United States District Court, D. Idaho
WILLIAM S. FLETCHER, Plaintiff,
IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF CORRETIONS, IDAHO COMMISSION OF PARDON & PAROLE, SANDY JONES, KAREN CLIFFORD Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
LYNN WINMILL U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Dkt.
18). Having reviewed the record and briefs, the Court finds
that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented
and oral argument is unnecessary. See Loc. Civ. R.
7.1(d)(2)(ii). For the reasons explained below, the Court
will grant the motion in part and deny the motion in part.
Complaint, Plaintiff William Fletcher seeks injunctive relief
and damages from Defendants the Idaho Department of
Correction, the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole, Sandy
Jones in her official capacity as Executive Director of the
Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole, and Karen Clifford in
her official capacity as District 4 Deputy Manager for the
Idaho Department of Correction. Mr. Fletcher appears to base
his damages claim and request for injunctive relief on a lack
of due process in being “labeled as a sex offender and
classifications of sex offender on a non-related sex offense
which is injury to a child I.C. § 18-1501(1).”
Dkt. 2 at 2. Although not mentioned with specificity in the
complaint, the Court assumes Mr. Fletcher seeks relief for
alleged constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. §
Fletcher alleges that Defendants began the course of
unconstitutional conduct on February 1, 2018, when they
imposed conditions on his parole. Dkt. 2 at 5-6. Mr. Fletcher
attaches a copy of the parole conditions to his complaint.
Id. He alleges that he has been wrongly
“labeled as a sex offender” because his
conviction under I.C. § 18-1501(1), (“Injury to a
Child”), is “not classified as a sexual base
offense.” Id. at 2; see also I.C.
§ 18-8304(1)(a). The parole conditions indicate that Mr.
Fletcher is required to register as a sex offender “if
dictated by law.” Id. at 5-6. The parole
conditions also require Mr. Fletcher to obtain a sex offender
evaluation and comply with related counseling. Id.
He is further prohibited from using the internet or having an
internet-capable device. Id. The parole conditions
also require Mr. Fletcher to undergo penile plethysmograph
testing at the request of treatment providers or supervising
personnel, to avoid pornography, and to avoid associating
with minor children under the age of eighteen. Id.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, ” in order to “give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While a complaint
attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss “does not
need detailed factual allegations, ” it must set forth
“more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Id. To survive a motion to dismiss, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.” Id. at 570. 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. Id.
at 556. The plausibility standard is not akin to a
“probability requirement, ” but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully. Id. Where a complaint pleads facts that
are “merely consistent with” a defendant's
liability, it “stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to
relief.'” Id. at 557.
Supreme Court identified two “working principles”
that underlie Twombly in Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). First, the court need not accept as
true legal conclusions that are couched as factual
allegations. Id. Rule 8 does not “unlock the
doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more
than conclusions.” Id. at 678-79. Second, to
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must state a
plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679.
“Determining whether a complaint states a plausible
claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that
requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Id.
dismissal without leave to amend is improper unless it is
beyond doubt that the complaint “could not be saved by
any amendment.” Harris v. Amgen, Inc., 573
F.3d 728, 737 (9th Cir. 2009) (issued 2 months after Iqbal).
The Ninth Circuit has held that “in dismissals for
failure to state a claim, a district court should grant leave
to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was made,
unless it determines that the pleading could not possibly be
cured by the allegation of other facts.” Cook,
Perkiss and Liehe, Inc. v. Northern California Collection
Service, Inc., 911 F.2d 242, 247 (9th Cir. 1990). The
issue is not whether plaintiff will prevail but whether he
“is entitled to offer evidence to support the
claims.” Diaz v. Int'l Longshore and Warehouse
Union, Local 13, 474 F.3d 1202, 1205 (9th Cir.
presumably brings claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the
civil rights statute. To state a plausible civil rights
claim, a plaintiff must allege a violation of rights
protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute
proximately caused by conduct of a person acting under color
of state law. Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420
(9th Cir. 1991). To be liable under § 1983, “the
defendant must possess a purposeful, a knowing, or possibly a
reckless state of mind.” Kingsley v.
Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2472 (2015). Negligence is
not actionable under § 1983, because a negligent act by
a public official is not an abuse of governmental power but
merely a “failure to measure up to the conduct of a
reasonable person.” Daniels v. Williams, 474
U.S. 327, 332 (1986).
officials generally are not liable for damages in their
individual capacities under § 1983 unless they
personally participated in the alleged constitutional
violations. Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th
Cir. 1989); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677
(“[E]ach Government official, his or her title
notwithstanding, is only liable for his or her own
misconduct.”). Section 1983 does not allow for recovery
against an employer or principal simply because an employee
or agent committed misconduct. Taylor, 880 F.2d at
1045. However, “[a] defendant may be held liable as a
supervisor under § 1983 ‘if there exists ... a
sufficient causal connection between the supervisor's
wrongful conduct and the constitutional
violation.'” Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202,
1207 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Hansen v. Black, 885
F.2d 642, 646 (9th Cir. 1989)).
plaintiff can establish this causal connection by alleging
that a defendant (1) “set in motion a series of acts
by others”; (2) “knowingly refus[ed] to terminate
a series of acts by others, which [the supervisor] knew or
reasonably should have known would cause others to inflict a
constitutional injury”; (3) failed to act or improperly
acted in the training, supervision, or control of his
subordinates”; (4) “acquiesc[ed] in the
constitutional deprivation”; or (5) engag[ed] in
“conduct that showed a reckless or callous indifference
to the rights of others.” Id. at 1205-09.
plaintiff cannot simply restate these standards of law in a
complaint. Instead, a plaintiff must provide specific facts
supporting the elements of each claim, and he must allege
facts showing a causal link between each defendant and
Plaintiff's injury or damage. Alleging “the ...