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Jaentsch v. Puha

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

March 23, 2018

KEONI R. JAENTSCH, #A1019833, Plaintiff,



         Pro se Plaintiff Keoni R. Jaentsch is incarcerated at the Oahu Community Correctional Center (“OCCC”); he brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Compl., ECF. No. 1. Jaentsch alleges Defendants Pattie-Ann K. Puha, Raquel Taguchi, and Yumi Suzuki (“Defendants”) violated his constitutional rights and state criminal statutes when they allegedly entered his home without his consent while he was detained at OCCC.

         For the following reasons, Jaentsch's Complaint is DISMISSED in part with leave granted to amend.


         Because Jaentsch is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis the Court is required to screen his Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or claim that is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or seeks damages from defendants who are immune from suit. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (screening under § 1915(e)(2)); Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010) (screening under § 1915A(b)).

         Screening under §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b) involves the same standard of review as that used under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012) (screening under § 1915(e)(2)); see also Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (screening pursuant to § 1915A). Under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted); Wilhelm, 680 F.3d at 1121. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The “mere possibility of misconduct” or an “unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusation” falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id.; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).

         Pro se litigants' pleadings must be liberally construed and all doubts should be resolved in their favor. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted). Leave to amend must be granted if it appears the plaintiff can correct the defects in the complaint. Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1130. If 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).


         In Count I, Jaentsch states that Puha, who is named in her individual capacity, entered Jaentsch's home between April 16 and 20, 2017, and “stole items without my permission or concent [sic]” while he was detained at OCCC. Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID #5. Jaentsch alleges this constitutes an illegal search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment and violated Hawaii Revised Statutes §§ 708-810, 708-812, 708-813, and 708-814.[1]Jaentsch filed a police report and homeowners insurance claim regarding this incident.

         In Counts II and III, Jaentsch alleges that Taguchi, a Department of Human Services (“DHS”), Child Welfare Services division social worker, entered his home without his consent on April 19, 2017, while he was incarcerated at OCCC, with her supervisor, Suzuki's authorization. Jaentsch says that he has video surveillance of Taguchi's entry into and exit from his home. He alleges Taguchi's and Suzuki's actions constitute an illegal search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment, violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and violate Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 708-811 & 708-814.[2] Jaentsch names Taguchi and Suzuki in their individual and official capacities.


         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

         Additionally, 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).

         A. Eleventh Amendment Immunity

         Jaentsch names Taguchi and Suzuki in their official capacities. “The Eleventh Amendment bars suits for money damages in federal court against a state, its agencies, and state officials acting in their official capacities.” Aholelei v. Dep't of Pub. Safety, 488 F.3d 1144, 1147 (9th Cir. 2007). Defendants named in their official capacities are subject to suit under § 1983 only “for prospective declaratory and injunctive relief . . . to enjoin an alleged ongoing violation of federal law.” Oyama v. Univ. of Haw., 2013 WL 1767710, at *7 (D. Haw. Apr. 23, 2013) (quoting Wilbur v. Locke, 423 F.3d 1101, 1111 (9th Cir. 2005), abrogated on other grounds by Levin v. Commerce Energy, Inc., 560 U.S. 413 (2010)); see also Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 70-71 (1989).

         Jaentsch does not allege an ongoing constitutional violation or raise any colorable claim for prospective declaratory or injunctive relief. Claims against Taguchi and Suzuki as named in ...

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