(PS) Blank v. State of California et al, No. 2:2017cv00861 - Document 4 (E.D. Cal. 2018)

Court Description: FINDINGS and RECOMMENDATIONS signed by Magistrate Judge Craig M. Kellison on 7/30/2018 RECOMMENDING that this action be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Referred to District Judge John A. Mendez. Objections due within 14 days after being served with these findings and recommendations. (York, M) Modi
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(PS) Blank v. State of California et al Doc. 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 PAUL LOUIS BLANK, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 No. 2:17-CV-0861-JAM-CMK vs. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS STATE OF CALIFORNIA, et al., Defendants. / Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, brings this civil action. Pending before the court is plaintiff’s complaint (Doc. 1). The court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief 20 against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. 21 § 1915A(a). The court is also required to screen complaints brought by litigants who have been 22 granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Under these screening 23 provisions, the court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if it: (1) is frivolous or 24 malicious; (2) fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief 25 from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(A), (B) and 26 1915A(b)(1), (2). Moreover, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(h)(3), this court 1 Dockets.Justia.com 1 must dismiss an action if the court determines that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Because 2 plaintiff, who is not a prisoner, has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, the court 3 will screen the complaint pursuant to § 1915(e)(2). Pursuant to Rule 12(h)(3), the court will also 4 consider as a threshold matter whether it has subject-matter jurisdiction. 5 In this case, plaintiff names the following as defendants: (1) the State of 6 California; (2) the County of Tehama; and (3) the United States Social Security Administration. 7 Plaintiff alleges that this court has jurisdiction “based on a civil rights claim. . . .” For the 8 reasons discussed below, the court finds that plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can 9 be granted. 10 State of California – The Eleventh Amendment prohibits federal courts from 11 hearing suits brought against a state both by its own citizens, as well as by citizens of other states. 12 See Brooks v. Sulphur Springs Valley Elec. Coop., 951 F.2d 1050, 1053 (9th Cir. 1991). This 13 prohibition extends to suits against states themselves, and to suits against state agencies. See 14 Lucas v. Dep’t of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam); Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 15 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). Plaintiff cannot maintain a civil rights action against the State of 16 California because it is immune from suit. 17 County of Tehama – Municipalities and other local government units are among 18 those “persons” to whom liability applies in a civil rights action. See Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. 19 Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978). Counties and municipal government officials are also 20 “persons” for purposes of § 1983. See id. at 691; see also Thompson v. City of Los Angeles, 885 21 F.2d 1439, 1443 (9th Cir. 1989). A local government unit, however, may not be held responsible 22 for the acts of its employees or officials under a respondeat superior theory of liability. See Bd. 23 of County Comm’rs v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403 (1997). Thus, municipal liability must rest on 24 the actions of the municipality, and not of the actions of its employees or officers. See id. To 25 assert municipal liability, therefore, the plaintiff must allege that the constitutional deprivation 26 complained of resulted from a policy or custom of the municipality. See id. In this case, plaintiff 2 1 does not allege any improper custom or policy. Rather, it appears that plaintiff is unhappy with 2 the outcome of his case. Because plaintiff has not alleged any deficient policy or custom of the 3 County of Tehama, plaintiff fails to state a claim against this defendant. 4 United States Social Security Administration – Plaintiff fails to state a claim 5 because has not alleged any facts relating to this defendant. See Kimes v. Stone, 84 F.3d 1121, 6 1129 (9th Cir. 1996). 7 Because it does not appear possible that the deficiencies identified herein can be 8 cured by amending the complaint, plaintiff is not entitled to leave to amend prior to dismissal of 9 the entire action. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126, 1131 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). 10 11 Based on the foregoing, the undersigned recommends that this action be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. 12 These findings and recommendations are submitted to the United States District 13 Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l). Within 14 days 14 after being served with these findings and recommendations, any party may file written 15 objections with the court. Responses to objections shall be filed within 14 days after service of 16 objections. Failure to file objections within the specified time may waive the right to appeal. 17 See Martinez v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1991). 18 19 20 21 DATED: July 30, 2018 ______________________________________ CRAIG M. KELLISON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 22 23 24 25 26 3