United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND
PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) &
Michael Seabright Chief United States District Judge.
the court is pro se Plaintiff Ian Dennison’s prisoner
civil rights Complaint. Dennison is incarcerated at the
Saguaro Correctional Center located in Eloy, Arizona, but
complains of incidents that occurred at the State of
Hawaii’s Waiawa Correctional Facility
(“WCF”) in December 2015. Dennison names WCF, its
Warden Scott Harrington, and correctional officers Lieutenant
Anthony Monteilh, and Officer Armitage (collectively,
“Defendants”) in their official capacities.
alleges Defendants violated his rights to due process and
equal protection under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to
the United States Constitution during and after a
disciplinary hearing. Dennison’s Complaint is DISMISSED
for failure to state a cognizable claim for relief.
See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) &
1915A(b). He is granted leave to amend to correct the
deficiencies discussed below, on or before September 16,
was incarcerated at WCF between October 6 and November 19,
2015. He alleges that on or about November 18,
2015, Officer Armitage noted that Dennison’s eyes were
red, claimed that he was intoxicated, and issued him a
misconduct report. Lieutenant Monteilh investigated the
charges, and Dennison states that his urinalysis test was
officials conducted a disciplinary hearing on December 10,
2015, after Dennison’s transfer from WCF. Three
officers testified that Dennison appeared intoxicated
(notwithstanding the negative urinalysis); Dennison was not
permitted to present medical records clarifying why his eyes
appeared red. Dennison was found guilty of violating
Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) Policy and
Procedures Manual, COR.13.03.4.0.3a.7(9), which states:
.3 High Misconduct Violations (7)
a. 7(9) Possession, introduction, manufacturing or use of any
narcotic paraphernalia, drugs, intoxicants, synthetic drug
composition or alcoholic beverages not prescribed for the
individual by the medical staff, which includes any form of
sanctions for a high misconduct violation may include
disciplinary segregation for up to thirty days and any other
sanction beyond disciplinary segregation, COR.13.03.3(b),
Dennison does not detail what sanction was imposed. Although
he appealed, Warden Harrington upheld the hearing
officers’ decision. Dennison alleges that, as a result
of the misconduct finding, he was denied parole and must
complete additional mandatory programs for parole
eligibility. He also says his classification status was
claims that DPS Policy and Procedures require
“representation and confrontation of evidence.”
Compl., Doc. No. 1, PageID #6. He alleges no evidence was
presented against him (other than three officers’
testimony that he appeared intoxicated), and that he was,
therefore, treated differently than similarly situated
inmates. He claims this violated his constitutional rights to
due process and equal protection. Dennison seeks damages,
expungement of the disciplinary report, a new parole hearing,
or immediate parole.
court must screen all prisoner civil actions seeking redress
from a governmental entity, officer, or employee. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). Complaints or claims that are frivolous,
malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek relief from an
immune defendant must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(c)(1). The court must set conclusory factual
allegations aside, accept non-conclusory factual allegations
as true, and determine whether these allegations state a
plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 677-80 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Plausibility does
not mean “probability, ” but it requires
“more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Id. at 678.
state a claim, 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). A complaint
that lacks a cognizable legal theory or alleges insufficient
facts under a cognizable legal theory fails to state a claim.
Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d
696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). “Threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
to amend should be granted if it appears the plaintiff can
correct the complaint’s defects. Lopez v.
Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). A
court has the discretion to dismiss a complaint without leave
to amend, however, when “it is clear that the complaint
could not be saved by any amendment.” Sylvia
Landfield Trust v. City of L.A., 729 F.3d 1189, 1196
(9th Cir. 2013).