United States District Court, D. Nevada
MIRANDA M. DU CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
who is incarcerated 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.
(ECF Nos. 1, 1-1.) The Court now screens Plaintiff's
civil rights complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
IN FORMA PAUPERIS APPLICATION
the Court is Plaintiff's application to proceed in
forma pauperis. (ECF No. 1.) Based on the information he
provided regarding Plaintiff's financial status, the
Court finds that Plaintiff is not able to pay an initial
installment payment toward the full filing fee pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915. Plaintiff will, however, be required to
make monthly payments toward the full $350.00 filing fee when
he has funds available.
courts must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in
which an incarcerated person 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 Id. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro
se pleadings, however, must be liberally construed.
See 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,
addition to the screening requirements under § 1915A,
pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), a federal court must dismiss an
incarcerated person'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).
under Rule 12(b)(6) is essentially a ruling on a question of
law. See Chappel v. Lab. Corp. of Am., 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. See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action is insufficient. See id.
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.
all or part of a complaint filed by an incarcerated person
may therefore be dismissed sua sponte if that
person'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).
SCREENING OF COMPLAINT
Complaint, Plaintiff sues multiple defendants for events that
took place while Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Washoe
County Detention Facility (“WCDF”). (ECF No. 1-1
at 1.) Plaintiff sues Defendants Sheriff Chuck Allen and
Washoe County Commissioners Marsha Berkbigler, Vaughn
Hartung, Jeanne Herman, Kitty Jung, and Bob Lucey.
(Id. at 2-3.) Plaintiff alleges four counts and
seeks declaratory, injunctive, and monetary
relief. (Id. at 8, 12.)
Complaint alleges the following. While at the WCDF, Plaintiff
was a pretrial detainee representing himself during his
criminal trial. (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff was unable to
file a timely motion for mistrial based on legitimate grounds
because the WCDF had no legal materials. (Id. at 5.)
Jail officials instructed Plaintiff to access legal materials
through Washoe Legal Services but Washoe Legal Services only
issues advice on civil matters. (Id.)
November 24, 2017, Plaintiff learned that jail officials
provided federal pretrial detainees on ICE holds access to a
mobile information station with law library access but would
not provide the same information to state pretrial detainees.
(Id. at 6.) The county commissioners were in charge
of funding. (Id. at 7.) The WCDF had an
administrative process that failed to provide any meaningful
procedures to ...