United States District Court, D. Nevada
NYUTU K. WOODS, Plaintiff,
NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, BRIAN WILLIAMS and JERRY HOWELL, Defendants.
P. GORDON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Nyutu Woods, who is a prisoner in the custody of the Nevada
Department of Corrections (NDOC), has submitted a civil
rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and filed an
application to proceed in forma pauperis. ECF No. 1,
1-1. The matter of the filing fee shall be temporarily
deferred. Based on the information regarding Woods's
financial status, I find that Woods is not able to pay an
initial installment payment toward the full filing fee. Woods
will, however, be required to make monthly payments toward
the full $350.00 filing fee when he has funds available. I
now screen Woods's civil rights complaint under 28 U.S.C.
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).
addition to the screening requirements under § 1915A,
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires a federal
court to 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).
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 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
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 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).
SCREENING OF COMPLAINT
sues the NDOC and Wardens Brian Williams and Jerry Howell.
ECF No. 1-1 at 1. He alleges two counts and seeks monetary
damages. Id. at 5, 9.
alleges the following: Woods is serving a sentence of
three-to-twenty years. Id. at 4. Warden Williams
violated Woods's rights by not deducting 20 days per
month from his minimum sentence as he alleges is required by
NRS § 209.4465(1). Id. at 3, 4. He alleges that
he is approaching his fifth year on this sentence, but if he
had been given the correct time credits, he would not have
been incarcerated 1277 days illegally and unconstitutionally;
this causes him mental, physical, and emotional distress and
deprives him of his life and liberty. Id. at 4. He
alleges this conduct violates his Fifth Amendment, Fourteenth
Amendment, and Eighth Amendment rights. Id.
II alleges Warden Howell has similarly violated Woods's
rights by not deducting 20 days per month from his minimum
sentence. Id. at 5. Thus, he has served 1277 days
unjustly, which has taken a toll on his health. Id.
Woods concludes that this is a violation of his life,
liberty, due process of law, and cruel and unusual
punishment. Id. He alleges that this conduct
violates his Fifth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, and
Eighth Amendment rights. Id.
Fifth Amendment Claims
Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause applies to the
federal government, not the States, while the Fourteenth
Amendment's Due Process Clause applies to the states.
See Castillo v. McFadden, 399 F.3d 993, 1002 n.5
(9th Cir. 2005). Because Woods is suing state employees not
federal employees, the Fifth Amendment does not apply. ...