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Jaentsch v. Puha

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

February 19, 2019

KEONI R. JAENTSCH, #A1019833, Plaintiff,
v.
PATTIE ANN K. PUHA, RAQUEL TAGUCHI, YUMI SUZUKI, Defendants,

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

          JILL A. OTAKEUNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pro se Plaintiff Keoni R. Jaentsch is incarcerated at the Halawa Correctional Facility (HCF) and is proceeding in forma pauperis. See ECF No. 5. Jaentsch brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He alleges Pattie Ann K. Puha, Raquel Taguchi, and Yumi Suzuki (collectively, Defendants) violated his civil rights and state criminal statutes when Puha and Taguchi entered his property without his permission between April 16-20, 2017, while he was incarcerated at the Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC).

         For the following reasons, Jaentsch's Complaint is DISMISSED for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a), with leave granted to amend as limited below.

         I. STATUTORY SCREENING

         The Court is required to conduct a pre-Answer screening in all prisoner actions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a). 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 Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (screening under § 1915(e)(2)); Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010) (screening under § 1915A(b)).

         Screening under §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(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); 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. The “mere possibility of misconduct” or an “unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusation” does not meet 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. If a claim or complaint cannot be saved by amendment, dismissal without leave to amend is appropriate. Sylvia Landfield Trust v. City of L.A., 729 F.3d 1189, 1196 (9th Cir. 2013).

         II. BACKGROUND

         Jaentsch states that Puha, who is named in her individual capacity only, entered his home several times between April 16 and 20, 2017, and “stole items without my permission or consent” while he was incarcerated at OCCC. Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID #5. He alleges this violated the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against illegal search and seizure and Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (HRS) §§ 708-810, 708-812, 708-813, and 708-814.[1]

         In Counts II and III, Jaentsch alleges that Puha allowed Taguchi, a State of Hawaii Department of Human Services (“DHS”) social worker, to enter his “home/property” without his consent on April 19, 2017, while he was incarcerated at OCCC. Id., PageID #2. Jaentsch alleges that Taguchi's DHS supervisor, Suzuki, also authorized Taguchi to enter Jaentsch's property. Jaentsch provides no further context to this claim. He alleges Taguchi and Suzuki violated the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against illegal search and seizure and the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. He further alleges Taguchi violated HRS §§ 708-811 & 708-814.[2]

         Jaentsch raised identical claims against Puha, Taguchi, and Suzuki in an earlier filed federal action, Jaentsch v. Puha, et al., No. 1:18-cv-00073 HG-KSC (D. Haw. 2018).[3] United States District Judge Helen Gillmor dismissed that action on October 15, 2018, for Jaentsch's failure to serve or respond to court orders. See id., Orders, ECF Nos. 17, 18, 21. The only significant difference between the pleadings in these two cases is that in No. 1:18-cv-00073, Jaenstch identified Taguchi and Suzuki as DHS Child Welfare Services officers; he omits that information from the present Complaint.

         Jaentsch seeks compensatory and punitive damages for his mental and emotional injuries and any declaratory and injunctive relief to which he is entitled.

         III. DISCUSSION

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege (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 set forth 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. Eleventh ...


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