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Demerson v. Woodford

February 25, 2009

EDWARD DEMERSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JEANNE S. WOODFORD, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER THAT ACTION SHALL PROCEED ON AMENDED COMPLAINT ON EXCESSIVE FORCE AND DENIAL OF MEDICAL CARE CLAIMS, AND DISMISSING ALL OTHER CLAIMS AND CERTAIN DEFENDANTS

(Doc. 27)

Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Edward Demerson ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986. Plaintiff filed this action on January 29, 2008. On September 22, 2008, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint with leave to amend. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on October 27, 2008.

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). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

Rule 8(a) expresses the principle of notice-pleading, whereby the pleader need not give an elaborate recitation of every fact he may ultimately rely upon at trial, but only a statement sufficient to "'give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 511-12, 122 S.Ct. 992 (2002) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99 (1957)). Because the "[f]actual allegations must be [sufficient] to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . ," Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007) (citations omitted), Plaintiff must allege facts sufficient to demonstrate what happened to him and to make a showing that what happened to him rose to the level of a constitutional violation, but it is unnecessary for Plaintiff to provide a lengthy narrative setting forth every detail.

II. Plaintiff's Claims

Plaintiff is currently housed at Salinas Valley State Prison. The claims at issue in this action allegedly occurred at California State Prison-Corcoran. Plaintiff names Director Jeanne S. Woodford; Inmate Appeals Branch Chief N. Grannis; Warden Darrell G. Adams; Associate Wardens Kent Clark, L. Polk, and J. Ahlin; Captain D. A. Cuevas; Lieutenants L. Cartagena,*fn1 V. Black, and Alva; Sergeants Ase, Munoz, and Morales; Correctional Officers B. Phillips, E. Campos, M. H. Clausing, Bardonnex, and Amaro; Medical Technical Assistant Gregory; Psych Tech Hillard; and E. McCant as defendants. Plaintiff's claims against the defendants arise from events that began on January 25, 2006, summarized briefly as follows.

Plaintiff was in the caged section of the walk-alone yard when he requested nail clippers. Plaintiff was told by Defendant Phillips that he would get the nail clippers with the hair clippers. Plaintiff informed Phillips that was not how things had been running, that it wastes time because not everyone wants the nail clippers, and Correctional Officer Molina, not Phillips, had been on this yard for the past year.

After yard time was over, Plaintiff was the last inmate brought in. After being searched and shackled, Phillips rammed Plaintiff into the wall and told him that was for the "shit" he had been talking. (Amend. Comp., court record p. 8.) Phillips and Defendant Campos proceeded to hit, slam, kick, and stomp Plaintiff. Other officers arrived and began twisting the upper and lower ends of Plaintiff's body in different directions, and that in addition to Defendants Phillips and Campos, Defendants Clausing and Bardonnex used excessive forced against him when they mishandled and twisted him in the hallway. Plaintiff was subsequently taken to a holding cage, where he complained of chest pains and severe pain. Plaintiff was not provided with any medical care until approximately thirteen hours later, when he was taken to the prison's hospital, given medication, and admitted over night.

After being discharged, Plaintiff was taken back to administrative segregation and housed on strip cell status. Plaintiff was later issued a Rules Violation Report, found guilty at a prison disciplinary hearing, and assessed an eighteen month Security Housing Unit term.

A. Official Capacity and Municipal Liability Claims

In additional to individual capacity claims, Plaintiff alleges official capacity claims against the named defendants. This is a suit for money damages, and the Eleventh Amendment bars Plaintiff from seeking damages against state officials in their official capacities. Aholelei v. Dept. of Public Safety, 488 F.3d 1144, ...


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