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Oyadomari v. State

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

April 29, 2016



          KENNETH J. MANSFIELD, Magistrate Judge.

         On April 4, 2016, Plaintiff William K. Oyadomari ("Plaintiff") filed a Complaint with this Court, proceeding pro se and seeking relief for what appears to be various constitutional claims against the State of Hawaii and the Oahu Criminal Correctional Center. See ECF No. 1 (emphasis added). The Court assumes that Plaintiff intended to name the Oahu Community Correctional Center ("O.C.C.C.") not the Oahu Criminal Correctional Center, and will proceed based on that understanding. Plaintiff has also filed two applications to move before the Court in forma pauperis ("I.F.P.") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915, the first on April 8, 2016 ("Application I") and the second on April 12, 2016 ("Application II"). See ECF No. 5, 6. Application I and II are nearly identical except that in one application Plaintiff omitted a required response to a single question. Id . Because Applications I and II are substantively requesting the same relief, the Court will consolidate both and rule on them as one. For the reasons that follow, the Court FINDS and RECOMMENDS that the District Court DISMISS Plaintiff's Complaint and GRANT leave to amend any potential claims arising under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 ("Section 1983") as discussed below. The Court also RECOMMENDS that the District Court DENY Plaintiff's I.F.P. Application.


         The Complaint consists of eight numbered paragraphs from which the Court can discern four potential "claims." See ECF No. 1 at 1. First, paragraphs one through three generally allege that the O.C.C.C. failed to provide adequate clothing. Id. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that "each prisoner upon entry shall be given a complete prisoner's uniform... staff did not give me clothes for 22 days even with numerous [requests for clothes]." Id. Second, in paragraph four, Plaintiff complains that he did not receive a razor necessary for grooming. Id. Third, paragraphs five, seven, and eight appear to allege that the food offered at the O.C.C.C. was both insufficient and of poor quality. Id. Specifically, Plaintiff states that "three food meal(s) portions w[ere] not given to me, " followed by a claim that "food meal(s) were mainly cabbage soup with one portion, thumb size beef." Id. According to Plaintiff, the effect of the food conditions overall resulted in "starvation" causing him to "lose thirty-three pounds while incarcerated at Hawaii-O.C.C.C. prison." Id. Finally, paragraph six states only that Plaintiff "made grievances" with respect to all of his complaints. Plaintiff provides no further details and does not elaborate on the nature of the causes of action for which legal relief may be appropriate. The events at issue correspond to an undated three-month period of incarceration, which occurred some time before Plaintiff filed his Complaint. The Complaint was hand-dated March 31, 2016, but received by the Court on April 4, 2016.

         Plaintiff requests $80, 000 in damages from the State of Hawaii for pain and suffering he describes as being "treated worse than an animal." ECF No. 1 at 2.


         Plaintiff has applied to the Court to proceed in forma pauperis. A court may authorize the commencement or prosecution of any suit without prepayment of fees by a person who submits an affidavit that the person is unable to pay such fees. 28 U.S.C. 1915(a)(1). An applicant is entitled to in forma pauperis relief when he can show that he "cannot because of his poverty pay or give security for the costs [of litigation] and still be able to provide himself and dependents with the necessities of life." Adkins v. E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co., Inc., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948) (internal quotations omitted). However, a court may deny leave to proceed in forma pauperis at the outset and dismiss the complaint if it appears from the face of the proposed complaint that the action is frivolous, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2); see Tripati v. First Nat'l Bank & Trust, 821 F.2d 1368, 1370 (9th Cir. 1987); Minetti v. Port of Seattle, 152 F.3d 1113, 1115 (9th Cir. 1998). A complaint is frivolous if "it has no arguable substance of law or fact." Tripati, 821 F.2d at 1370 (citations omitted); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). The term frivolous "embraces not only the inarguable legal conclusion, but also the fanciful factual allegation." Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 325.

         If the court dismisses the complaint, it should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was made, unless the court determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000); see also Tripati, 821 F.2d at 1370. Specifically, "pro se plaintiffs proceeding in forma pauperis must also be given an opportunity to amend their complaint unless it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment.'" Tripati, 821 F.2d at 1370 (quoting Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1228 n.9 (9th Cir. 1984)).


         Although it is not entirely clear, Plaintiff's claims against the State of Hawaii and the correctional facility, O.C.C.C., appear to allege constitutional violations under Section 1983. ECF No. 1 at 1. Plaintiff seeks $80, 000 in damages. ECF No. 1 at 2. Except for Plaintiff's statements associated with food conditions, the Complaint fails to articulate any other cognizable claims. Plaintiff also fails to name any proper Defendants. The Court therefore recommends that the Complaint be dismissed with leave to amend on any potential claims under Section 1983, but that the claims against the State of Hawaii and state agencies be dismissed with prejudice as failing to state a legal claim.

         I. The Eleventh Amendment Bars Plaintiff's Claims Against the Named Defendants

         It is well settled that under the Eleventh Amendment, a state is immune from suit brought in federal court by its own citizens or citizens of other states. Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 275 (1986); Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 99 (1984). Federal court actions against agencies or instrumentalities of a state are also barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Shaw v. State of Cal. Dep't. of Alcoholic Beverage Control, 788 F.2d 600, 603 (9th Cir. 1986). A suit against state officials, in their official capacities, is the same as a suit against the state itself and therefore is subject to the Eleventh Amendment. Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166-67 (1985).

         Unless the state unequivocally waives sovereign immunity or Congress exercises its power under the Fourteenth Amendment to override the immunity, the state, its agencies, and its officials (acting in their official capacities) are immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment. Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989); Pennhurst, 465 U.S. at 99.

         Accordingly, because Plaintiff's Complaint names the State of Hawaii and its agencies, the Court finds that these claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment and cannot be cured. SeeP.R. Aqueduct & ...

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