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Williams v. State

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

September 19, 2017

STATE OF HAWAII, et al., Defendants.


          Leslie E. Kobayashi, United States District Judge.

         On May 19, 2017, Defendant Joseph Self, Jr. (“Self”) filed a Motion to Dismiss First Verified Amended Complaint, Filed on April 24, 2017 [Dkt no. 28] or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment (“Motion”). [Dkt. no. 33.] Pro se Plaintiff Anthony T. Williams (“Plaintiff”) filed a memorandum in opposition on June 6, 2017, [1] and Self filed a reply on June 14, 2017. [Dkt. nos. 37, 38.] The Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing pursuant to Rule LR7.2(d) of the Local Rules of Practice of the United States District Court for the District of Hawai`i (“Local Rules”). Defendant's Motion is hereby granted for the reasons set forth below.


         I. Plaintiff's First Verified Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff filed his Civil Rights Complaint (“Complaint”) on June 28, 2016 in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. [Dkt. no. 1.] On June 28, 2016, the District of Columbia court filed a Transfer Order, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a), that transferred the instant matter to this Court. [Dkt. no. 3.] On July 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed an Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (“Application”), [dkt. no. 2, ] which this Court granted in an Order filed August 31, 2016 (“8/31/16 Order”) [dkt. no. 10]. The 8/31/16 Order also summarized Plaintiff's claims:

Based on the foregoing, the Complaint asserts claims for judicial misconduct pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 351(a), violation of constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985, conspiracy and deprivation of rights pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242, and 249, violation of oaths of office pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 3331-33 and state law, and/or violation of state criminal and civil laws.

         [8/31/16 Order at 10 (footnotes omitted).] Further, the 8/31/16 Order dismissed:

- Plaintiff's claims brought pursuant to federal and state criminal laws, as well as Plaintiff's claims to enforce alleged violations of any oath of office, with prejudice; [id. at 11-13;]
- the claims against Defendant Judge Richard Perkins (“Judge Perkins”) with prejudice based on absolute judicial immunity; [id. at 13-15;]
- the §§ 1983 and 1985 claims brought against Defendants State of Hawai`i, Georgia, and Florida, and their agencies and current and former officers in their official capacities (Governor David Ige (“Governor Ige”); Governor Nathan Deal (“Governor Deal”); Governor Rick Scott (“Governor Scott”); former Governor Neil Abercrombie (“Governor Abercrombie”); Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui (“Lieutenant Governor Tsutsui”); Hawai`i Bureau of Conveyances (“BOC”) and its employee, Nikki Ann Thompson (“Thompson”); Oahu Community Correctional Center (“OCCC”) and OCCC Warden Francis Sequeira (“Warden Sequeira”); State of Hawai`i, Department of the Attorney General (“Hawai`i Attorney General”) and its employee, Self; former Hawai`i Attorney General David Louie (“Louie”); Florida Office of the Attorney General (“Florida Attorney General”) and its employees Catherine Maus (“Maus”), Christopher Killoran (“Killoran”), and Ellen St. Lauren (“St. Lauren”); and the Florida Bar and its employees Ramon Abadin (“Abadin”) and Jacqueline Plasner Needelman (“Needelman”)) with prejudice; [id. at 15-17;]
- the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim against Warden Sequeira for violation of due process with prejudice, and the § 1983 claim against Warden Sequeira for access to the courts without prejudice; [id. at 19-23;] and
- dismissed any remaining claim without prejudice for failure to comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 [id. at 24-25].

         The 8/31/16 Order liberally construed the claims against Self as a claim for excessive force in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause, as well as state common law claims of assault and battery, and allowed them to go forward. [Id. at 23-24.]

         The Court informed Plaintiff that he

may file an amended complaint on or before October 17, 2016, that cures the deficiencies noted above. If Plaintiff chooses to file an amended complaint, he must write short, plain statements telling the court: (1) the constitutional or statutory right Plaintiff believes was violated; (2) the specific basis for this court's jurisdiction; (3) the name of the defendant who violated that right; (4) exactly what that defendant did or failed to do; (5) how the action or inaction of that defendant is connected to the violation of Plaintiff's rights; and (6) what specific injury Plaintiff suffered because of that defendant's conduct. Plaintiff must repeat this process for each person or entity that he names as a defendant. If Plaintiff fails to affirmatively link the conduct of each named defendant with the specific injury he suffered, the allegation against that defendant will be dismissed for failure to state a claim.
An amended complaint generally supersedes a prior complaint, and must be complete in itself without reference to the prior pleading. King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567 (9th Cir. 1987), overruled in part by Lacey v. Maricopa Cty., 693 F.3d 896 (9th Cir. 2012) (en banc). Claims dismissed without prejudice that are not re-alleged in an amended complaint may be deemed voluntarily dismissed. See Lacey, 693 F.3d at 928 (stating that claims dismissed with prejudice need not be repled in an amended complaint to preserve them for appeal, but claims that are not voluntarily dismissed are considered waived if they are not repled.).
The amended complaint must designate that it is the “First Amended Complaint, ” and may not incorporate any part of the original Complaint, but rather, any specific allegations must be retyped or rewritten in their entirety. This includes claims against Defendant Self that were not dismissed. Plaintiff may include only one claim per count. Any cause of action not already dismissed with prejudice that is not raised in the First Amended Complaint is waived.

[Id. at 25-26 (emphasis and footnote omitted).] After a series of extensions of time to file his amended complaint, see dkt. nos. 15, 18, 26, Plaintiff filed his First Verified Amended Complaint (“Amended Complaint”) on April 24, 2017 [dkt. no. 28]. This Court has explained:

Courts may authorize the commencement of a suit without prepayment of fees by a person who submits an affidavit that the person is unable to pay such fees. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). The Court must subject each civil action commenced pursuant to Section 1915(a) to mandatory screening and order the dismissal of any claim that it finds “frivolous, malicious, failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeking monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000) (stating that 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) “not only permits but requires” the court to dismiss a § 1915(a) complaint that fails to state a claim); Calhoun v. Stahl, 254 F.3d 845, 845 (9th Cir. 2001) (holding that provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) are not limited to prisoners).
The Court may also dismiss a complaint for failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. See Hearns v. San Bernardino Police Dep't, 530 F.3d 1124, 1131 (9th Cir. 2008). Rule 8 requires that a complaint include “a short plain statement of the claim” and that each allegation “be simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), (d)(1).

Cataluna v. Vanderford, Civ. No. 14-00480 LEK-RLP, 2014 WL 6490466, at *1 (D. Hawai`i Nov. 18, 2014). In addition:

[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require “detailed factual allegations, ” but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. [Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544], at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955');">127 S.Ct. 1955 [(2007)] (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286, 106 S.Ct. 2932, 92 L.Ed.2d 209 (1986)). A pleading that offers “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” 550 U.S., at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955');">127 S.Ct. 1955. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders “naked assertion[s]” devoid of “further factual enhancement.” Id., at 557, 127 S.Ct. 1955');">127 S.Ct. 1955.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (some alterations in Iqbal). Accordingly, the Court must screen the Amended Complaint.

         A. Similarities with the Complaint

         The Amended Complaint is fifty pages, over double the length of the Complaint.[2] Further, half of the Amended Complaint is copied almost verbatim from the Complaint. After a thorough review, the Court found only three differences in the first half of Plaintiff's claims: (1) the Amended Complaint uses paragraph numbers, compare Complaint at pg. 4, with Amended Complaint at ¶ 14; (2) Plaintiff adds what appears to be a claim for defamation;[3] and (3) Plaintiff deleted a portion of his claim for malicious prosecution, compare Complaint at pg. 16, with Amended Complaint at ¶ 65. Insofar as the Amended Complaint simply repeats, word for word, the allegations in the Complaint, it is axiomatic that all but the claims against Self fail to state a claim because they were all previously dismissed.

         B. Additional Claims

         There are a number of new claims in the Amended Complaint - some stated more clearly than others - that fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Further, to the extent that the Amended Complaint brings claims against individual states and/or “seeks damages against any Defendant state agencies, departments, and officials, in their official capacities, such claims are . . . barred by Eleventh ...

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