United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE
GRANTED TO AMEND
A. OTAKE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is pro se Plaintiff Louis Leona Staunton,
Jr.'s, first amended prisoner civil rights complaint
(“FAC”) brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Staunton alleges that Defendants Saguaro Correctional
Center (“SCC”) Warden Thomas, the Halawa Correctional
Facility (“HCF”) and its warden, Scott
Harrington, and Trans Core of America (collectively,
“Defendants”), violated his civil rights during
his transfer from SCC to Hawai‘i, when he fell from a
bus upon arrival at HCF.
following reasons, the FAC is DISMISSED for failure to state
a colorable claim for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a). Claims alleged against
SCC Warden Thomas, HCF, and Trans Core of America are
DISMISSED with prejudice. All other claims are DISMISSED with
leave to amend on or before December 20, 2019.
court is required to screen all prisoner 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.
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 Rosati v. Igbinoso, 791 F.3d
1037, 1039 (9th Cir. 2015) (citation omitted). 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 and citation
omitted). A claim is “plausible” when the facts
alleged in the complaint would support a reasonable inference
that the plaintiff is entitled to relief from a specific
defendant for specific misconduct. See Id. (citation
8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
“requires only ‘a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief,' in order to ‘give the defendant fair
notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). “Threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678 (citation omitted). 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
(citations omitted); see also Moss v. U.S. Secret
Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).
state a claim, a complaint must contain more than “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action”; it requires factual allegations sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation
omitted). “All that is required is that the complaint
gives ‘the defendant fair notice of what the
plaintiff's claim is and the ground upon which it
rests.'” Kimes v. Stone, 84 F.3d 1121,
1129 (9th Cir. 1996) (quoting Datagate, Inc. v. Hewlett
Packard Co., 941 F.2d 864, 870 (9th Cir. 1991)).
litigants' pleadings must be liberally construed and all
doubts should be resolved in their favor. See Hebbe v.
Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations
omitted). The court must grant leave to amend if it appears
the plaintiff can correct the defects in the complaint.
See Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1130. If a claim or complaint
cannot be saved by amendment, however, dismissal with
prejudice is appropriate. See Sylvia Landfield Tr. v.
City of Los Angeles, 729 F.3d 1189, 1196 (9th Cir.
original Complaint, Staunton alleged that his legs became
entangled with a poorly designed seat restraint as he exited
a bus when he arrived at HCF after his transfer from Arizona.
See Compl., ECF No. 1. Staunton was unable to break
his fall, apparently because he was in restraints, and says
that he was substantially injured. Staunton was immediately
taken to the Pali Momi Hospital emergency room, where he was
treated for his injuries. Staunton asserted this incident was
a “threat to safety, ” and involved the denial of
“medical care, ” but he failed to state when it
occurred or what Defendants specifically did or failed to do
that violated his constitutional rights. See id.
August 12, 2019, the Court dismissed Staunton's Complaint
for failure to state a colorable claim for relief against any
Defendant. See Order, ECF No. 4. Staunton was given
leave to amend to cure the deficiencies in his pleading, but
was cautioned that an amended pleading “must be
complete in itself without reference to any prior
pleading.” Id. at 12.
September 5, 2019, Staunton filed the FAC. ECF No. 5.
Although the FAC is replete with legal arguments and
conclusions, its factual allegations remain sparse and it can
only be understood with reference to the original Complaint.
Staunton again alleges that he fell exiting a Trans Core bus
when he arrived at HCF. Staunton states that this was an
“unforseen safety issue, ” id. at 5,
“due to the flawed design in the seatbelt
restraints.” Id. at 12. He says it is “a
possibility that the straps was pre-tangled and twisted and
overlooked, thinking it would stretch out and right
itself.” Id. at 16. He suggests that he was
“[p]ossibly rushed out of [the] bus by S.O.R.T. team
members” and was “[u]nable to break his fall . .
. with no assistance from the nearest S.O.R.T. team
member.” Id. at 12-13. Staunton explains that
he was denied adequate medical care because “Pali Momi
Emergency Doctors order pain medication such as percocets,
[or] vicodin where as H.C.F. medical care can only allow
Tylenol with Cod[e]ine every 6 hrs.” Id. at
seeks injunctive relief, compensatory, and punitive damages.
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
1983 also requires an actual connection or link between a
defendant's actions and the plaintiff's alleged
deprivation. See Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs.,
436 U.S. 658, 692 (1978); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S.
362, 371-72, 377 (1976); May v. Enomoto, 633 F.2d
165, 167 (9th Cir. 1980). “A person
‘subjects' another to the deprivation of a
constitutional right, within the meaning of section 1983, if
he does an affirmative act, participates in another's
affirmative acts or omits to perform an act which he is
legally required to do that causes the deprivation of which
complaint is made.” Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d
740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978) (citation omitted). 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.