Goodlett v. Delgado et al, No. 3:2019cv01922 - Document 3 (S.D. Cal. 2019)

Court Description: ORDER granting 2 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. US Marshal shall effect service of complaint. The Secretary CDCR, or his designee, is ordered to collect from prison trust account the $350 balance of the filing fee owed in th is case by collecting monthly payments from the trust account in an amount equal to 20% of the preceding month income credited to the account and forward payments to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in the account exceeds $10 in accordance with 28 USC 1915(b)(2). (Order electronically transmitted to Secretary of CDCR). Signed by Judge Anthony J. Battaglia on 10/11/2019.(All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service) (Certified Copy to USM) (jrm)
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Goodlett v. Delgado et al Doc. 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 10 11 RANDALL GOODLETT, CDCR #AZ-3323, 14 15 16 ORDER: Plaintiff, 12 13 Case No.: 3:19-cv-01922-AJB-AGS vs. 1) GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS [ECF No. 2] RAMIRO DELGADO; CHARLES HAMILTON; PAUL RODRIGUEZ; J. DEIS, AND Defendants. 2) DIRECTING U.S. MARSHAL TO EFFECT SERVICE OF COMPLAINT AND SUMMONS PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d) AND Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3) 17 18 19 20 21 Randall Goodlett (“Plaintiff”), currently incarcerated at the Substance Abuse 22 Treatment Facility (“SATF”) located in Corcoran, California, and proceeding pro se, has 23 filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming various prison 24 officials at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (“RJD”) violated his Eighth 25 Amendment rights in 2018. (See Compl., ECF No. 1 at 1-5.) 26 Plaintiff did not prepay the civil filing fee required by 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a) when 27 he filed his Complaint; instead, he has filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis 28 (“IFP”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) (ECF No. 2). 1 3:19-cv-00125-AJB-MDD 1 I. 2 Motion to Proceed IFP All parties instituting any civil action, suit or proceeding in a district court of the 3 United States, except an application for writ of habeas corpus, must pay a filing fee of 4 $400. 1 See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). The action may proceed despite a plaintiff’s failure to 5 prepay the entire fee only if he is granted leave to proceed IFP pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 6 § 1915(a). See Andrews v. Cervantes, 493 F.3d 1047, 1051 (9th Cir. 2007). However, 7 prisoners who are granted leave to proceed IFP remain obligated to pay the entire fee in 8 “increments” or “installments,” Bruce v. Samuels, __ U.S. __, 136 S. Ct. 627, 629 9 (2016); Williams v. Paramo, 775 F.3d 1182, 1185 (9th Cir. 2015), and regardless of 10 whether their action is ultimately dismissed. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) & (2); Taylor v. 11 Delatoore, 281 F.3d 844, 847 (9th Cir. 2002). 12 Section 1915(a)(2) also requires prisoners seeking leave to proceed IFP to submit a 13 “certified copy of the trust fund account statement (or institutional equivalent) for ... the 14 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint.” 28 U.S.C. 15 § 1915(a)(2); Andrews v. King, 398 F.3d 1113, 1119 (9th Cir. 2005). From the certified 16 trust account statement, the Court assesses an initial payment of 20% of (a) the average 17 monthly deposits in the account for the past six months, or (b) the average monthly 18 balance in the account for the past six months, whichever is greater, unless the prisoner 19 has no assets. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4). The institution having 20 custody of the prisoner then collects subsequent payments, assessed at 20% of the 21 preceding month’s income, in any month in which his account exceeds $10, and forwards 22 those payments to the Court until the entire filing fee is paid. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2); 23 Bruce, 136 S. Ct. at 629. 24 25 26 27 28 1 In addition to the $350 statutory fee, civil litigants must pay an additional administrative fee of $50. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a) (Judicial Conference Schedule of Fees, District Court Misc. Fee Schedule, § 14 (eff. June 1, 2016). The additional $50 administrative fee does not apply to persons granted leave to proceed IFP. Id. 2 3:19-cv-00125-AJB-MDD 1 In support of his IFP Motion, Plaintiff has submitted a copy of his CDCR Inmate 2 Statement Report as well as a Prison Certificate completed by a trust account official at 3 SATF. See ECF No. 2 at 4-7; 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2); S.D. Cal. CivLR 3.2; Andrews, 398 4 F.3d at 1119. These documents show Plaintiff carried an average monthly balance of 5 $99.23, maintained $15.53 in average monthly deposits to his trust account for the 6- 6 months preceding the filing of this action, but had an available balance of $0.00 to his 7 credit at the time of filing. See ECF No. 2 at 4-5. 8 9 Therefore, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s Motion to Proceed IFP (ECF No. 2) and assesses no initial partial filing fee per 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). See 28 U.S.C. 10 § 1915(b)(4) (providing that “[i]n no event shall a prisoner be prohibited from bringing a 11 civil action or appealing a civil action or criminal judgment for the reason that the 12 prisoner has no assets and no means by which to pay the initial partial filing fee.”); 13 Taylor, 281 F.3d at 850 (finding that 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4) acts as a “safety-valve” 14 preventing dismissal of a prisoner’s IFP case based solely on a “failure to pay . . . due to 15 the lack of funds available to him when payment is ordered.”). 16 However, the entire $350 balance of the filing fees due for this case must be 17 collected by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) and 18 forwarded to the Clerk of the Court pursuant to the installment payment provisions set 19 forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). 20 II. Screening Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b) 21 A. 22 Because Plaintiff is a prisoner and is proceeding IFP, his Complaint also requires a Standard of Review 23 pre-answer screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(b). Under these 24 statutes, the Court must sua sponte dismiss a prisoner’s IFP complaint, or any portion of 25 it, which is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks damages from defendants 26 who are immune. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) 27 (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)); Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 28 2010) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)). “The purpose of [screening] is ‘to ensure that 3 3:19-cv-00125-AJB-MDD 1 the targets of frivolous or malicious suits need not bear the expense of responding.’” 2 Nordstrom v. Ryan, 762 F.3d 903, 920 n.1 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting Wheeler v. Wexford 3 Health Sources, Inc., 689 F.3d 680, 681 (7th Cir. 2012)). 4 “The standard for determining whether a plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon 5 which relief can be granted under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as the Federal Rule of 6 Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standard for failure to state a claim.” Watison v. Carter, 668 7 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012); see also Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th 8 Cir. 2012) (noting that screening pursuant to § 1915A “incorporates the familiar standard 9 applied in the context of failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10 12(b)(6)”). Rule 12(b)(6) requires a complaint “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted 11 as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 12 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted); Wilhelm, 680 F.3d at 1121. 13 Detailed factual allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the 14 elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” 15 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for 16 relief [is] ... a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its 17 judicial experience and common sense.” Id. The “mere possibility of misconduct” or 18 “unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusation[s]” fall short of meeting 19 this plausibility standard. Id.; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 20 (9th Cir. 2009). 21 Finally, in deciding whether Plaintiff has stated a plausible claim for relief, the 22 Court may consider exhibits attached to his Complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(c) (“A 23 copy of a written instrument that is an exhibit to a pleading is a part of the pleading for all 24 purposes.”); Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., Inc., 896 F.2d 1542, 1555 25 n.19 (9th Cir. 1990) (citing Amfac Mortg. Corp. v. Ariz. Mall of Tempe, Inc., 583 F.2d 26 426 (9th Cir. 1978) (“[M]aterial which is properly submitted as part of the complaint may 27 be considered” in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.)). 28 4 3:19-cv-00125-AJB-MDD 1 As currently pleaded, the Court finds Plaintiff’s Complaint contains “sufficient 2 factual matter, accepted as true,” to state Eighth Amendment claims for relief that are 3 “plausible on its face,” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, and therefore, sufficient to survive the 4 “low threshold” set for sua sponte screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 5 1915A(b). See Wilhelm, 680 F.3d at 1123; Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Hudson v. McMillian, 6 503 U.S. 1, 5 (1992) (unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain violates the Cruel and 7 Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment); Wilkins v. Gaddy, 559 U.S. 34, 8 37 (2010) (per curiam) (for claims arising out of the use of excessive physical force, the 9 issue is “whether force was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, 10 or maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.”) (citing Hudson, 503 U.S. at 7); United 11 States v. Williams, 842 F.3d 1143, 1153 (9th Cir. 2016) (the Eighth Amendment “requires 12 that prison officials ‘must take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the 13 inmates.’”); Robins v. Meecham, 60 F.3d 1436, 1442 (9th Cir. 1995) (“[A] prison official 14 can violate a prisoner’s Eighth Amendment rights by failing to intervene.”). 15 Therefore, the Court will direct the U.S. Marshal to effect service of summons 16 Plaintiff’s Complaint on his behalf.2 See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d) (“The officers of the court 17 shall issue and serve all process, and perform all duties in [IFP] cases.”); Fed. R. Civ. P. 18 4(c)(3) (“[T]he court may order that service be made by a United States marshal or 19 deputy marshal ... if the plaintiff is authorized to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 20 U.S.C. § 1915.”). 21 III. Conclusion and Order 22 For the reasons explained, the Court: 23 1. 24 GRANTS Plaintiff’s Motion to Proceed IFP pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) (ECF No. 2). 25 26 27 28 2 Plaintiff is cautioned that “the sua sponte screening and dismissal procedure is cumulative of, and not a substitute for, any subsequent Rule 12(b)(6) motion that [a defendant] may choose to bring.” Teahan v. Wilhelm, 481 F. Supp. 2d 1115, 1119 (S.D. Cal. 2007). 5 3:19-cv-00125-AJB-MDD 1 2. DIRECTS the Secretary of the CDCR, or his designee, to garnish the $350 2 filing fee owed in this case by collecting monthly payments from his account in an 3 amount equal to twenty percent (20%) of the preceding month’s income and forwarding 4 them to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in the account exceeds $10 pursuant 5 to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). ALL PAYMENTS MUST BE CLEARLY IDENTIFIED BY 6 THE NAME AND NUMBER ASSIGNED TO THIS ACTION. 7 8 9 3. DIRECTS the Clerk of the Court to serve a copy of this Order on Ralph Diaz, Acting Secretary, CDCR, P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento, California, 94283-0001; 4. DIRECTS the Clerk to issue a summons as to Plaintiff’s Complaint (ECF 10 No. 1) and to forward it to Plaintiff along with a blank U.S. Marshal Form 285 for each 11 named Defendant. In addition, the Clerk will provide Plaintiff with certified copies of this 12 Order, his Complaint, and the summons so that he may serve these Defendants. Upon 13 receipt of this “IFP Package,” Plaintiff must complete the USM Form 285s as completely 14 and accurately as possible, include an address where each named Defendant may be 15 found and/or subject to service pursuant to S.D. Cal. CivLR 4.1c., and return them to the 16 United States Marshal according to the instructions the Clerk provides in the letter 17 accompanying his IFP package. 18 5. ORDERS the U.S. Marshal to serve a copy of the Complaint and summons 19 upon the Defendants as directed by Plaintiff on the USM Form 285s provided to him. All 20 costs of that service will be advanced by the United States. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d); Fed. 21 R. Civ. P. 4(c)(3). 22 6. ORDERS Defendants, once they have been served, to reply to Plaintiff’s 23 Complaint within the time provided by the applicable provisions of Federal Rule of Civil 24 Procedure 12(a). See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(g)(2) (while a defendant may occasionally be 25 permitted to “waive the right to reply to any action brought by a prisoner confined in any 26 jail, prison, or other correctional facility under section 1983,” once the Court has 27 conducted its sua sponte screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(b), 28 and thus, has made a preliminary determination based on the face on the pleading alone 6 3:19-cv-00125-AJB-MDD 1 that Plaintiff has a “reasonable opportunity to prevail on the merits,” defendant is 2 required to respond). 3 7. ORDERS Plaintiff, after service has been effected by the U.S. Marshal, to 4 serve upon Defendants, or if appearance has been entered by counsel, upon Defendants’ 5 counsel, a copy of every further pleading, motion, or other document submitted for the 6 Court’s consideration pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(b). Plaintiff must include with every 7 original document he seeks to file with the Clerk of the Court, a certificate stating the 8 manner in which a true and correct copy of that document has been was served on 9 Defendants or their counsel, and the date of that service. See S.D. Cal. CivLR 5.2. Any 10 document received by the Court which has not been properly filed with the Clerk or 11 which fails to include a Certificate of Service upon the Defendants, or their counsel, may 12 be disregarded. 13 IT IS SO ORDERED. 14 15 Dated: October 11, 2019 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 7 3:19-cv-00125-AJB-MDD