United States District Court, D. Hawaii
NAPOLEON T. ANNAN-YARTEY, SR., Plaintiff,
STATE OF HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AIRPORT, ET AL., Defendants.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO: (1) DISMISS COMPLAINT
WITH LIMITED LEAVE TO AMEND; (2) DENY PLAINTIFF'S
APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN DISTRICT COURT WITHOUT PREPAYING
FEES OR COSTS
Kenneth J. Mansfield, United States Magistrate Judge
March 19, 2018, Plaintiff Napoleon T. Annan-Yartey, Sr.
(“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se, filed
a Civil Rights Complaint to 42 Section 1983
(“Complaint”) against Defendants State of Hawaii
Department of Transportation Airport (“DOT”); (2)
Securitas Security Service USA Inc.
(“Securitas”); (3) Department of State of Hawaii,
Department of Public Safety, Sheriff Division (DIS)
(“DPS”); and (4) various doe defendants
(collectively, “Defendants”). ECF No. 1. That
same day, Plaintiff filed an Application to Proceed in
District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (“IFP
Application”). ECF No. 2.
reasons set forth below, the Court FINDS AND RECOMMENDS that
the district court DISMISS Plaintiff's Complaint WITH
LIMITED LEAVE TO AMEND as discussed below. The Court also
RECOMMENDS that the district court DENY WITHOUT PREJUDICE
Plaintiff's IFP Application.
Complaint alleges that, at approximately 3:00 a.m. on July 4,
2017, Plaintiff was at Honolulu International Airport to
board a flight to New York. ECF No. 1 at § II, ¶ 9.
As Plaintiff was walking with his baggage towards the ticket
counter, a Securitas security guard (“Securitas Doe
1”) blocked Plaintiff's path and asked him to stop.
Id. at ¶ 11. Plaintiff alleges that a second
Securitas security guard (“Securitas Doe 2”) then
grabbed Plaintiff's arm and said, “I am detaining
you.” Id. at ¶ 12.
asked Securitas Does 1 and 2 on what basis they were
detaining him “and what the probable cause
was[.]” Id. at ¶ 13. Securitas Does 1 and
2 did not respond to Plaintiff and, instead, asked if the
bags Plaintiff was carrying belonged to him. Id. at
¶ 14. When Plaintiff said the bags were his, Securitas
Doe 1 asked Plaintiff to hand over the bags for inspection.
Id. at ¶ 15. In response, Plaintiff said,
“no by law the TSA is the authorized Agency allowed to
search my bags[.]” Id. at ¶ 16.
point, Securitas Doe 2 called a third Securitas security
guard to the scene (“Securitas Doe 3”).
Id. at ¶¶ 17-18. Securitas Doe 3 asked to
see Plaintiff's airline ticket, and Plaintiff showed it
to him. Id. at ¶ 19. Securitas Doe 3 then asked
to inspect Plaintiff's bags, and said he would prevent
Plaintiff from boarding his flight if he did not comply.
Id. at ¶ 20. Plaintiff again refused, and asked
Securitas Does 1, 2, and 3 whether they were authorized by
TSA to inspect his bags. Id. at ¶ 21.
alleges that when he refused to surrender his bags for
inspection, Securitas Does 1, 2, and 3 began beating
Plaintiff. Id. at ¶¶ 23-26.
Plaintiff alleges that Securitas Doe 3 put Plaintiff in a
choke hold, which caused Plaintiff to suffer a heart attack,
among other injuries. Id. at ¶¶ 23, 29.
Plaintiff alleges that “approximately four Guards
jumped him” and continued to beat him for about an hour
before handcuffing him. See Id. at ¶¶ 26,
alleges that the Securitas security guards “used
excessive and unreasonable force” against him, and
“subsequently arrested and detained him without a
probable cause or legal justification.” Id. at
¶¶ 41, 35. Securitas also “issued a criminal
citation against plaintiff without any legal basis . . .
.” Id. at ¶ 36.
March 19, 2018, Plaintiff filed the Complaint against
Defendants and the IFP Application. The Complaint asserts the
following claims against all Defendants: (1) Count 1 -
Assault and Battery; (2) Count 2 - False Arrest; (3) Count 3
- False Imprisonment; (4) Count 4 - Malicious Prosecution;
(5) Count 5 -Abuse of Process; (6) Count 6 - Negligence; (7)
Count 7 - Gross Negligence; (8) Count 8 - Intentional
Infliction of Emotional Distress; (9) Count 9 - Negligent
Infliction of Emotional Distress; (10) Count 10 - Negligent
Training and Supervision; and (11) Count 11 - Respondeat
Superior and Vicarious Liability.
Standards of Review
court may dismiss sua sponte a complaint for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction. Fiedler v. Clark, 714
F.2d 77, 78-79 (9th Cir. 1983); Belleville Catering Co.
v. Champaign Mkt. Place, LLC, 350 F.3d 691, 693 (7th
Cir. 2003) (“[I]nquiring whether the court has
jurisdiction is a federal judge's first duty in every
case.”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3). “Federal courts
are courts of limited jurisdiction, ” possessing
“only that power authorized by Constitution and
statute.” United States v. Marks, 530 F.3d
799, 810 (9th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted)
(quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511
U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). Plaintiff bears the burden of
establishing subject-matter jurisdiction. Kokkonen,
511 U.S. at 377. Plaintiff must allege sufficient facts to
show a proper basis for the court to assert subject-matter
jurisdiction over the action. See Smith v.
McCullough, 270 U.S. 456, 459 (1926) (“The
established rule is that a plaintiff, suing in federal court,
must show in his pleading, affirmatively and distinctly, the
existence of whatever is essential to federal jurisdiction,
and, if he does not do so, the court, on having the defect
called to its attention or on discovering the same, must
dismiss the case, unless the defect be corrected by
amendment.”); see also Fed. R. Civ. P.
Plaintiff is appearing pro se, the Court liberally
construes the Complaint. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007); see also Eldridge v. Block, 832
F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987) (citing Boag v.
MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiuam))
(“The Supreme Court has instructed the federal courts
to liberally construe the ‘inartful pleading' of
pro se litigants.”). The Court also recognizes that
“[u]nless it is absolutely clear that no amendment can
cure the defect . . . a pro se litigant is entitled to notice
of the complaint's deficiencies and an opportunity to
amend prior to dismissal of the action.” Lucas v.
Dep't of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995);
see also Crowley v. Bannister, 734 F.3d 967, 977-78
(9th Cir. 2013).
Screening the Complaint
Court must subject each civil action commenced pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a) to a mandatory screening, and order the
dismissal of any claims it finds “frivolous, malicious,
failing to state a claim upon which relief can 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, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc)
(stating that 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) “not only
permits but requires” the court to dismiss sua sponte
an in forma pauperis complaint that fails to state a claim);
Calhoun v. Stahl, 254 F.3d 845 (9th Cir. 2001) (per
curiam) (holding that “the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) are not limited to prisoners”).
avoid dismissal for failure to a state a claim, “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) (quoting Bell Atl. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Weber v. Dep't of
Veterans Affairs, 521 F.3d 1061, 1065 (9th Cir. 2008).
This tenet--that the court must accept as true all of the
allegations contained in the complaint--“is
inapplicable to legal conclusions.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678. Accordingly, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Rather, “[a] claim
has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads sufficient
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556). Factual allegations that permit the court to
infer only “the mere possibility of misconduct”
do not show that the pleader is entitled to relief as
required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. Id.
complaint must also meet Rule 8's requirements that a
complaint include a “short and plain statement of the
claim, ” and that “each allegation must be
simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2),
(d)(1). A district court may dismiss a complaint for failure
to comply with Rule 8 where the Complaint fails to provide
the defendant fair notice of the wrongs allegedly committed.
See McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1178-80 (9th
Cir. 1996) (affirming dismissal of complaint where “one
cannot determine from the complaint who is being sued, for
what relief, and on what theory, with enough detail to guide
discovery”); cf. Mendiondo v. Centinela Hosp. Med.
Ctr., 521 F.3d 1097, 1105 n.4 (9th Cir. 2008) (finding
dismissal under Rule 8 was in error where “the
complaint provide[d] fair notice of the wrongs allegedly
committed by defendants and [did] not qualify as overly
verbose, confusing, or rambling”).
propriety of dismissal for failure to comply with Rule 8 does
not depend on whether the complaint is wholly without
merit.” McHenry, 84 F.3d at 1179. Rule 8 does,
however, require more than
accusation[s]” and “[a] pleading that offers
labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citations and internal
quotation marks omitted). ...