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Char v. Smith

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

August 1, 2018

MARK ALAN CHAR, #A0234438, Plaintiff,
v.
ANTHONY SMITH, ASHLEY STIBBARD, ALAN LU, VICTOR LAU, Defendants,

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT IN PART AND STAYING ACTION

          Helen Gillmor, United States District Judge

         Pro se Plaintiff Mark Alan Char is incarcerated at the Oahu Community Correctional Center (“OCCC”). Char alleges that Defendants Honolulu Police Department (“HPD”) Officers Anthony Smith, Ashley Stibbard, Alan Lu, and Victor Lau violated his federal civil rights and state law during his arrest on June 2, 2016.[1] See Comp., ECF. No. 1, PageID #6-#9.

         On June 19, 2018, the Court issued an ORDER DENYING APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS BY A PRISONER AND DISMISSING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL. ECF No. 5. Plaintiff was ordered to either (1) pay the filing fee or (2) submit a complete in forma pauperis application containing the prison's certification of the amount in his prison account, a copy of his past six month prison account statement, and his best estimation of his personal assets. Id. On July 23, 2018, Plaintiff paid the filing fee. ECF No. 6.

         Char's Complaint is DISMISSED IN PART pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a-b) for failure to state a colorable claim for damages against Defendants named in their official capacities.

         Char's claims regarding his arrest on June 2, 2016, for which he is awaiting prosecution, are STAYED pursuant to the doctrine set forth in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971). The Clerk is DIRECTED to administratively close this case.

         I. STATUTORY SCREENING

         Because Char is a prisoner alleging claims against government officers, the court screens his pleadings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).[2] 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 Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)).

         Screening under § 1915A(b) 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) (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.

         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 v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).

         II. BACKGROUND[3]

         On June 2, 2016, Officer Smith confronted Char in Char's doctor's office parking lot, where Char went for help after allegedly being the victim of road rage. Smith ordered Char to put his hands on his car. Char raised his hands, but did not put his hands on the car because it had been pepper sprayed. Smith then pulled Char's right arm behind him, allegedly dislocating Char's shoulder, although Char says he was not resisting arrest. Char alleges Smith intentionally, recklessly and negligently injured him during this encounter. See Compl., ECF No. 1 (Count I (excessive force) and Count IV (negligence)).

         Char next claims that Defendants arrested him to cover up Smith's alleged use of excessive force during the arrest. Id. (Count II (abuse of process) and Count III (intentional infliction of emotional distress “IIED”)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (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 ...


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