur. When that error was discovered, the court set the
matter for a case management conference on February 8, 2017.
(ECF No. 7.) In the interim, Plaintiff had been released from
custody, and the notice of the status conference was returned
as undeliverable. (ECF No. 8.) The court vacated the status
conference, and directed Plaintiff to provide a notice of
change of address. (ECF No. 9.) Washoe Legal Services, who
was not representing Plaintiff, but has a program assisting
inmates in the Washoe County Detention Facility with legal
matters, informed the court on January 23, 2017, that
Plaintiff was released for a period of time, but had returned
to the jail for sentencing and was expected to be there
through February 16, 2017. (ECF No. 10.) After that time, he
could be reached at an alternative address. (Id.)
The court rescheduled the conference for February 13, 2017.
(ECF No. 13.)
City of Reno and Washoe County made limited appearances at
the status conference, and Plaintiff appeared via telephone
from the Washoe County Detention Facility. (ECF No. 18.)
Following the conference, the court issued an order
concerning Plaintiff's failure to timely file an amended
complaint identifying the doe defendants and to serve the
complaint. (ECF No. 19.) The court concluded that Plaintiff
presented a case of excusable neglect, and granted Plaintiff
until April 18, 2017, to identify the doe defendants and file
an amended complaint naming those defendants or a motion to
substitute in the true name of the defendants. (Id.)
He was also given an additional forty-five days, until June
2, 2017, to complete service of the summons and complaint.
March 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion to substitute in the
true names of the defendants. (ECF No. 20.) As the court
described in its March 14, 2017 order, the problem was that
the complaint named one John Doe Reno Police Department
officer, two John Doe Washoe County Jail employees, and one
Jane Doe Washoe County Jail medical staff member, while the
motion to substitute named two Reno Police Department
officers, two male and two female Washoe County Detention
Facility booking/administration employees, an additional
twelve Washoe County Sheriff's Department deputies, as
well as Dr. Han. The conduct of all of these individuals was
not described in the original complaint, and the motion to
substitute was not accompanied by an amended pleading
detailing their action. Therefore, the court gave Plaintiff
until April 3, 2017 to file an amended complaint which
identified each defendant against whom he intended to proceed
as well as factual allegations as to the conduct of each of
the defendants. (ECF No. 21.)
filed his Amended Complaint on March 28, 2017, which the
court will now screen. (ECF No. 23.)
party is proceeding IFP, “the court shall dismiss the
case at any time if the court determines that”
“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)(B)(i)-(iii). In addition, the court
must review “a complaint in a civil action in which a
prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer
or employee of a governmental entity” and
“identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint,
or any portion of the complaint” that is
“frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted;” or “seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), (b)(1)-(2).
of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted is provided for in Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), and this court applies the same standard
under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), 1915A when
reviewing the adequacy of the complaint or amended complaint.
See Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir.
2000) (citation omitted). Review under 12(b)(6) is
essentially a ruling on a question of law. See Chappel v.
Lab. Corp. of America, 232 F.3d 719, 723 (9th Cir.
reviewing the complaint under this standard, the court must
accept as true the allegations of the complaint, Hosp.
Bldg. Co. v. Trustees of Rex Hosp., 425 U.S. 738, 740
(1976), construe the pleadings in the light most favorable to
plaintiff, and resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's
favor, Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421
(1969). Allegations in pro se complaints are held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,
and must be liberally construed. See Hughes v. Rowe,
449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519, 520-21 (1972) (per curiam); Hamilton v.
Brown, 630 F.3d 889, 893 (9th Cir. 2011).
complaint must contain more than a "formulaic recitation
of the elements of a cause of action, " it must contain
factual allegations sufficient to "raise a right to
relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "The
pleading must contain something more...than...a statement of
facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally
cognizable right of action." Id. (quoting 5 C.
Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure §
1216, at 235-36 (3d ed. 2004)). At a minimum, a plaintiff
should state "enough facts to state a ...