United States District Court, D. Oregon
Andy Chung, Salem, Oregon, Pro se plaintiff.
Ellen Rosenblum, Andrew D. Hallman, Oregon Department of Justice, Salem, Oregon, Attorneys for defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
ANN AIKEN, Chief District Judge.
Defendant, Psychiatric Security Review Board, moves to dismiss pro se plaintiff Andy Chung's claims pursuant to Fed. R. · Civ. P. 12(b) (6). For the reasons discussed below, defendant's motion is granted and this case is dismissed.
Plaintiff was confined at the Oregon State Hospital ("OSH") under the jurisdiction of defendant and is "a PSRB client currently." Compl. pg. 3-4. On January 14, 2014, plaintiff requested a full discharge from OSH. Defendant subsequently denied plaintiff's request.
On January 28, 2014, plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court, alleging two claims for relief, and an application to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"), which this Court granted. In his first claim, plaintiff alleges that defendant discriminated against him because of his disability - "past mental illness history" - and the crime he committed six years prior. Compl. pg. 3. In his second claim, plaintiff asserts that defendant wrongly denied his request for a conditional release because he was trying to "find [his] witnesses and file a lawsuit against [his] victim for harassment." Id. at pg. 4. Plaintiff seeks several million dollars in damages. On August 5, 2014, defendant filed the present motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint with prejudice. Plaintiff did not file an opposition to defendant's motion.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Where the plaintiff "fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, " the court must dismiss the action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) (6). To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must allege "enough facts to state a claim [for] relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the complaint is liberally construed in favor of the plaintiff and its allegations are taken as true. Rosen v. Walters , 719 F.2d 1422, 1424 (9th Cir. 1983). Bare assertions, however, that amount to nothing more than a "formulaic recitation of the elements" of a claim "are conclusory and not entitled to be assumed true." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 681 (2009). Rather, to state a plausible claim for relief, the complaint "must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts" to support its legal conclusions. Starr v. Baca , 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 132 S.Ct. 2101 (2012).
Defendant contends that plaintiff's claims should be dismissed because: "(1) the Eleventh Amendment bars Chung from seeking damages against PSRB in federal court; (2) Chung cannot challenge the fact or duration of his confinement under § 1983; and (3) PSRB is entitled to absolute immunity." Def.'s Mot. Dismiss 1-2.
Initially, before reaching the substantive merits of defendant's motion, the Court notes that plaintiff's claims fail at the pleadings level. The court must dismiss an IFP complaint sua sponte if it "is frivolous or malicious" or "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) (2) (B); Lopez v. Smith , 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en bane). Here, even construing plaintiff's pleadings in the most favorable and liberal light, they are insufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. See Florer v. Congregation Pidyon Shevuyim, N.A. , 639 F.3d 916, 923 n.4 (9th Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 132 S.Ct. 1000 (2012) (pro se pleadings are "held to less stringent standards" than those drafted by lawyers). Notably, plaintiff's allegations are vague and conclusory, and fail to clearly delineate the underlying factual circumstances. As discussed below, however, plaintiff's claims also fail, as a matter of law, for the reasons identified by defendant.
I. Eleventh Amendment
Defendant first asserts that it is entitled to immunity under the Eleventh Amendment. The Eleventh Amendment "bars suits in federal court [for damages] against a state and its agencies brought by its own citizens and citizens of other states." In re Jackson , 184 F.3d 1046, 1049 (9th Cir. 1999) (citations omitted). A state may waive its sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment by ...