United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER (1) GRANTING REQUEST TO PROCEED IN FORMA
PAUPERIS, AND (2) DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO
MICHAEL SEABRIGHT CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
18, 2018, pro se Plaintiff Chris Grindling
(“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint against
Defendants County of Maui Doe Prosecutors 1-10 (“Doe
Prosecutors”), and State of Hawaii Does 1-10
(“Doe State Officials”) (collectively,
“Defendants” or “Doe Defendants”),
that included a request to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP Request”). ECF No. 1. Based on the
following, the court GRANTS Plaintiff's IFP Request, and
DISMISSES Plaintiff's Complaint with leave to amend.
IFP Request is Granted
IFP Request indicates that he is disabled and unemployed,
receives $700 per month from an unnamed source, has $200 in a
bank account, and has no assets. Compl. at 5. Because
Plaintiff has made the required showing under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a) to proceed in forma pauperis (i.e., without
prepayment of fees), the court GRANTS Plaintiff's IFP
alleged in the Complaint, Plaintiff is no longer in prison,
but at all times relevant to his claims, he was incarcerated
at Maui Community Correctional Center (“MCCC”).
Compl. at 1. The Complaint alleges that while imprisoned,
Plaintiff was “starved and denied food, ” causing
him to lose 150 pounds. Id. at 2. The Complaint
further alleges that “videos of meals served which
would [show] the starvation was not self-inflicted”
were allegedly destroyed by unnamed government officials.
Id. at 3.
addition, the Complaint alleges that in 2015, Doe Prosecutors
filed four cases against Plaintiff asserting numerous
criminal charges, on some unspecified date, and induced Adult
Correctional Officers Shook and Falefine to provide false
testimony concerning allegations that Plaintiff threw urine
and feces at them. Id. at 2-4. Although not at all
clear, the Complaint alleges that these or other cases were
dismissed for various reasons such as an alleged violation of
his right to a speedy trial, prosecutorial interference with
a grand jury to get an indictment, and withholding of
evidence. Id. at 3. It is also not clear whether any
of the four cases remain pending in state court. See
eCourt Kokua (indicating that in four criminal cases -
State v. Grindling, 2PC151000347 (Haw. 2d Cir.
2015); State v. Grindling, 2PC151000564 (Haw. 2d
Cir. 2015); State v. Grindling, 2PC151000968 (Haw.
2d Cir. 2015); and State v. Grindling, 2PC161000266
(Haw. 2d Cir. 2016) - orders of dismissal were filed, but
that two of those cases remain active).
liberally, the Complaint asserts 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims
against all Defendants for violation of rights protected by
the Eighth and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
Constitution including due process, abuse of process, and
malicious prosecution, as well as state-law claims for
malicious prosecution and intentional and negligent
infliction of emotional distress. The Complaint asserts these
claims against the Doe Prosecutors in their official and
individual capacities, but is silent regarding in what
capacity the Doe State Officials are sued. Plaintiff seeks $1
million dollars in compensatory damages “for the 15
months in jail and two years on supervised release, ”
as well as “stress . . . [that] caused Plaintiff to
have a nervous breakdown and PTSD.” Id. at 4.
Standards of Review
court must screen the Complaint for each civil action
commenced pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), governing IFP
proceedings. The court must dismiss a complaint or claim that
is “frivolous, malicious, fail[s] to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or seek[s] monetary relief from
a defendant immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B); see 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 sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis
complaint that fails to state a claim).
under § 1915(e)(2) involves the same standard of review
as that used under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir.
2012). 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) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)); see UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Shelter Capital
Partners LLC, 718 F.3d 1006, 1014 (9th Cir. 2013)
(recognizing that a complaint that fails to allege a
cognizable legal theory or alleges insufficient facts under a
cognizable legal theory fails to state a plausible claim)
(citing Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901
F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990)).
Rule of Civil Procedure 8 requires only “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Detailed factual allegations are
not required, but conclusory statements, “unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation[s], ” and
factual allegations that only permit the court to infer
“the mere possibility of misconduct” fall short
of meeting the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678-79; see also Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d
1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011); Moss v. U.S. Secret
Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).
is appearing pro se; consequently, the court liberally
construes the Complaint. See Hebbe v. Pliler, 627
F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted); see
also Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir.
1987) (per curiam). Leave to amend must be granted if it
appears the plaintiff may be able to correct defects in the
complaint. See Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1130. However, if
it is “absolutely clear that no amendment” can
save the complaint, dismissal without leave to amend is
appropriate. Lucas v. Dep't of Corr., 66 F.3d
245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995); see Sylvia Landfield Tr. v.
City of L.A., 729 F.3d 1189, 1196 (9th Cir. 2013).
Rule of Civil Procedure 10(a) requires a plaintiff to include
the names of the parties sued in the action. As a practical
matter, it is impossible for the United States Marshal to
serve a summons and complaint on an anonymous defendant. The
use of doe defendants is therefore disfavored in federal
court. See Gillespie v. Civiletti, 629 F.2d 637, 642
(9th Cir. 1980).
a plaintiff may refer to unknown defendants as Defendant John
Doe 1, John Doe 2, and so on, he must allege facts to show
how each individual doe defendant violated the
plaintiff's constitutional rights. If the plaintiff
provides such details, he may then use the discovery process
to obtain the names of any doe defendants he believes
violated his constitutional rights and seek leave to amend to
name those defendants, unless it is clear that discovery
would not uncover their identities, or that the ...