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Namauu v. Department of Public Safety

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

April 10, 2018

JONATHAN KEOLA NAMAUU, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, STATE OF HAWAII, ET AL., Defendants.

          ORDER (1) GRANTING APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS, (2) DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, AND (3) DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL

          J. Michael Seabright, Chief United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On February 15, 2018, pro se Plaintiff Jonathan Keola Namauu (“Plaintiff”) filed a civil rights Complaint against the State of Hawaii Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) and possibly Halawa Correctional Facility (“HCF”) (collectively, “Defendants”). ECF No. 1. Plaintiff also filed an Application to Proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP Application”) and a Motion for Appointment of Counsel. ECF Nos. 3, 4. Based on the following, the court GRANTS the IFP Application, DISMISSES the Complaint with leave to amend, and DENIES the Motion for Appointment of Counsel.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Plaintiff's IFP Application is Granted

         Plaintiff has made the required showing under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 to proceed without prepayment of fees. Therefore, the court GRANTS Plaintiff's IFP Application.

         B. Plaintiff's Complaint is Dismissed for Failure to State a Claim

         1. The Complaint

         The Complaint alleges that while incarcerated at HCF, Plaintiff suffered three strokes, one each year from 2010 to 2012. Compl. ¶¶ III.B., C. The Complaint further alleges that DPS/HCF was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's health needs by failing to have a “full function of medical staff” that could provide adequate follow-up care. Id. ¶¶ III.A., C. More specifically, the Complaint alleges that DPS did not have enough staff at HCF to take him to outpatient care. Id. ¶ III.C. Somewhat confusingly, the Complaint further alleges that “no one else was involved, 911 medical staff, as well as two therapist[s] ¶ 2016 [where] one therapist had spoken state ain't paying his fees so he left, then a lady therapist came after several months gone by, and she [referred] me to therapy” elsewhere. Id.

         As a result, Plaintiff's left hand does not function properly. Id. Plaintiff cannot open his left hand, and he was told that because so much time has passed without “after care or treatments, ” his fingers may never open unless he has surgery to cut tendons. Id. Plaintiff alleges that he exhausted the grievance process. Id. ¶¶ III.C., IV.

         Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint asserting a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care while incarcerated. From the face of the Complaint, it appears that Plaintiff is no longer in custody. The Complaint seeks compensatory damages for his injury, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Id. ¶ V.

         2. Standards of Review

         The court must subject each civil action commenced pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) to mandatory screening and order the dismissal of any claims 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); see, e.g., Calhoun v. Stahl, 254 F.3d 845, 845 (9th Cir. 2001) (per curiam) (holding that “the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) are not limited to prisoners”); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (stating that 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) “not only permits but requires” the court to sua sponte dismiss an IFP complaint that fails to state a claim).

         To state a claim, a pleading 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). In considering whether a complaint fails to state a claim, the court must set conclusory factual allegations aside, accept non-conclusory factual allegations as true, and determine whether these allegations state a plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-80 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. 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). A complaint that lacks a cognizable legal theory or alleges insufficient facts under a cognizable legal theory fails to state a claim. See UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Shelter Capital Partners LLC, 718 F.3d 1006, 1014 (9th Cir. 2013) (citing Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990)). A district court may dismiss a complaint for failure to comply with Rule 8 where it fails to provide the defendant fair notice of ...


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