United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO
Derrick K. Watson, United States District Judge.
the court is pro se Plaintiff Chris Slavick's prisoner
civil rights Complaint. ECF No. 1. Slavick, who is
incarcerated at the Halawa Correctional Facility (HCF),
alleges that HCF and Oahu Community Correctional Center
(OCCC) staff violated his state and federal rights in May and
following reasons, the Complaint is DISMISSED with leave
granted to amend. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)
court is required to conduct a pre-Answer screening of all
prisoners' pleadings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2) and l9l5A(a). The court must dismiss a claim or
complaint 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); Rhodes v.
Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010).
under §§ 1915(e)(2) and l9l5A(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 under § 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). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of
a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements,
do not suffice." Id. The "mere possibility
of misconduct" or an "unadorned, the
defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusation" falls short
of meeting this plausibility standard. Id. at
678-79; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d
962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).
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.
factual assertions are strewn throughout the Complaint in no
discernible order and his claims are asserted in a
hyperbolic, conclusory fashion. Below is a chronological
summary of the court's best understanding of Slavick
relevant facts and claims.
alleges that, on May 10, 2018, Defendants Colotario, Lopez,
and Murray "targeted" his serious physical injuries
when they confiscated his ankle brace, cane, and wrist
support before he was transported to the state court.
See Compl., ECF No. 1, PagelD #7 (Count I). He
complains that there were violent inmates and gang members in
the transport van and state court holding cell, whom he
alleges were a serious threat to his safety.
Slavick returned to HCF, he alleges Colotario, Lopez, and
Murray falsely accused him of obstruction, lying, and escape
to cover up their allegedly improper confiscation of his
medical supports. He claims they did this to enable
Defendants Warden Harrington and Captain Paleka to confiscate
his legal papers when he was placed in solitary segregation
based on these charges. See id., Pageld #8 (Count
says Colotario, Lopez, and Harrington allowed him to keep 1/3
of his legal papers in his cell and kept the other 2/3's
in storage. Slavick could exchange his papers for an equal
quantity held in storage, but says they were consistently
returned to him in disarray. See id., PagelD #9-10
(Count III). Slavick complains that there was no desk or
table in segregation, forcing him to prepare his legal work
in an uncomfortable, upright position on the bed, which
allegedly interfered with his ability to timely complete his
legal work. Id.
18, 2018, Defendant Uedoi was the disciplinary hearing
officer regarding Slavick's May 10, 2018 charges. See
id., PagelD #15-16 (Count V). Slavick claims Uedoi
refused to provide him with the written charges against him,
denied that she had served on a previous, two-person
committee against him before, and abruptly concluded the
hearing and left when he challenged her. Uedoi says she found
Slavick guilty of the charges; Slavick says he was released
(on May 24, 2018), because the disciplinary hearing was not
held within fifteen days of the charges. Slavick alleges
Uedoi violated prison rules and his right to due process.
alleges that Defendant Kaplan failed to tell him that his
attorney had scheduled a visit on June 4, 2018. Slavick also
states, however, that his attorney never came to the prison.
Slavick attended a state court hearing on June 5, 2018,
presumably with his attorney. See id., PagelD #13
says Defendant Lorico threatened to take his cane away for
the transport to the June 5, 2018 state court hearing, but it
is not clear whether Lorico actually confiscated the cane.
Id. Lorico apparently wrote Slavick up for arguing,
however, as Slavick says he served an additional fourteen
days in solitary confinement for these allegedly
"false" charges. Slavick alleges Kaplan, Lorico,
and Defendant Aguon criminally conspired to violate his
says Uedoi and Defendant Limahai tried to coerce him to
attend a disciplinary hearing on June 8, 2018 (apparently
regarding the June 5, 2018 charges). Slavick refused to leave
his cell and held a sign to his window stating, "OBJECT
TO YOU," because they failed to provide him prior notice
of the hearing or discovery. See id., Pageld #15-16
(Count V). Limahai allegedly verbally insulted him and Uedoi
said that she would hold the hearing without him.
Uedoi left Slavick's cell, Limahai and Defendant Souza
stood outside his (still locked) cell clicking handcuffs and
telling Slavick to "cuff up." See id.,
PagelD #17 (Count VI). When Slavick refused, Limahai
allegedly told him that they would beat and rape him and
tried to incite nearby inmates to harass him.
early morning of June 9, 2018, Sergeant Allen denied
Slavick's request to file a police report about this
incident. See id, PagelD 19-20 (Count VII).
At 7:00 a.m., Defendant Lorico told Slavick to
"pack-up" to transfer to the "High SHU"
(the High Security Housing Unit). Id. Lorico took
Slavick's belongings, including his cane, and Aguon
summoned the "mob squad," apparently in case
Slavick resisted. Id. Captain Shook authorized
Slavick's cane to be returned to him for the transfer
before the extraction team entered Slavick's cell.
Slavick's paperwork and belongings were repacked into
smaller bags and loaded into the trunk of the car that took
him to the High SH U.Slavick complains this was done out of
his sight and that he was not permitted "full
access" to his legal papers until he was released from
the High SHU on July 8, 2018. Id.
broadly alleges that Defendants' actions violated the
Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA), and unidentified criminal statutes.
Slavick seeks a transfer to the Federal Detention
Center-Honolulu, declaratory relief, expungement of his
disciplinary charges, and damages.
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 violation of his
rights. SeeMonell v. Dep 't of Soc. Servs., 436
U.S. 658, 692 (1978); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362,
371-72, 377 (1976).
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(d)(1) requires a complaint to set
forth its claims in a simple, concise, direct manner.
McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177 (9th Cir. 1996)
(affirming complaint's dismissal under Rule 8 as
"argumentative, prolix, replete with redundancy, and
largely irrelevant"). A court may dismiss a complaint
under Rule 8 even if "a few possible claims" can be
identified and the complaint is not "wholly without
merit." Id. at 1179 (stating Rule 8 applies
"to good claims as well as bad"); see also
Crawford-El v. Britton, 523 U.S. 574, 597 (1998)
(reiterating that "firm application of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure is fully warranted" in prisoner
cases). Rule 8 prohibits "a pleading that [is]
needlessly long, or a complaint that [is] highly repetitious,
or confused, or consist[ing] of incomprehensible
rambling." Cafasso v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys.,
Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1059 (9th Cir. 2011) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted) (gathering cases affirming
Rule 8 dismissals).
Complaint is a confusing allegation of facts, set forth in no
particular chronology, that is replete with legal conclusions
and opinions. Slavick indiscriminately refers to
constitutional amendments, the ADA, and unidentified criminal
statutes without any clear explanation why a particular
amendment or statute is relevant to a particular claim. While
a complaint need not identify "a precise legal
theory," Kobold v. Good Samaritan Reg'IMed.
Ctr., 832 F.3d 1024, 1038 (9th Cir. 2016) (quotation
omitted), legal conclusions do not suffice, Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678. The court has struggled to piece together
the facts and ignore Slavick's opinions and legal
conclusions. But Slavick's pleading is so disjointed that
it is difficult to be certain that each claim is understood
as Slavick intended or to determine whether any particular
claim is cognizable. It is unlikely that Defendants will
better understand it.
teaches that, unless cases are pled clearly and precisely,
issues are not joined, discovery is not controlled, the trial
court's docket becomes unmanageable, the litigants
suffer, and society loses confidence in the court's
ability to administer justice." Bautista v. Los
Angeles Cty., 216 F.3d 837, 841 (9th Cir. 2000) (quoting
Anderson v. Dist. Bd. of Trustees, 11 F.3d 364,
366-67 (11th Cir. 1996)). Allowing a "shotgun
pleading" to proceed, such as the present Complaint, can
lead to unforeseen and negative consequences. See
McLaughlin v. Castro, 2018 WL 1726630, at *3 (E.D. Cal,
April 10, 2018) (citing Mosow v. Cty. of Orange, 251
F.R.D. 562, 563-64 (CD. Cal. 2008)).
Complaint does not give Defendants or the court fair notice
of his claims. That is, it does "not permit the court to
infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct," and
therefore fails to state a claim. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
679. Accordingly, it is dismissed with leave to amend. If
Slavick chooses to amend, he should directly and simply set
out what each Defendant did or failed to do that violated his
rights. He must assert ...