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Thompson v. City and County of Honolulu

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

January 18, 2017

THAD THOMPSON #A5013250, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU, HALAWA CORR. FACILITY, HENRY HOPE, BRANDON SMITH, Defendants.

          ORDER PROVISIONALLY GRANTING IN FORMA PAUPERIS APPLICATION AND DIRECTING SERVICE

          J. MICHAEL SEABRIGHT, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is pro se Plaintiff Thad Thompson's prisoner civil rights Complaint and in forma pauperis (“IFP”) application. ECF Nos. 1, 2. Thompson names the City and County of Honolulu, the Halawa Correctional Facility (“HCF”), and HCF correctional officers (“CO”) Sergeant Henry Hope and Brandon Smith as Defendants. He alleges Defendants violated his rights to access the court and redress his grievances; he seeks relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         For the following reasons, Thompson's IFP application is provisionally GRANTED, subject to prison officials filing a certified account statement showing that Thompson is indigent. HCF and the City and County of Honolulu are DISMISSED.

         Thompson is DIRECTED to effect service on Defendants Henry Hope and Brandon Smith by mailing a copy of the Complaint and completed service documents to the United States Marshal. After service is effected, Hope and Smith SHALL file a response to Thompson's Complaint.

         I. LEGAL STANDARD

         The 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). During screening, the court sets conclusory factual allegations aside, accepts non-conclusory factual allegations as true, and determines 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.

         To 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 678; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         Courts must construe pro se pleadings liberally “to afford the petitioner the benefit of any doubt.” Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted). The court “should not dismiss a pro se complaint without leave to amend unless ‘it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment.'” Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 1212 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Schucker v. Rockwood, 846 F.2d 1202, 1203-04 (9th Cir. 1988) (per curiam)).

         II. BACKGROUND

         Thompson has another federal civil lawsuit pending before this Court. See Thompson v. Afamasaga, Civ. No. 1:16-cv-00128 JMS/KSC (D. Haw. 2016). On November 22, 2016, Thompson was moved to the HCF medium facility special housing unit (“MSHU”). He immediately requested copies of the forms he needed to attend the MSHU law library or to use its legal kiosks and asked for his legal papers (which were stored for the move to the MSHU) to stay abreast of his pending suit. Thompson says that Smith told him that while he is in pre-trial disciplinary segregation, or if he is later found guilty and is sanctioned to disciplinary segregation, he may not visit the law library, use legal kiosks, receive mail, make and receive personal and legal phone calls, or retain his legal documents. See generally, Compl., ECF No. 1; see also Pl.'s Mot. for Prelim. Inj., ECF No. 3.

         Between November 22 and December 29, 2016, Thompson says he submitted “multiple written requests” to Sergeant Hope requesting law library and kiosk scheduling forms, legal and personal phone calls, mail delivery, and access to his legal documents, always explaining that he had a pending federal civil suit. ECF No. 1, PageId. #4. Thompson made these same requests verbally to Smith. Hope and Smith allegedly denied Thompson's requests. Thompson says he is currently pursuing a grievance over these issues but Hope and Smith's alleged denials of grievance forms have delayed his efforts.[1]

         Thompson claims that Hope and Smith's actions violated his right to access the court and caused him an “actual injury” to Civ. No. 1:16-cv-00128. He seeks punitive damages, declaratory, and injunctive relief.

         III. IFP APPLICATION

         Thompson alleges that he is indigent and cannot pay the civil filing fee to commence this action. He says he is unable to provide the court with a copy of his trust account statement and prison certification of the amount in ...


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