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Aros v. Ryan

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

May 28, 2013

Armando R. Aros, III, Plaintiff,
v.
Charles L. Ryan, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

SUSAN R. BOLTON, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint. (Doc. 59) On December 20, 2012, Magistrate Judge Anderson granted Plaintiff's Motion to Amend, doc. 31, authorizing Plaintiff to file his Third Amended Complaint. (Doc. 39) Judge Anderson stated in the Order that the Third Amended Complaint would be screened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) in a separate order. (Doc. 39 at 5) This is that Order.

The Court screened Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, doc. 19, in an Order issued on August 16, 2012. (Doc. 21) After a lengthy analysis, the Court dismissed without prejudice Counts Two through Twelve and Count Fourteen. (Doc. 21 at 18) In addition, the Court dismissed without prejudice Defendants Ryan, Herman, Freeland, McDonald, Shatto, Ramos, Valenzuela, Weisheit, Harris, Velasco, Cardenas, Dodds, and Plausner. ( Id. ) Defendants Savio, Ochoa, Hetmer, Jump, Crabtree, King and Trevino were directed to answer Count One, and Defendants Heet and Trujillo were directed to answer Count Thirteen. ( Id. ) The docket reflects that all nine Defendants have waived service of process with respect to the Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. 32-36, 41, 66-67, 71)

1. Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or an employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if Plaintiff has raised claims that are legally frivolous or malicious, that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2).

A pleading must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) (emphasis added). While Rule 8 does not demand detailed factual allegations, "it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statement, do not suffice." Id.

"[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible "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. "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. at 1950. Thus, although a plaintiff's specific factual allegations may be consistent with a constitutional claim, a court must assess whether there are other "more likely explanations" for a defendant's conduct. Id. at 1951.

But as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has instructed, courts must "continue to construe pro se filings liberally." Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). A "complaint [filed by a pro se prisoner] must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Id. (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) ( per curiam )).

2. Third Amended Complaint and Discussion

An amended complaint supersedes its original complaint. Hal Roach Studios v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d 1542, 1546 (9th Cir. 1990); King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567 (9th Cir. 1987). Causes of action alleged in an original complaint which are not alleged in an amended complaint are waived. King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d at 567. Thus, Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint supersedes the Second Amended Complaint filed in June 2012.

Like the Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges fourteen causes of action in the Third Amended Complaint. Plaintiff names twenty-one defendants in the Third Amended Complaint, twenty of whom were named in the Second Amended Complaint.[1]

a. Count One

Plaintiff's allegations in Count One are identical to the allegations in Count One of the Second Amended Complaint. Having already analyzed these allegations in the prior screening order, the Court need not repeat its analysis here. (Doc. 21 at 4-6) The Court finds that Plaintiff has stated a retaliation claim against Defendants Savio, Ochoa, Hetmer, Jump, Crabtree, and Trevino in Count One and will require them to answer the allegations therein.

b. Count Two

Plaintiff's allegations in Count Two are essentially the same as the allegations in Count Two of the Second Amended Complaint. The only differences, a citation to a Ninth Circuit case and the addition of a fifth defendant, are insufficient to alter the Court's due process analysis from the prior screening ...


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