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Knaubert v. Last Forced Medication Committee

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 8, 2014

Michael Knaubert, Plaintiff,
Last Forced Medication Committee, Defendant.


STEPHEN M. McNAMEE, Senior District Judge.

On January 27, 2014, Plaintiff Michael Knaubert, who is confined in the Arizona State Prison Complex-Eyman, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. In an April 22, 2014 Order, the Court granted the Application to Proceed and dismissed the Complaint because Plaintiff had failed to state a claim. The Court gave Plaintiff 30 days to file an amended complaint that cured the deficiencies identified in the Order.

On April 28, 2014, Plaintiff filed a letter[1] and another document, which was docketed as a Motion for Clarification (Doc. 16). On May 19, 2014, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint (Doc. 17). The Court will dismiss the First Amended Complaint with leave to amend.

I. 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 First Amended Complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim, but because it may possibly be amended to state a claim, the Court will dismiss it with leave to amend.

II. First Amended Complaint

In his five-count First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff names the following Defendants: Mertz, a mental health psych associate at SMU-1 and Eyman Complex-Cook; and John Does 1 through 9, all listed as "pychrist (sic) mental health" or "mental health psychrist (sic)" at SMU-1. Plaintiff seeks damages.

In Count One, Plaintiff asserts a claim of retaliation and alleges the following facts: Defendant Mertz knew Plaintiff "was there for admin p[u]rpose and not for mental health." Mertz was apparently caught falsifying paperwork and was "removed from his case load." Mertz said, "I will put you in for forced medication" and refused to say on what grounds. Mertz was almost fired and given a second chance before "putting in for forced medication meds turned [Plaintiff] into a zombie." Plaintiff was "there" until housing could be found for him. Plaintiff's injuries consist of a delay of his filings in state courts, he was "put into binds, " and costs of over $100.00.

In Count Two, Plaintiff asserts an access to the courts claim and alleges the following: Plaintiff wrote two separate writs of habeas corpus with different issues and gave them to the CO III to fax to the court. Plaintiff found out that the CO III was "a phony" and he "only got 1 phony reply denying action based on phony paper."

In Count Three, Plaintiff asserts a medical care claim and alleges the following: Plaintiff was given medication "for a problem that does not exist." It turned Plaintiff into a zombie and he could barely think for himself.

In Count Four, Plaintiff alleges that he was denied a qualified legal representative of his choice.

In Count Five, Plaintiff alleges that he was denied a competent lawyer or legal representative. The DOC Officer never talked to Plaintiff in private to explain the situation, to find out Plaintiff's side of the story, or to verify Plaintiff's facts, which are: (1) "housing problem not a mental health situation"; and (2) "had no mental health problems as put on paper every day. Like hearing no voices, no hallucinations, or ...

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