United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON
THE PLEADINGS AND DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO
Michael Seabright Chief United States District Judge.
September 26, 2016, pro se Plaintiff Terence O. Isom
(“Plaintiff”) filed a prisoner civil rights
Complaint against Defendants Kauai Community Correctional
Center (“KCCC”) Warden Neal Wagatsuma
(“Wagatsuma”) and KCCC Adult Correctional Officer
(“ACO”) Paul Lemke (“Lemke”)
(collectively, “Defendants”) in both their
official and individual capacities, alleging claims pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his constitutional
right to “personal correspondence.” ECF No. 1.
Before the court is Defendants' Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings. ECF No. 22. For the reasons set forth below,
the Motion is GRANTED, and the Complaint is DISMISSED with
leave to amend.
on allegations in the Complaint and state-court records, of
which the court takes judicial notice,  the court sets
forth the following facts. Plaintiff was arrested on May 30,
2016, for multiple offenses. See Hawaii State
Judiciary Information Management System eCourt Kokua
(last visited Sept. 13, 2017). On January 18, 2017, the state
court sentenced Plaintiff to a one-year term of incarceration
and a separate eighteen-month term of incarceration, to be
served concurrently and with credit for time served.
Id. In addition, the court imposed two concurrent
four-year terms of “hope probation.” Id.
Conditions imposed by the court include that if, after
serving a period of nine months incarceration, Plaintiff is
accepted into an in-patient substance-abuse treatment
program, he may be released to that program. Id. If
Plaintiff fails to complete the program, he must return to
KCCC to serve the remainder of his sentence. Id. If
Plaintiff completes the program, he must return to KCCC to
serve the remainder of his sentence unless his attorney
petitions the state court to modify probation to excuse the
remaining jail time. Id.
incarcerated at KCCC, Plaintiff submitted the names of his
girlfriend, Kimberly Oakes, and her sister, Kristen Oakes, to
be included on his approved correspondence list. Compl. at 5.
Plaintiff wrote letters to each of them, and they wrote
letters to him. Id. The Complaint alleges that
“[t]he facility would not send my letters stating that
both Kim and Kristen were co-defendants in my upcoming
case.” Id. The Complaint further alleges that
“[t]hey also returned the letters from both Kim and
Kristen.” Id. Although Kim was Plaintiff's
co-defendant, Kristen was not. Id. Multiple letters
from each person were returned or denied. Id.
Because of Plaintiff's inability to correspond with Kim
and Kristen, bills in Plaintiff's name could not be paid.
Id. Plaintiff's “vehicle was left on the
highway and has been towed and damaged.” Id.
Plaintiff alleges that he has suffered mentally and
Complaint seeks damages and an injunction ordering that KCCC
allow Plaintiff to correspond with Kim and Kristen and that
Plaintiff serve the remainder of his sentence at Federal
Detention Center Honolulu. Id. at 6.
April 3 and June 1, 2017, Plaintiff filed Notices of Change
of Address, indicating that he is no longer incarcerated at
KCCC. ECF Nos. 13, 20.
18, 2017, Defendants filed the instant Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings. ECF No. 22. Plaintiff filed an Opposition on
August 28, 2017, ECF No. 25, and Defendants filed a Reply on
September 5, 2017, ECF No. 26. A hearing was held on
September 18, 2017.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
may make a motion for judgment on the pleadings at any time
after the pleadings are closed, but within such time as to
not delay the trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). Because the issue
presented by a Rule 12(c) motion is substantially the same as
that posed in a 12(b)(6) motion -- whether the factual
allegations of the complaint, together with all reasonable
inferences, state a plausible claim for relief -- the same
standard applies to both. See Cafasso v. Gen. Dynamics C4
Sys., 637 F.3d 1047, 1054 & 1054 n.4 (9th Cir.
2011); see also Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine Inc.,
867 F.2d 1188, 1192 (9th Cir. 1989) (holding that Rule 12(c)
and Rule 12(b)(6) motions differ in time of filing but are
otherwise “functionally identical, ” and applying
the same standard of review).
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 556 (2007)). In considering a Rule 12(c) motion, the
court “must accept all factual allegations in the
complaint as true and construe them in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party.” Fleming v.
Pickard, 581 F.3d 922, 925 (9th Cir. 2009). The court,
however, “need not assume the truth of legal
conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations.”
United States ex rel. Chunie v. Ringrose, 788 F.2d
638, 643 n.2 (9th Cir. 1986). Thus, “[t]hreadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555). And factual allegations that only permit the
court to infer “the mere possibility of
misconduct” do not show that the pleader is entitled to
relief as required by Rule 8. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
motion for judgment on the pleadings is properly granted when
there are no disputed issues of material fact, and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See
Ventress v. Japan Airlines, 603 F.3d 676, 681 (9th Cir.
2010) (citations omitted). Judgment on the pleadings is not
appropriate if the court considers matters outside of the
pleadings; in such cases, the motion must be converted to a
Rule 56 motion for summary judgment, and the non-moving party
must be granted an opportunity to respond. See Hal Roach
Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d
1542, 1550 (9th Cir. 1989). The court may, however,
“consider certain materials - documents attached to the
complaint, documents incorporated by reference in the
complaint, or matters of judicial notice - without converting
the motion . . . into a motion for summary judgment.”
United States v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 908 (9th
12(c) does not expressly address partial judgment on the
pleadings, leave to amend, or dismissal. But courts commonly
“apply Rule 12(c) to individual causes of action,
” Strigliabotti v. Franklin Res., Inc., 398
F.Supp.2d 1094, 1097 (N.D. Cal. 2005) (citation omitted), and
have discretion to grant a Rule 12(c) motion with leave to
amend, or dismiss the action instead of entering judgment.
See Goens v. Adams & Assocs., Inc., 2017 WL
3981429, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 11, 2017) (citing Carmen
v. San ...