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Machlan v. Aranas

United States District Court, D. Nevada

January 22, 2018

ROBERT MACHLAN, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. ARANAS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          MIRANDA M. DU UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On December 21, 2017, the Court dismissed this action with prejudice based on Plaintiff's failure to comply with the Court's Screening Order giving him thirty (30) days to file an amended complaint. (ECF No. 7.) The Court's Screening Order had been returned as undeliverable because Plaintiff failed to file a notice of change of address as required by LR IA 3-1. On January 10, 2018, Plaintiff filed a notice of change of address (ECF No. 9) and a motion to vacate judgment (“Motion”) (ECF No. 10). Plaintiff asserts that he did not receive the Screening Order, and only received the dismissal order on December 29, 2017, which prompted him to file the notice of change of address. He also contends he was not aware of his obligation to update the Court with his change of address. It is Plaintiff's obligations to be familiar with the Court's local rules and the procedural rules governing his case. Nevertheless, the Court grants Plaintiff's Motion under the circumstances here given Plaintiff's pro se status, the fact that he timely acted to remedy his failure to comply with LR IA 3-1 and the public policy favoring disposition of cases on their merits.

         It is therefore ordered that Plaintiff's motion to vacate judgment (ECF No. 10) is granted. The dismissal order (ECF No. 7) and judgment (ECF No. 8) are vacated. Plaintiff will be given thirty (30) days from the date of this Order to file an amended complaint to correct the deficiencies identified in the Screening Order. Plaintiff should review the Screening Order, a copy of which is attached, to ensure compliance with the Screening Order.

         SCREENING ORDER

         Plaintiff, who is a prisoner in the custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections (“NDOC”), has submitted a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis and a motion for appointment of counsel. (ECF Nos. 1, 1-1, 1-2.) The matter of the filing fee will be temporarily deferred. The Court now screens Plaintiff's civil rights complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         I. SCREENING STANDARD

         Federal courts must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings, however, must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) the violation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

         In addition to the screening requirements under § 1915A, pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), a federal court must dismiss a prisoner's claim, if “the allegation of poverty is untrue, ” or if the action “is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on 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). Dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted is provided for in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and the court applies the same standard under § 1915 when reviewing the adequacy of a complaint or an amended complaint. When a court dismisses a complaint under § 1915(e), the plaintiff should be given leave to amend the complaint with directions as to curing its deficiencies, unless it is clear from the face of the complaint that the deficiencies could not be cured by amendment. See Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995).

         Review under Rule 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. 2000). Dismissal for failure to state a claim is proper only if it is clear that the plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of the claim that would entitle him or her to relief. See Morley v. Walker, 175 F.3d 756, 759 (9th Cir. 1999). In making this determination, the court takes as true all allegations of material fact stated in the complaint, and the court construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Warshaw v. Xoma Corp., 74 F.3d 955, 957 (9th Cir. 1996). Allegations of a pro se complainant are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. See Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980). While the standard under Rule 12(b)(6) does not require detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff must provide more than mere labels and conclusions. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action is insufficient. Id.

         Additionally, a reviewing court should “begin by identifying pleadings [allegations] that, because they are no more than mere conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). “While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported with factual allegations.” Id. “When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief . . . [is] a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id.

         Finally, all or part of a complaint filed by a prisoner may therefore be dismissed sua sponte if the prisoner's claims lack an arguable basis either in law or in fact. This includes claims based on legal conclusions that are untenable (e.g., claims against defendants who are immune from suit or claims of infringement of a legal interest which clearly does not exist), as well as claims based on fanciful factual allegations (e.g., fantastic or delusional scenarios). See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989); see also McKeever v. Block, 932 F.2d 795, 798 (9th Cir. 1991).

         II. SCREENING OF COMPLAINT

         In the complaint, Plaintiff sues multiple defendants for events that took place while Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Warm Springs Correctional Center (“WSCC”) and the Lovelock Correctional Center (“LCC”). (ECF No. 1-1 at 1.) Plaintiff sues Defendants Medical Director R. Aranas, Director of Nurses Patricia Smith, Registered Nurse B. Borg, LCC Warden Baker, and Correctional Officer File. (Id. at 2-3.) Plaintiff alleges three counts and seeks injunctive and monetary relief. (Id. at 11.)

         A. ...


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