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Hermanns-Raymond v. Maui Community Corr. Center

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

November 28, 2016

ROCKY HERMANNS-RAYMOND, #A6026839, Plaintiff,


          Leslie E. Kobayashi United States District Judge

         Before the court is pro se Plaintiff Rocky Hermanns-Raymond's First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 14. Plaintiff names the Maui Community Correctional Center (MCCC), and unidentified MCCC prison officials John and Jane Does 1-6 in their individual capacities, as Defendants.

         For the following reasons, the FAC is DISMISSED for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) & 1915A(b). Because Plaintiff was given leave to correct the deficiencies in his claims and is unable to do so, this dismissal is with prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff commenced this action on September 12, 2016. Compl., ECF No. 1. On October 14, 2016, the court dismissed Plaintiff's Complaint and supplement for Plaintiff's failure to state a claim, with leave granted to amend. Order, ECF No. 10. The court determined that the Eleventh Amendment barred Plaintiff's claims against the State of Hawaii, and the Director of the Department of Public Safety and MCCC Warden in their official capacities. The court further found that Plaintiff's facts were insufficient to state a claim under the Eighth Amendment for his allegations of (1) overcrowding, and (2) delay of medical care when he was incarcerated at MCCC.[1]

         In the FAC, Plaintiff alleges that between March and October 2015, he was housed with three other inmates in a two-man cell at MCCC. Plaintiff says that he and his cellmates were confined in their cell “for up to 10 hours, ” and sometimes longer. ECF 14, PageID #62. Plaintiff states that on one occasion he tripped over a mattress on the cell's floor, fell, cut his eye, and required medical care. Plaintiff acknowledges that the mattress was “open and obvious, ” but alleges that Defendants are liable for this “foreseeable” obstacle that caused his fall. Id., PageID #62-63.

         Plaintiff provides no details identifying Defendants John and Jane Does 1-6, although he suggests they are MCCC officials with responsibility for making inmate housing assignments. Plaintiff concludes that Defendants, by housing him in a two-inmate cell with three other inmates, violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment.[2] Plaintiff seeks damages only.


         The court must screen all civil actions brought by prisoners challenging prison conditions or 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 on which relief may be granted, or seek relief from a defendant who is immune from suit must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (c)(1).

         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). 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). This does not demand detailed factual allegations, but requires “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “[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 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. That is, “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.

         Leave to amend should be granted if it appears the plaintiff can correct the defects in the complaint. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). Dismissal without leave to amend is appropriate when it is clear that amendment is futile. Sylvia Landfield Trust v. City of L.A., 729 F.3d 1189, 1196 (9th Cir. 2013).


         “To sustain an action under section 1983, a plaintiff must show ‘(1) that the conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under color of state law; and (2) that the conduct deprived the plaintiff of a federal constitutional or statutory right.'” Hydrick v. Hunter, 500 F.3d 978, 987 (9th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted), vacated and remanded on other grounds, 556 U.S. 1256 (2009); see also West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         Section 1983 also requires a connection between a defendant's actions and a plaintiff's allegations. See Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Serv., 436 U.S. 658 (1978); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362 (1976). “A person ‘subjects' another to the deprivation of a constitutional right, within the meaning of section 1983, if he does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative acts, or omits to perform an act which he is legally ...

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