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Napoleon v. Hawaii Cmty. Corr. Ctr.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

October 16, 2018

DAVID K. NAPOLEON, Plaintiff,
v.
HAWAII CMTY. CORR. CTR., Defendant.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

          Jill A. Otake, United States District Judge

         Before the court is pro se plaintiff Daniel K. Napoleon's Complaint, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 1. Napoleon alleges that he was denied medical care while he was a pretrial detainee at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center (HCCC), [1] allegedly resulting in the amputation of his left index toe. HCCC is the only named Defendant.

         For the following reasons, Napoleon's Complaint is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) for failure to state a colorable claim for relief under § 1983. Napoleon may file an amended complaint that corrects the deficiencies identified below on or before November 16, 2018.

         I. STATUTORY SCREENING

         Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, the court is required to conduct a pre-Answer screening of Napoleon's pleadings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The court must dismiss a claim or complaint filed in forma pauperis 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).

         Screening under § 1915(e)(2) 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). 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). Rule 12 is read in conjunction with Rule 8(a), which requires that a complaint contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The “mere possibility of misconduct” or an “unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusation” falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id.; 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.

         II. BACKGROUND AND CLAIMS

         Napoleon says that he was taken to HCCC on December 29, 2017, where an “[i]nfection developed per incarceration” and “in requesting doctor, none was provided.” Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID #5. Napoleon reiterates throughout his Complaint that there was “no doctor service @ Hilo jail, ” and that he was “continually denied” medical assistance as his “infection became intolerable, both in pain and severity.” Id., PageID #4. On January 26, 2018, when a “red line appeared from [Napoleon's] toe/foot infected area, up right leg and extended to the groin, ” Napoleon was taken to a hospital in Hilo, where his toe was amputated. Id., PageID #4. Napoleon is currently committed to the Hawaii State Hospital.

         Napoleon requests a federal investigation of “negligence and malpractice [by] (Hilo Jail medical administered), ” and release from the Hawaii State Hospital. Id., PageID #6 (stating that he seeks “the equivalent of Habeas Corpus”).

         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 violation of his rights. See Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72, 377 (1976).

         A. Improper Defendant

         Napoleon names HCCC as the only Defendant to this suit. A jail, prison facility, or state agency is not a “person” amenable to suit under § 1983. See Allison v. Cal. Adult Auth., 419 F.2d 822, 823 (9th Cir. 1969); Maldonado v. Harris, 370 F.3d 945, 951 (9th Cir. 2004) (discussing state agencies) (citing Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 70 ...


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