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 Anthony Williams' prisoner
civil rights complaint. ECF No. 1. Williams is a federal
pretrial detainee incarcerated at the Federal Detention
Center, Honolulu (FDC-Honolulu). Williams brings this suit
“on behalf of himself and all inmates housed in FDC
Honolulu.” Id., PageID #1. He alleges that
FDC-Honolulu officials violated his civil rights regarding his
placement in administrative segregation on two occasions on
or about February 14 and May 7, 2018, pending investigation
for disciplinary charges. Williams has paid the costs of this
suit and is not proceeding in forma pauperis.
following reasons, Williams' Complaint is DISMISSED for
failure to state a claim for relief. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a-b). Williams may file an amended pleading on
or before November 27, 2018, as limited below.
Williams is a prisoner seeking relief against government
officials, the court must screen his Complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Claims that are frivolous, malicious,
fail to state a claim for relief, or seek damages from
defendants who are immune from suit must be dismissed.
See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir.
2000) (en banc) (discussing dismissal under §
1915(e)(2)); Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004
(9th Cir. 2010) (discussing dismissal under § 1915A(b)).
1915 screening involves the same standard of review as that
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See
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.
12(b)(6) 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 Atl. 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
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).
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.
February 14, 2018, Defendant Olsen charged Williams with
threatening bodily harm against FDC-Honolulu officials in an
email that he sent to prison staff. Williams was taken to the
segregated housing unit (SHU), where he was held in solitary
confinement for fifty-eight days while these charges were
investigated. Williams alleges that he was unable to make
phone calls to his standby defense attorney, family, and
friends, his access to discovery in his criminal case was
curtailed, and he was allowed only two to four hours in the
law library daily without access to a printer in the SHU. On
April 12, 2018, Williams was found not guilty of threatening
bodily harm at his disciplinary hearing, and he was returned
to the general population on April 16, 2018.
7, 2018, Williams and another inmate were involved in an
altercation. Williams says the other inmate assaulted him,
and he acted in self-defense. Officer Light used pepper spray
to end the fight. Williams was taken to the showers to wash
off the pepper spray and the other inmate was taken to the
hospital emergency room for treatment for his “severe
injuries.” Id., PageID #3. Williams was taken
to the hospital to document his own injuries upon his request
and rehoused in the SHU when he returned.
24, 2018, a disciplinary hearing was held, and Williams was
found guilty of fighting; he was sanctioned to eight days
already served in the SHU. Williams argued that he should not
be punished for defending himself, however, and the hearing
officer agreed to postpone his decision until he reviewed
surveillance footage of the incident. A new hearing was
scheduled for May 31, 2018, but had not been held as of June
6, 2018, the date that Williams completed and signed his
Complaint. Because Williams did not file the Complaint until
September 5, 2018, three months after signing it, it is
unclear how long he remained in the SHU.
claims that during this second period in the SHU, he was
denied: (1) email contact with attorneys, family, and
friends; (2) visitation; (3) more than one phone call per
month; (4) required periodic reviews of his SHU status; (5)
hardcover legal books; and (6) television, newspapers, and
“real” recreation. Id., PageID #5.
Williams says the food in the SHU is stale and “mostly
inedible” because it is frozen and reheated, inmates
have less access to the commissary, there are bugs in the
showers, and his sink is moldy and abuts the toilet.
alleges that his solitary confinement in the SHU constituted
cruel and unusual punishment, interfered with the practice of
his religion, and denied him due process in violation of the
First, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. He suggests,
but does not explicitly allege, that he was denied access to
the courts. Williams states that he was unable to complete
the Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) Administrative Remedy
Procedure (ARP) before filing this suit because Defendants
delayed responding to his grievances.
seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, compensatory and
punitive damages, court costs, and any other just relief.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To
establish a claim under Section 1983, a plaintiff must
demonstrate that: (1) the defendants deprived him “of a
right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United
States, ” and (2) that an individual “acting
under color of state law” accomplished the deprivation.
Chudacoff v. Univ. Med. Ctr. of S. Nev., 649 F.3d
1143, 1149 (9th Cir. 2011). The central inquiry is whether
the allegedly illegal actions are “fairly attributable
to the State.” Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co.
Inc., 457 U.S. 922, 937 (1982). An action is fairly
attributable to the state if: (1) the deprivation was
“caused by the exercise of some right or privilege
created by the State or . . . by a person for whom the State
is responsible;” and (2) “the party charged with
the deprivation . . . may fairly be said to be a state
officials acting under federal authority are generally not
considered to be state actors” and “do not become
‘state actors' unless ‘[t]he State has so far
insinuated itself into a position of interdependence with . .
. [the federal officials] that it must be recognized as a
joint participant in the challenged activity.'”
Cabrera v. Martin, 973 F.2d 735, 742 (9th Cir. 1992)
(citations omitted). Nothing within the Complaint allows a
plausible inference that these federal Defendants acted under
color of state law. Williams' Complaint therefore fails
to state a claim under Section 1983 and is DISMISSED with
leave to amend.
Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of
v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics,
403 U.S. 388 (1971), recognized an implied cause of action
against federal actors in their individual capacity for
violating a plaintiff's civil rights that is analogous to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. To state a Bivens claim for
damages, a plaintiff must allege facts showing that: (1) a
right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States was violated, and (2) the alleged deprivation was
committed by a federal actor. Van Strum v. Lawn, 940
F.2d 406, 409 (9th Cir. 1991).
court declines to construe Williams' claims as brought
under Bivens, however, because doing so would result
in the dismissal of several of his claims. To enable Williams
to determine whether he can effectively amend his pleading
under Bivens or any other federal law, the court
provides the following legal standards. See Noll v.
Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987) (explaining
that a court should briefly explain a pro se litigant's
pleading deficiencies when dismissing a complaint with leave