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Davis v. Albrect

United States District Court, D. Arizona

May 9, 2014

Michael Dean Davis, Plaintiff,
v.
Richard Albrect, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

STEPHEN M. McNAMEE, Senior District Judge.

On November 1, 2013, Plaintiff Michael Dean Davis, who is confined in the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint in Maricopa County Superior Court, case number CV-013518 (Doc. 1, Exhibit 1). In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges violations of his rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, as well as claims under the Arizona Constitution and Arizona state law. Plaintiff named as Defendants Commissioner Richard Albrecht, Maricopa County Superior Court Judges Susanna Pineda and Teresa Sanders, MCAO[1] Jennifer Hanson, MCAO Jeffrey Duvenback, and OPDS[2] Attorneys Marvin Davis and Amy Bain....

On January 2, 2014, Defendants Jennifer Hanson, Jeffery Hanson, [3] and Albrecht removed the case to federal court based on federal subject matter jurisdiction, stating that they were served with the Complaint on December 17, 2013. On January 9, 2014, Defendants Albrecht, Pineda and Sanders filed a Motion to Dismiss based on absolute judicial immunity, or, alternatively, Plaintiff's failure to comply with Arizona's notice of claim statute. (Doc. 3.) Also on January 9, 2014, Defendants Duvenback and Jennifer Hanson filed a Motion to Dismiss based on prosecutorial immunity, or, alternatively, failure to state a claim against them. (Doc. 4.)

The Court will dismiss the Motions to Dismiss as moot. The Court is already statutorily required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or an employee of a governmental entity.[4] 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Court will dismiss this action.

I. Removal to Federal Court was Proper

The Complaint facially shows that subject matter jurisdiction is proper in federal court and that the case was timely removed. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b).

A defendant may remove any civil action brought in state court over which the federal court would have original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §1441(a). That is, a civil action that could have originally been brought in federal court may be removed from state to federal court. Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). A federal court has original jurisdiction "of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331....

The Complaint in this case alleges violations of his federal constitutional rights. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Further, the case was timely removed. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b).

II. 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 a 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, 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 679. 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 681.

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 )).

If the Court determines that a pleading could be cured by the allegation of other facts, a pro se litigant is entitled to an opportunity to amend a complaint before dismissal of the action. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127-29 (9th Cir. 2000) ( en banc ). Plaintiff's Complaint will be dismissed for failure ...


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