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Thunderwolf v. Oregon State Hospital

United States District Court, D. Oregon

February 15, 2018



          MOSMAN, Judge.

         Plaintiff, a former inmate at the Oregon State Hospital, brings this civil rights action pro se. Pursuant to an Order entered this date, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. However, for the reasons set forth below, the Court dismisses Plaintiffs Complaint.


         Plaintiffs Complaint is a two-page narrative statement about events which occurred while he was incarcerated at the Oregon State Hospital ("OSH") sometime in the last three months of 2015.

         Plaintiff alleges that during a trip away from OSH under escort from Oregon State Police officers, the officers failed to secure Plaintiffs ankles with chains. As a result, Plaintiff states he was able to run away from the officers and that when he did so he tripped and fell, injuring his shoulder. Plaintiff states that at the time he was taking medication prescribed by Dr. Goetz which caused him to behave "off kilter." Plaintiff states he was taken to a hospital emergency room, where a doctor informed him he had broken his shoulder and would likely require surgery. Upon his return to OSH, Plaintiff states Dr. Goetz mis-prescribed a sling. Plaintiff states that at the time there was "discomfort, " but that there is extreme pain now.

         Plaintiff concludes by stating if his feet had been chained he would not have been able to run away and would not have tripped. He states that "[b]ecause the above named defendants failed at this one task, I am suing for damages in an unspecified amount."


         A district court must dismiss an action initiated by a plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis if the court determines that the action (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). In order to state a claim, a plaintiff must allege facts which, when accepted as true, give rise to a plausible inference that the defendants violated the plaintiffs rights. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556-57 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). "A pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal quotations omitted).

         When a plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the court construes the pleadings liberally and affords the plaintiff the benefit of any doubt. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). A pro se plaintiff will be given leave to amend his or her complaint unless it is clear that the deficiencies of the complaint cannot be cured by amendment. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1112, 1130-31 (9th Cir. 2000).


         I. Procedural Deficiencies

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a), a complaint shall include a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Moreover, "[e]ach averment of a pleading shall be simple, concise and direct." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e). If the factual elements of a cause of action are scattered throughout the complaint but are not organized into a "short and plain statement of the claim, " dismissal for failure to satisfy Rule 8(a) is proper. Sparling v. Hoffman Constr. Co., 864 F.2d 635, 640 (9th Cir. 1988); see also Nevijel v. North Coast Life Ins. Co., 651 F.2d 671, 674 (9th Cir. 1981) (district court may dismiss an action with prejudice due to a litigant's failure to comply with Rule 8(a) if meaningful, less drastic sanctions have been explored). Although the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure adopt a flexible pleading policy, a complaint must give fair notice to the defendants and must allege facts that support the elements of the claim plainly and succinctly. Jones v. Community Redev. Agency, 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984).

         Plaintiffs Complaint does not satisfy Rule 8. Plaintiff does not identify what claims he is alleging, and instead of providing specific allegations in support of each of his claims, Plaintiff instead has set forth a narrative of events. The factual elements of Plaintiffs claims are scattered throughout his narrative statement. Because Plaintiff has failed to comply with the requirements of Rule 8, the Complaint must be dismissed.

         II. ...

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