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Dudley v. Mooney

United States District Court, D. Arizona

February 24, 2015

Damien Lakieth Dudley, Plaintiff,
v.
Wayne Mooney, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

STEPHEN M. McNAMEE, Senior District Judge.

I. Background

On July 30, 2014, Plaintiff Damien Lakieth Dudley, who is confined in the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint in the Maricopa County Superior Court against Deputy Warden Wayne Mooney, and the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC). On September 5, 2014, Plaintiff filed a "First Amended Special Action Complaint" in Maricopa County Superior Court against Deputy Warden Wayne Mooney and the State of Arizona. On September 11, 2014, the ADOC filed a Notice of Removal based on federal question jurisdiction and paid the $400.00 filing fee. Because Plaintiff's First Amended Special Action Complaint was filed outside the time frame allowed by Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) and Plaintiff did not move to remand within thirty days of the Notice of Removal, the Court assumed the ADOC was a proper Defendant at the time of removal.[1]

After removal, Plaintiff filed a "First Amended Complaint." In a December 22, 2014 Order, the Court dismissed the First Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim and granted Plaintiff 30 days to file a Second Amended Complaint. On January 20, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 10) and an Affidavit in Support of his Second Amended Complaint (Affidavit) (Doc. 11). On January 21, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Supplemental Authority in Support of Second Amended Complaint (Notice) (Doc. 12). The Court will dismiss the Second Amended Complaint and grant Plaintiff a final opportunity to craft a viable complaint.

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 Second Amended Complaint will be dismissed because Plaintiff failed to comply with Local Rule of Civil Procedure 3.4 and the Instructions for a prisoner complaint, but the Court will dismiss it and give Plaintiff a final opportunity to craft a viable complaint.

III. Second Amended Complaint

Plaintiff has filed a 63-page Second Amended Complaint. Plaintiff filed an additional 29 pages of allegations in his Affidavit and one additional page of allegations in his Notice. In his Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff sues the following Defendants: C.O. II Vagara, Sergeant John Doe, C.O. III Roberts, Deputy Warden Currier, Corizon, and Arizona Department of Corrections.[2] In his Notice, Plaintiff adds the following Defendants: C.O. II Murray, C.O. II Taylor, C.O. II John Doe, Deputy Warden Wayne Mooney, and Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief and monetary damages.

IV. Failure to Comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Local Rule of Civil Procedure 3.4, and Instructions

Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a "short and plain statement of the claim." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 8(d)(1) states that "[e]ach allegation must be simple, concise, and direct." A complaint having the factual elements of a cause of action scattered throughout the complaint and not organized into a "short and plain statement of the claim" may be dismissed for failure to satisfy Rule 8(a). See Sparling v. Hoffman Constr. Co., 864 F.2d 635, 640 (9th Cir. 1988); see also McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172 (9th Cir. 1996). It is ...


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