ALLISON CLAIRE, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In addition to filing a complaint (ECF No. 13), plaintiff has filed two applications to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (ECF Nos. 11 & 14) and a motion to appoint counsel (ECF No. 6).
I. Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
The court has reviewed the latter of plaintiff's two applications (ECF No. 14) and finds that it makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) and (2). Accordingly, by separate order, the court directs the agency having custody of plaintiff to collect and forward the appropriate monthly payments for the filing fee as set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) and (2). Plaintiff's other application (ECF No. 11) will be denied as moot.
II. Motion to Appoint Counsel
Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He requests that the court appoint counsel. District courts lack authority to require counsel to represent indigent prisoners in section 1983 cases.
Plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel (ECF No. 6) will be denied.
III. Screening Requirements
The court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious," that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2).
A claim "is [legally] frivolous where it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact."
"Federal 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.'"
"[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to `state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'"
IV. Screening Order
Plaintiff's allegations are vague. He alleges that, sometime after arriving at Deuel Vocational Institution, he was informed by defendant Enos of a conspiracy against him. ECF No. 13 at 4. Plaintiff claims that the conspiracy involved a correctional officer, an institutional gang investigator, and four inmates — none of whom are identified by name.
Plaintiff refers to the exhibits attached to his complaint, but these do little to clarify his allegations. The roughly fifty pages of exhibits contain various documents related to his gang classification and his prison grievance appeals, but none provide a clear indication of how any of the defendants violated his constitutional rights. The court will not hazard to guess at what plaintiff's claims might be. Instead, it will dismiss his complaint with leave to amend.
V. Leave to Amend
Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed with leave to amend. If plaintiff chooses to file an amended complaint it should observe the following:
It must also contain a caption including the names of all defendants. Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(a).
Plaintiff may not change the nature of this suit by alleging new, unrelated claims.
Any amended complaint must be written or typed so that it so that it is complete in itself without reference to any earlier filed complaint. E.D. Cal. L.R. 220. This is because an amended complaint supersedes any earlier filed complaint, and once an amended complaint is filed, the earlier filed complaint no longer serves any function in the case.
Finally, the court notes that any amended complaint should be as concise as possible in fulfilling the above requirements. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Plaintiff should avoid the inclusion of procedural or factual background which has no bearing on his legal claims. He should also take pains to ensure that his amended complaint is as legible as possible. This refers not only to penmanship, but also spacing and organization. Lengthy, unbroken paragraphs can be difficult to read when handwritten and plaintiff would do well to avoid them wherever possible.
VI. Summary of the Order
You have been granted in forma pauperis status and will not have to pay the entire filing fee immediately. Your motion for appointment of counsel is being denied. Prisoners are not entitled to counsel as a matter of right in a civil action.
The court has found that your claims, as stated, are not suitable to proceed. It is unclear what your precise allegations are or how each of the named defendants personally violated your rights. You are being given a chance to submit an amended complaint which better explains your claims.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: