Malori v. Oahu Cmty. Corr. Ctr. (OCCC)

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Hawaii)
Decision Date19 January 2022
Docket NumberCIVIL 21-00420 LEK-KJM
PartiesROBERTA MALORI, #A1055612, Plaintiff, v. OAHU COMMUNITY CORRECTIONAL CENTER OCCC, et al., Defendants.

ROBERTA MALORI, #A1055612, Plaintiff,


CIVIL No. 21-00420 LEK-KJM

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

January 19, 2022


Leslie E. KobayashiUnited States District Judge

Before the Court is pro se Plaintiff Roberta Malori's (“Malori”) First Amended Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint (“FAC”) brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 20. Malori alleges that the Honolulu Police Department (“HPD”), the Oahu Community Correctional Center (“OCCC”), and the Queen's Medical Center (“QMC”) violated her constitutional rights by threatening her safety. See Id. at 1-7. For the following reasons, the FAC is DISMISSED with partial leave granted to amend. If she chooses to do so, Malori may file an amended pleading on or before March 16, 2022. In the alternative, Malori may


voluntarily dismiss this action pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(1), and this dismissal will not count as a strike under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).


The Court is required to screen all prisoner pleadings against government officials pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). See Byrd v. Phx. Police Dep't, 885 F.3d 639, 641 (9th Cir. 2018). Claims or complaints that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim for relief, or seek damages from defendants who are immune from suit must be dismissed. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc); Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010).

Screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) involves the same standard of review as that used under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Rosati v. Igbinoso, 791 F.3d 1037, 1039 (9th Cir. 2015) (per curiam). Under this standard, a complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). A claim is “plausible” when the facts alleged support a reasonable inference that the plaintiff is entitled to relief from a specific defendant for specific misconduct. See id.

In conducting this screening, the Court liberally construes pro se litigants' pleadings and resolves all doubts in their favor. See Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010)


(citations omitted). The Court must grant leave to amend if it appears the plaintiff can correct the defects in the complaint. See Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1130. When a claim cannot be saved by amendment, dismissal with prejudice is appropriate. See Sylvia Landfield Tr. v. City of Los Angeles, 729 F.3d 1189, 1196 (9th Cir. 2013).


Malori is a pretrial detainee at the OCCC. See VINE, (select “Find an Offender”; then enter “Wilborn” in “Last Name” field and “Roberta” in “First Name” field) (last visited Jan. 19, 2022). She is awaiting trial in State v. Wilborn, No. 1CPC-19-0000658 (1st. Cir. Ct. Haw.).[2] See ECF No. 20-2 at 1-2. In the state court case, Malori is represented by Nelson W. Goo, Esq. See Id. at 6.

Malori initiated this suit by filing a “Complaint of use wrong identities information, ” ECF No. 1, “Civil Rights Complaint for Prisoner, ” ECF No. 3-1, “Civil Rights Complaint for prisoner-request injunction, ” ECF No. 3-2, “Civil Right Complaint for prisoner with injunction, ” ECF No. 4, “Civil Right Complaint


for prisoner an injunction, ” ECF No. 5, and “Civil Right complaint against inhuman treatment and torture against Prisoner Civil Right complaint against racial, discrimination disability, hate crime, intolerance by ACO Tiffany violation of human rights, Civil Rights Complaint for Prison requesting protection from retaliatory acts by ACO Tiffany and other's, ” ECF No. 7.

The Court issued an Order Dismissing Various Filings with Leave Granted to Amend on November 17, 2021. ECF No. 8. In dismissing Malori's various filings, the Court reminded Malori that she must comply with the Local Rules. Id. at 6-7. The Court also identified numerous deficiencies in Malori's claims. For example, the Court explained that: (1) Malori did not comply with the joinder rules; (2) any claims against the OCCC were barred by the Eleventh Amendment; (3) Malori failed to state a claim against the HPD; (4) Malori failed to state a claim against the QMC; (5) some of Malori's claims might be untimely; and (6) to the extent Malori argued the caption in her state court case should be changed, she should seek such relief in state court. Id. at 7-14. The Court also provided Malori with the applicable legal standards for various Fourteenth Amendment claims suggested in her filings. Id. at 14-18.

The Court received and filed the FAC on January 12, 2022. ECF No. 20. Malori alleges in Count I of the FAC that the HPD misnamed her in an arrest record on April 26, 2019. Id. at 5. According to Malori, she was “forced to


become an undocumented non-existent person” because of the HPD's alleged “identity-benefits-disability-SSI-medical fingerprints-immigration [fraud].” Id. Malori alleges in Count II that the OCCC misidentified her when she was detained on April 29, 2019. Id. at 6. According to Malori, this was “part of the systematic practice of forced disappearance.” Id. Malori alleges in Count III that she is also misidentified in records at the QMC. Id. at 7.


A. Legal Framework for Claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983

To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Section 1983 requires a connection or link between a defendant's actions and the plaintiff's alleged deprivation. See Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 692 (1978); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72, 377 (1976); May v. Enomoto, 633 F.2d 165, 167 (9th Cir. 1980). “A person ‘subjects' another to the deprivation of a constitutional right, within the meaning of section 1983, if he does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative acts or omits to perform an act which he is legally required to do that causes the deprivation of which complaint is made.” Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978) (citation omitted). Thus, a plaintiff must allege


that she suffered a specific injury because of a particular defendant's conduct and must affirmatively link that injury to the violation of her rights.

B. Statute of Limitations

Section 1983 does not contain its own statute of limitations, therefore, “[a]ctions brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 are governed by the forum state's statute of limitations for personal injury actions.” Knox v. Davis, 260 F.3d 1009, 1012-13 (9th Cir. 2001) (citing Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276 (1985)). In Hawaii, the statute of limitations for personal injury actions is two years. See Haw. Rev. Stat. § 657-7; Bird v. Dep't of Hum. Servs., 935 F.3d 738, 743 (9th Cir. 2019).

Malori complains in Count I about events that allegedly occurred on April 26, 2019. ECF No. 20 at 5. In Count II, she complains about events that allegedly occurred on April 29, 2019. Id. at 6. The earliest date Malori might have given to prison officials her initial filing in this case, however, was October 15, 2021-that is, the date she signed her Complaint. See Doc. 1 at 2. Because October 15, 2021, plainly is more than two years after April 26, 2019, and April 29, 2019, it appears that Malori's claims in Count I and Count II are barred by the statute of limitations. Even if these claims were timely, they must nevertheless be dismissed for the following reasons.


C. Municipal Liability

In Count I, Malori names the HPD as a Defendant. See ECF No. 20 at 5. “[M]unicipalities and other local government units . . . [are] among those persons to whom § 1983 applies.” Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978). A local government unit, however, may not be held responsible for the acts of its employees under a respondeat superior theory of liability. Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403 (1997). “To prevail on a claim against a municipal entity for a constitutional violation, a plaintiff must show that an official's action that caused the plaintiff's injury was pursuant to official municipal policy of some nature.” Kirkpatrick v. County of Washoe, 843 F.3d 784, 793 (9th Cir. 2016) (en banc).

Although Malori alleges that unidentified officers of the HPD misidentified her in arrest records, she has not plausibly alleged that a policy or custom of the HPD caused a constitutional deprivation or a violation of federal law. Malori therefore fails to state a claim against the HPD. Malori's claims against the HPD are DISMISSED with leave granted to amend.

D. Eleventh Amendment Immunity

In Count II, Malori names the OCCC as a Defendant. See ECF No. 20 at 6. “The Eleventh Amendment bars suits for money damages in federal court against a


state, its agencies, and state officials acting in their official capacities.” Aholelei v. Dep't of Pub. Safety, 488 F.3d 1144, 1147 (9th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted); see Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 101-03 (1984). It does not bar official-capacity suits for prospective relief to enjoin alleged ongoing violations of federal law. See Wolfson v. Brammer, 616 F.3d 1045, 1065-66 (9th Cir. 2010); see also Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 n.10 (1989). Nor does it bar suits for damages against state officials in their personal capacities. See Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 30-31 (1991); Porter v. Jones, 319 F.3d 483, 491 (9th Cir. 2003).

As the Court explained in dismissing Malori's earlier filings, ECF No. 8 at 10-11, any...

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