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Briscoe v. Dep't of Corrections

March 31, 2009

JAMES R. BRISCOE, III, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anthony W. Ishii Chief United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS TILTON AND WOODFORD'S MOTION TO DISMISS

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART COUNTY DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

(Documents 48, 50)

After initiating this case pro se, Plaintiff is now proceeding with retained counsel in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action.*fn1 Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") alleges claims that stem from conduct that occurred while Plaintiff was housed at the Fresno County Jail. Plaintiff claims that he was being held in custody despite a court order reversing his conviction. Plaintiff also claims that he was subjected to excessive force, unconstitutional conditions of confinement, and denials of medical treatment. Defendants Sims and Robinson have filed an answer. Defendants Tilton and Woodford have filed a motion to dismiss. Defendants the County of Fresno, Mims, Osborn, Morris, Lockie, Prado, and Redondo ("the County Defendants") have filed a motion to dismiss. Defendant Palmer has not appeared. For the reasons that follow, the motions will be granted in part and denied in part.

LEGAL STANDARDS

Rule 8

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) sets the pleading standard for claims for relief. "Under the liberal rules of pleading, a plaintiff need only provide a 'short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Sagana v. Tenorio, 384 F.3d 731, 736 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)). This rule does "not require a claimant to set out in detail the facts upon which he bases his claim." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957). The pleadings need only give the opposing party fair notice of a claim and the claim's basis. Conley, 355 U.S. at 47; Sagana, 384 F.3d at 736; Fontana v. Haskin, 262 F.3d 871, 877 (9th Cir. 2001). 47). The pleadings are also to "be construed as to do substantial justice," and "no technical forms of pleading . . . are required." Fed. Rules Civ. Pro. 8(e)(1), 8(f); Sagana, 384 F.3d at 736; Fontana, 262 F.3d at 877.

Rule 12(b)(6)

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a claim may be dismissed because of the plaintiff's "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) may be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or on the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001); Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).In reviewing a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), all allegations of material fact are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Newman v. Sathyavaglswaran, 287 F.3d 786, 788 (9th Cir. 2002); Vignolo v. Miller, 120 F.3d 1075, 1077 (9th Cir. 1999). The Court is not required "to accept as true allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences." In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1056-57 (9th Cir. 2008); Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001); see also Warren v. Fox Family Worldwide, Inc., 328 F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2003). Courts will not "assume the truth of legal conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations." Warren, 328 F.3d at 1139. Furthermore, Courts will not assume that plaintiffs "can prove facts which [they have] not alleged, or that the defendants have violated . . . laws in ways that have not been alleged." Associated General Contractors of California, Inc. v. California State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983). As the Supreme Court has recently explained:

While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).

Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007). Thus, to "avoid a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations; rather, it must plead 'enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Weber v. Department of Veterans Affairs, 521 F.3d 1061, 1065 (9t h Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1974).

If a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss is granted, "[the] 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." Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). In other words, leave to amend need not be granted when amendment would be futile. Gompper v. VISX, Inc., 298 F.3d 893, 898 (9th Cir. 2002).

42 U.S.C. § 1983

To warrant relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege and show that defendant's acts or omissions caused the deprivation of his constitutionally protected rights. Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 633 (9th Cir. 1993). In order to state a claim under ยง 1983, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) a person was acting under color of state law at the time the complained of act was committed; and (2) that person's conduct deprived plaintiff of rights, privileges or immunities secured by the ...


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