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Finefeuiaki v. Maui CMTY. Corr. CTR. Staff and Affiliates

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

September 25, 2018

SIONE FINEFEUIAKI, #A1065183, Plaintiff,



         Before the court is pro se Plaintiff Sione Finefeuiaki's First Amended Complaint (FAC) and two Notices that identify Defendants and state that Finefeuiaki will stand on Counts I-III, and VII in the original Complaint. See FAC, ECF No. 7; Notices, ECF Nos. 8, 9. Finefeuiaki, a Maui Community Correctional Center (MCCC) pretrial detainee, claims that MCCC staff denied him safe custody, housing, religious materials, mail, and medical care.

         The FAC fails to state a claim in Counts IV, V, VI, and VII (in part), and those claims are DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) & 1915A(a-b). The FAC states colorable claims against Adult Corrections Officers (ACO) Zane, Gouvea, Conrady, Use; Sergeants Hedge and Shores; and Captains Kawaa and Labason (Defendants) in Counts I-III and VII (in part), for failure-to-protect and excessive use of force. These claims shall be served and require a response.


         The court must screen the FAC pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a), and dismiss the FAC or any claim 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) (discussing § 1915(e)(2)); Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010) (discussing § 1915A(b)).

         Section 1915 screening involves the same standard of review as that under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012) (screening under § 1915(e)(2)); Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (screening under § 1915A(b)). That is, 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.

         Rule 12(b)(6), in turn, is read in conjunction with Rule 8(a). Zixiang Li v. Kerry, 710 F.3d 995, 998-99 (9th Cir. 2013). Under Rule 8, a complaint 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). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but a complaint must allege enough facts to provide both “fair notice” of the claim asserted and “the grounds upon which [that claim] rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 & n.3 (2007) (citation and quotation marks omitted); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 555 (stating Rule 8 pleading standard “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation”). The “mere possibility of misconduct” falls short of meeting this standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 555; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).

         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, 203 F.3d at 1130.


         On June 25, 2018, Finefeuiaki filed the original Complaint, complaining of incidents at MCCC between March 29 and April 12, 2018. Finefeuiaki alleged that unnamed ACOs: (1) failed to protect him from an assault by three other inmates (Count I); (2) returned him to the same housing module after the assault, despite his spoken fears, where he was assaulted again by a “close custody inmate” (Counts II and III); (3) rehoused him in an allegedly overcrowded “safe watch” cell, where his mattress, personal items, and mail delivery was withheld for twelve hours a day, and bible and religious handbook were apparently lost for five days (Counts IV-VI); and (4) dragged him by his ankles and wrists to and from his cell during an inspection and left him on the floor, despite their knowledge of Finefeuiaki's serious back injury, recent assaults, and ongoing pain. See Compl., ECF. No. 1, PageID #6-12.

         On July 18, 2018, Finefeuiaki's in forma pauperis application was granted. Order, ECF No. 5.

         On July 25, 2018, the court screened the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b)(1) and dismissed all claims against Defendants named in their official capacities with prejudice, and Counts IV-VI, and VII in part, with leave to amend. See July 25, 2018 Order, ECF No. 6. The July 25, 2018 Order carefully explained that any amended pleading would supersede, that is, replace the original Complaint. See id., PageID #48. As an alternative, Finefeuiaki was told that he could notify the court that he would stand on his identified colorable claims in Counts I-III and VII (in part) and the Complaint would be served as limited when he identified the unnamed ACOs.[1] Id., PageID #49.

         On September 10, 2018, Finefeuiaki filed the two Notices and the FAC. ECF Nos. 7-8-9. The Notices state that Finefeuiaki elects to stand on his claims in Counts I-III and VII in the original Complaint, and identify the MCCC staff allegedly liable for these claims. The FAC also identifies the unnamed MCCC staff and realleges all of Finefeuiaki's claims, including dismissed Counts IV-VI and VII (in part), in apparent disregard of the court's clear discussion of their deficiencies.

         III. ...

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