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Flores v. Pinal County Sheriff's Office

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

November 26, 2013

Jaime Flores, Plaintiff,
Pinal County Sheriff's Office, et al., Defendants.


ROBERT C. BROOMFIELD, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff Jaime Flores, who is confined the Arizona State Prison Complex, filed a pro se Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in Pinal County Superior Court. Defendants removed the action to this Court on August 27, 2013 and paid the filing fee.

On August 28, 2013, Defendants filed a Motion for Screening and Motion for Stay (Doc. 4). The Court will dismiss the Complaint with leave to amend and deny as moot the Motion for Screening and Motion for Stay.

I. Removal to Federal Court

Title 28 U.S.C. §1441 authorizes removal of any civil action brought in the state court over which the federal district courts would have original jurisdiction. "Only... actions that originally could have been filed in federal court may be removed to federal court by the defendant." Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). Absent diversity of citizenship (not present here), federal question jurisdiction is required. Federal district courts have original jurisdiction over all civil actions arising under the Constitution of the United States pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, including those actions where the plaintiff has requested a remedy under state law for an alleged violation of a federal substantive right. Smith v. Kansas City Title & Trust, 255 U.S. 180, 199 (1921).

Plaintiff's Complaint states that his claims arise under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Plaintiff has not objected to removal. The Court finds removal was proper.

II. Failure to File Complaint on Court-Approved Form

Pursuant to Local Rule of Civil Procedure 3.4, "[a]ll complaints and applications to proceed in forma pauperis by incarcerated persons shall be signed and legibly written or typewritten on forms approved by the Court." Plaintiff has not filed his Complaint on the court-approved form and the Court is unable to determine the precise number and nature of Plaintiff's claims. The Court will therefore dismiss the Complaint and grant Plaintiff 30 days to file an amended complaint on the court-approved form.

Plaintiff must clearly designate on the face of the document that it is a "First Amended Complaint." A first amended complaint must be retyped or rewritten in its entirety on the court-approved form and may not incorporate any part of the original Complaint by reference. Plaintiff may include only one claim per count.

If Plaintiff files an amended complaint, Plaintiff must write short, plain statements telling the Court: (1) the constitutional right Plaintiff believes was violated; (2) the name of the Defendant who violated the right; (3) exactly what that Defendant did or failed to do; (4) how the action or inaction of that Defendant is connected to the violation of Plaintiff's constitutional right; and (5) what specific injury Plaintiff suffered because of that Defendant's conduct. See Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72, 377 (1976).

Plaintiff must repeat this process for each person he names as a Defendant. If Plaintiff fails to affirmatively link the conduct of each named Defendant with the specific injury suffered by Plaintiff, the allegations against that Defendant will be dismissed for failure to state a claim. Conclusory allegations that a Defendant or group of Defendants has violated a constitutional right are not acceptable and will be dismissed.

Plaintiff should note that mere negligent failure to protect an inmate from another inmate is not actionable under § 1983. Davidson v. Cannon, 474 U.S. 344 (1986). A prison official violates the Eighth Amendment in failing to protect one inmate from another only when two conditions are met. First, the alleged constitutional deprivation must be, objectively, "sufficiently serious;" the official's act or omission must result in the denial of "the minimal civilized measure of life=s necessities." Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). Second, the prison official must have a "sufficiently culpable state of mind, " i.e., he must act with deliberate indifference to inmate health or safety. Id. In defining "deliberate indifference" in this context, the Supreme Court has imposed a subjective test:

the official must both be aware of the facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the inference.

Id. at 839 (emphasis supplied).

Further, a viable claim of First Amendment retaliation contains five basic elements: (1) an assertion that a state actor took some adverse action against an inmate (2) because of (3) that prisoner's protected conduct, and that such action (4) chilled the inmate's exercise of his First Amendment rights (or that the inmate suffered more than minimal harm) and (5) did not reasonably advance a legitimate correctional goal. Rhodes v. Robinson, 408 F.3d 559, 567-68 (9th Cir. 2005); see also Hines v. Gomez, 108 F.3d 265, 267 (9th Cir. 1997) (retaliation claim requires an inmate to show (1) that the prison official acted in retaliation for the exercise of a constitutionally protected right, and (2) that the action "advanced no legitimate penological interest"). The plaintiff has the burden of demonstrating that his exercise of his First Amendment rights was a substantial or motivating factor behind the defendants' conduct. Mt. Healthy City School Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 287 (1977); Soranno's Gasco, Inc. v. Morgan, 874 F.2d 1310, 1314 (9th Cir. 1989)....

III. Motion for Screening and Motion for Stay

Defendants request that the Court screen Plaintiff's case pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act and stay this action pending screening. Because the Court is already statutorily required to screen Plaintiff's case, the Court will deny the Motion as moot. Further, a stay of proceedings is unnecessary because Plaintiff's original Complaint will be dismissed with leave to amend. If Plaintiff files an amended complaint, the Court will conduct statutorily required screening of the amended complaint and will notify Defendants if an answer is required.

IV. Warnings

A. Address Changes

Plaintiff must file and serve a notice of a change of address in accordance with Rule 83.3(d) of the Local Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff must not include a motion for other relief with a notice of change of address. Failure to comply may result in dismissal of this action.

B. Copies

Plaintiff must submit an additional copy of every filing for use by the Court. See LRCiv 5.4. Failure to comply may result in the filing being stricken without further notice to Plaintiff.

C. Possible Dismissal

If Plaintiff fails to timely comply with every provision of this Order, including these warnings, the Court may dismiss this action without further notice. See Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1260-61 (9th Cir. 1992) (a district court may dismiss an action for failure to comply with any order of the Court).


(1) The Complaint (filed with the Notice of Removal at Doc. 1) is dismissed. Plaintiff has 30 days from the date this Order is filed to file a first amended complaint in compliance with this Order.

(2) If Plaintiff fails to file an amended complaint within 30 days, the Clerk of Court must, without further notice, enter a judgment of dismissal of this action without prejudice.

(3) Defendants' August 28, 2013 Motion for Screening and Motion for Stay (Doc. 4) is denied as moot.

(4) The Clerk of Court must mail Plaintiff a court-approved form for filing a civil rights complaint by a prisoner.

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