United States District Court, D. Oregon
ORDER TO AMEND
A. RUSSO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a pretrial detainee at the Columbia County Jail, brings this
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Currently before the Court are plaintiff's Complaint (ECF
No. 2) and Motion to Amend (ECF No. 9). For the reasons set
forth below, this Court orders plaintiff to file an amended
complaint and denies as moot his Motion to Amend.
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 plaintiff's
constitutional rights. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. 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). Plaintiff is proceeding
pro se, and therefore this Court construes the
pleadings liberally and affords plaintiff the benefit of any
doubt. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
alleges that on June 10, 2018, Oregon State Troopers
Christopher Cowen and Dylan Kean used excessive force against
him and “abused their power as cops.” Pl.'s
Compl. (ECF No. 2) at 4-5, 12. Plaintiff also alleges that
Defendants searched and seized his cell phone without a
warrant. Id. at 5. Plaintiff seeks money damages for
counseling, medical treatment, and mental anguish.
Id. Plaintiff does not allege whether defendants
used excessive force in the course of his arrest, or whether
he has been charged with an offense arising out of his
altercation with defendants and/or involving the search of
his cell phone. Consequently, plaintiff has failed to allege
facts sufficient to enable this Court to determine whether it
must abstain from exercising jurisdiction.
plaintiff is awaiting trial on charges involving his
altercation with defendants (for instance resisting arrest or
assaulting a public safety officer) or the alleged search of
his cell phone, this Court must determine whether to abstain
from exercising jurisdiction. Absent extraordinary
circumstances, this Court may not interfere with a pending
state criminal proceeding that implicates important state
interests. ReadyLink Healthcare, Inc. v. State Comp. Ins.
Fund, 754 F.3d 754, 758 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-54 (1971)).
Abstention is appropriate when (1) there is an ongoing state
proceeding; (2) the proceeding is criminal or quasi-criminal;
(3) the proceeding implicates an important state interest;
(4) there is an adequate opportunity to raise the federal
challenge in the state proceeding; and (5) the requested
relief would enjoin the state proceeding or have the
practical effect of enjoining the proceeding. ReadyLink
Healthcare, Inc., 754 F.3d at 758; Arevalo v.
Hennessy, 882 F.3d 763, 765 (9th Cir. 2018). A federal
court will not invoke Younger “if there is a
‘showing of bad faith, harassment, or some other
extraordinary circumstance that would make abstention
inappropriate.'” Averalo v. Hennessy, 882
F.3d 763, 765-66 (9th Cir. 2018) (quoting Middlesex Cty.
Ethics Comm'n V. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457
U.S. 423, 435 (1982)). The Younger abstention
doctrine also does not apply when there is a danger of
irreparable loss that is both great and immediate.
Id. at 766. Based on the sparse allegations of
plaintiff's Complaint, it appears to the Court that
abstention is appropriate in this case.
other hand, if plaintiff has been tried and
convicted of an offense involving his altercation with
defendants or the search of his cell phone, plaintiff fails
to state a claim if his Fourth Amendment claims implicate the
legality of his conviction. In Heck v. Humphrey, 512
U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994), the Supreme Court held that in order
to recover damages for harm “caused by actions whose
unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid,
a' 1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or
sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by
executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal
authorized to make such determination, or called into
question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus.” When applying this rule, a court
considers “whether a judgment in favor of the plaintiff
would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or
sentence; if it would, the complaint must be dismissed unless
the plaintiff can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence
has already been invalidated.” Id. at 487;
see Byrd v. Phoenix Police Dep't, 885 F.3d 639,
643-45 (9th Cir. 2018) (excessive force claim did not
implicate legality of the plaintiff's guilty plea to the
charge of conspiracy to commit possession of a dangerous
plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts to permit
this Court to determine whether it must abstain from
exercising jurisdiction or dismiss his claims on the basis
that they implicate the legality of his convictions.
Accordingly, this Court orders plaintiff to file an amended
complaint, within thirty days of the date of this Order,
re-alleging his Fourth Amendment claims and identifying the
nature of the offenses for which he currently is
incarcerated, whether any of the offenses arose out of his
altercation with defendants or the search of his phone,
whether the charges remain pending, and the damage he
suffered from the use of excessive force and the
search and seizure of his cell phone. Further, if plaintiff
has been tried and convicted, plaintiff shall identify the
nature of the offenses and whether his convictions have been
reversed or otherwise invalidated by a state or federal
on the foregoing, plaintiff shall file an amended complaint,
within thirty days of the date of this Order, curing the
deficiencies noted above. The amended complaint will operate
as a complete substitute for plaintiff's original
Complaint. Plaintiff is advised that the failure to file an
amended complaint may result in the dismissal of this
this Court DENIES AS MOOT plaintiff's Motion to Amend
(ECF No.9) to correct the spelling of defendants' names.
If Plaintiff files an amended complaint, he may correct the
spelling of the defendants' names in that pleading.