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Parent v. Hawaii Dep't of Public Safety

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

April 16, 2019

JEFFREY M. PARENT, #A6025710, Plaintiff,
HAWAII DEP'T OF PUBLIC SAFETY, et al., Defendants.



         Before the court is pro se Plaintiff Jeffrey M. Parent's first amended complaint (FAC), brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 12. Parent names the Hawaii Department of Public Safety (DPS), and Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) Officer Sgt. Pili, physician Dr. Moreano, and Warden Francis Sequeira as Defendants in their individual and official capacities.

         For the following reasons, the FAC and this action are DISMISSED. Parent's claims in Count I, relating to his mail to the court, are DISMISSED with prejudice for Parent's failure to state a colorable claim for relief. Parent's two new claims, alleging the failure to protect him from assault by another inmate (Count II), and denial of adequate dental care thereafter (Count III), are DISMISSED without prejudice, as improperly joined in this action.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Parent commenced this action on December 20, 2018, when he signed his initial pleading and in forma pauperis application and gave them to prison authorities to mail to the court.[1] See ECF Nos. 1, 1-1, & 2 (signed and mailed Dec. 20, 2018). Although Parent styled his pleading as an ex parte motion, the court liberally construed it as a complaint pursuant to Rules 2 and 3 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, so that it could open a civil action and address Parent's constitutional claims and request for in forma pauperis status.

         In his Complaint, Parent alleged that he was being denied sufficient time in the prison law library. Parent later supplemented his pleading with several motions, letters, and declarations, each reiterating that he required additional time in the law library and complaining that his mail to the court was not being treated as confidential, privileged legal mail. See ECF Nos. 5, 8-10.

         On February 12, 2019, the court dismissed the Complaint with leave to amend for Parent's failure to state a colorable claim for relief regarding the alleged denial of access to the court or interference with his mail to the court. Order, ECF No. 11. In granting leave to amend, the Order explicitly stated, “Parent may not expand his claims beyond those already alleged or add new claims, without an explanation regarding how those new claims relate to the claims alleged in the original Complaint.” Id., PageID #48. The court also denied Parent's motions for injunctive relief.

         On March 13, 2019, Parent filed the FAC, which expands his claims well beyond those alleged in the original Complaint. Parent realleges his claim that prison officials, specifically Sgt. Pili, refuse to consider his mail to the court as privileged, legal mail, which he alleges violates his constitutional right to confidential communication with the court (Count I). The FAC raises two new claims, first alleging that prison officials failed to prevent Parent's assault by another inmate on or about December 23, 2018 (Count II), and second, that Dr. Moreano denied him adequate dental care to repair or replace a crown dislodged during that assault (Count III).

         Parent seeks injunctive relief requiring DPS to treat correspondence to the court as privileged, confidential legal mail, and modify its procedures regarding the inmate housing and classification policy to utilize inmates' medical reports to segregate mentally ill inmates from the general population. He also seeks $10, 000 in damages to repair his crown.


         The court conducts a pre-Answer screening of all prisoners' pleadings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a). Claims or complaints 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); Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010).

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

         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). The court must grant leave to amend if it appears the Parent can correct the defects in the complaint, Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1130, but if a claim or complaint cannot be saved by amendment, dismissal with prejudice is appropriate. Sylvia Landfield Tr. v. City of L.A., 729 F.3d 1189, 1196 (9th Cir. 2013).

         III. ...

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