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Sasaki v. Inch

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

May 13, 2019

MARK S. INCH, et al., Defendants.



         On February 25, 2019, this Court entered an Order (“the February 25 Order”) containing clear instructions for Sasaki to follow so that a pleading could be filed in this case that would survive screening. Among the many deficiencies identified in the February 25 Order, the Court informed Sasaki that his first amended complaint (FAC) did not allege facts or state claims in a short or plain fashion, in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Instead, the factual allegations and causes of action in the FAC were lengthy and impossible to follow. To illustrate, in part, the FAC was at least 114 pages long and contained 92 pages of factual allegations.

         On April 30, 2019, Sasaki filed a second amended complaint (SAC). The SAC is 225 pages long[2] and contains 114 pages of factual allegations. Evidently, the SAC is no shorter than its previous iteration. Moreover, the allegations and claims in the SAC are no plainer than they were in the FAC, despite the Court's clear instructions in the February 25 Order. The SAC is, therefore, subject to dismissal for at least one of the same reasons as the FAC-the failure to satisfy Rule 8(a)'s requirement for claims to be made in a short and plain fashion. This Court need go no further in reviewing the SAC, especially given that the February 25 Order clearly identified the many other deficiencies with Sasaki's allegations.

         Nonetheless, because the Court is prepared to allow one further opportunity for a complaint to be filed that satisfies the most basic of pleading rules, Sasaki's motion “requesting another chance, ” Dkt. No. 44, is GRANTED to the extent that he may file a third amended complaint in this case. Sasaki is forewarned, however, that he will not receive another opportunity to file an amended complaint if his next one contains the same deficiencies as its predecessors.


         Much of the procedural background to-date in this case is set forth in the February 25 Order, and the Court will not repeat it herein except where it is relevant. Instead, the Court picks up here with the clear instructions provided in the February 25 Order, Dkt. No. 37.[3]

         First, as explained above, Sasaki was instructed to file an amended complaint that set forth his claims in a short and plain manner, as required by Rule 8(a), because the FAC failed to do so. The following sentence from the February 25 Order is particularly apt: “Notably, each of Sasaki's claims rely upon a 92-page, 743-paragraph section of factual allegations most of which are irrelevant or repetitive and drown out the potentially relevant allegations that may exist.” The Court provided Sasaki with leave to cure this deficiency, providing him with further clear instructions on how to accomplish the task. Specifically, the Court instructed Sasaki as follows:

At the risk of redundancy, but so it is clear, if Sasaki files a second amended complaint, for each claim, he must write short, plain statements telling the Court: (1) the constitutional or statutory right he believes was violated; (2) the name of the defendant(s) who violated that right; (3) exactly what each defendant did or failed to do in allegedly violating that right; and (4) what specific injury he suffered because of the defendant's or defendants' conduct. Sasaki must repeat this process for each right and each person or entity that he names as a defendant. Moreover, each claim should be separately numbered. If Sasaki fails to affirmatively link the conduct of each defendant with the specific injury he suffered, the pertinent claim will be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

Dkt. No. 37 at 43 (emphasis in original).

         Next, Sasaki was notified of the venue deficiencies with respect to the vast majority of the claims asserted in the FAC. To cut a very long story short, in essence, in the FAC, Sasaki appeared to allege claims (1) concerning a nationwide conspiracy involving numerous levels of officials in the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and (2) concerning discrete misconduct by those same officials. As for the former, although Sasaki appeared to believe a substantial portion of the conspiracy (or conspiracies) occurred in Hawai‘i, it was far from obvious why, given the minimal amount of time that he spent incarcerated in Hawai‘i relative to his periods of incarceration elsewhere. As for the latter, only the claims of discrete misconduct allegedly committed by the prison officials in Hawai‘i (“the FDC Honolulu Defendants”) occurred in this jurisdiction. None of the claims of discrete misconduct allegedly committed by the large number of prison officials outside of Hawai‘i took place in this jurisdiction. As a result, Sasaki was informed that venue in this Court was improper with respect to many of his discrete misconduct claims.

         Next, in light of the venue deficiencies just mentioned, Sasaki was notified that the claims of discrete misconduct against the out-of-state defendants would need to be dismissed or, if in the interests of justice, transferred to an appropriate court. The Court declined to take either of those actions at the time, however, in light of the fact that the FAC violated Rule 8(a) and the guesswork that would be involved in attempting to excise the actual claims Sasaki intended to bring against the out-of-state defendants. The Court further instructed Sasaki as follows:

Assuming that Sasaki is able to file an amended complaint that complies with Rule 8(a), and it is not apparent that any claims asserted against the out-of-state defendants are otherwise frivolous, then this Court will likely transfer those claims to the appropriate district(s) in which they should have been brought. To the extent Sasaki is not able to file an amended complaint that complies with Rule 8(a), though, he is forewarned that any and all claims asserted therein against the out-of-state defendants may be dismissed and not transferred.

Dkt. No. 37 at 13-14 (emphasis in original, footnote omitted).[4]

         Next, the Court provided Sasaki with guidance and instructions with respect to the claims of discrete misconduct alleged against the FDC Honolulu Defendants, beyond the fact that those claims violated Rule 8(a). Initially, the Court informed Sasaki that all of the claims of discrete misconduct that might be discernible from the FAC were ones that could only be brought pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and that it was likely those claims (given their apparent number) would require additional analysis before they could have any chance of success.

         The Court then provided Sasaki with the legal framework for some of his possible claims of discrete misconduct, including his claims under the First Amendment asserting a right to access the courts and his claims for retaliation. As for the former, the Court notified Sasaki that his claims should be limited to attacking any criminal sentence he may have received or the conditions of his confinement. As for the latter, the Court instructed as follows:

To be clear, to the extent Sasaki intends to bring a retaliation claim (or claims), he must allege each of the five elements set forth above for each retaliation claim he brings. In addition, for each retaliation claim, as for every claim Sasaki brings in any amended complaint, he must identify the specific defendant or defendants who allegedly committed the retaliatory acts. It is not enough for Sasaki to identify the FDC Honolulu Defendants as a group.

Dkt. No. 37 at 22 (emphasis in original).

         The Court also explained that Sasaki's repeated allegations that the FDC Honolulu Defendants improperly denied his grievances and/or improperly transferred him to another prison were not actionable. The Court, thus, clearly stated that any such claims were dismissed with prejudice and without leave to re-allege the same in the SAC.

         Next, the Court provided guidance and instructions with respect to claims Sasaki appeared to assert related to the alleged commission of State torts and claims Sasaki requested leave to add (but had not alleged) under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). As for the former, among other things, the Court notified Sasaki that, to the extent any or all of the allegedly tortious actions occurred within the scope of the FDC Honolulu Defendants' employment, the FTCA was the exclusive remedy. As for the FTCA, the Court observed that Sasaki had not actually alleged any claims under the statute. Instead, it appeared that Sasaki wanted this Court to do that for him. The Court, obviously, was unprepared to do so, and instructed as follows:

In filing any future amended complaint, Sasaki may allege claims under the FTCA against the United States if he so chooses. So it is clear, though, general assertions of the United States' liability, such as those made in the above-mentioned motions, see Dkt. No. 27 at 2, and attaching or incorporating by reference the administrative form that Sasaki presented to the Department of Justice, see Dkt. No. 31-2, will not suffice. As with all of the claims Sasaki may allege in an amended complaint, for each claim he seeks to bring under the FTCA, he must identify the claim he intends to bring and, under the heading for that claim, allege the facts supporting every element of such a claim.

Dkt. No. 37 at 24 (emphasis in original).

         Next, the Court addressed the claims of conspiracy in the FAC, which, principally, appeared to be brought under Bivens and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). As for Bivens conspiracy, the Court observed that the underlying ...

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