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Thompson v. Ikegami

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

August 1, 2017

THAD J. THOMPSON, #A5013250, Plaintiff,
SGT. IKEGAMI, et al., Defendants,


         Before the Court are Plaintiff Thad J. Thompson's Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) and third Motion for Preliminary Injunction.[1] ECF Nos. 19, 20. Thompson Defendants HCF Sergeant (Sgt.) Ikegami, Counselor Katherine Torres, Captain (Capt.) Paleka, and Law Librarian Marina violated his First Amendment right to access the court.

         Thompson's SAC is DISMISSED. Because it is clear that he cannot amend to adequately state a claim, despite being given the opportunity to do so, this dismissal is with prejudice. Thompson's Motion for Preliminary Injunction is DENIED.

         I. SCREENING

         Federal courts must screen all cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee, or seek to proceed without prepayment of the civil filing fees. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(b)(2) and 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims and dismiss those claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. at §§ 1915(b)(2) and 1915A(b).

         A complaint 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). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Moreover, a plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). That is, a plaintiff must allege that he suffered a specific injury as a result of a particular defendant's conduct and an affirmative link between the injury and the violation of his rights. See Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72, 377 (1976).

         Pro se prisoners' pleadings must be liberally construed and given the benefit of any doubt. Blaisdell v. Frappiea, 729 F.3d 1237, 1241 (9th Cir. 2013); Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). However, “the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). “[A] liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled.” Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)). A plaintiff must identify specific facts supporting the existence of substantively plausible claims for relief. Johnson v. City of Shelby, 135 S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014) (per curiam) (citation omitted). Leave to amend should be granted if it appears possible that the plaintiff can correct the complaint's defects. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000). When it is clear the complaint cannot be saved by amendment, dismissal without leave to amend is appropriate. 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.

         A. Thompson's Claims[2]

         On or about May 15, 2017, Thompson was transferred to the High Special Housing Unit (HSHU), where he was told that he could keep only three inches of paperwork in his cell per Sgt. Ikegami's instructions. Thompson protested that he needed his paperwork and legal books to properly litigate his pending action, Thompson v. Afamasaga, No. 1:16-cv-00128 JMS-KSC (D. Haw. 2016). He also says he was denied adequate writing supplies.

         Thompson immediately began requesting his legal materials and writing supplies from Defendants Ikegami, Paleka, and Torres. Torres allegedly told Thompson there were no manilla envelopes, because “times are hard.” SAC, ECF. No. 20, PageID #118. Thompson also asked Torres to forward his requests for law library and kiosk sessions to Defendant Marina, but says he has attended the law library only once in the past eight and a half weeks. He claims that he can have copies made only at the law library.

         Thompson suggests these restrictions have impeded his litigation in No. 1:16-cv-00128 JMS-KSC. He states that he has been “forced” to draw lines on the backs of other paper, make manilla envelopes, and hand copy his documents. SAC, ECF No. 20, PageID #119. He points to an “imminent” Motion Requesting Service of Subpoena and a settlement conference scheduled for September 12, 2017, in No. 1:16-cv-00128 JMS-KSC, arguing these show that he has suffered an actual injury to his access to the court. See id., ECF No. 57 (Mot.) .

         Since filing this action, Thompson has filed two other civil rights suits in this court. See Thompson v. Hawaii Dep't of Public Safety, No. 1:17-cv-00250 DKW-KJM (D. Haw., filed May 30, 2017), and Thompson v. Torres, No. 1:17-cv-00319 DKW-RLP (D. Haw., filed July 7, 2017).

         B. Right of ...

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