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Johnson v. Cavagnaro

September 11, 2009

DERRICK LANE JOHNSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
S. CAVAGNARO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER REQUIRING PLAINTIFF TO EITHER FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT OR NOTIFY THE COURT OF HIS WILLINGNESS TO PROCEED ONLY ON EXCESSIVE FORCE CLAIM FOUND TO BE COGNIZABLE (Doc. 1) THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE

Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Derrick Lane Johnson, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on April 27, 2009.

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).

A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusion are not. Id. at 1949.

II. Eighth Amendment Claims

Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated at Salinas Valley State Prison, brings this civil action against Correctional Officers S. Cavagaro, C. Lane, and Does 1-6 for violating his rights under the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The events at issue in this action occurred at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in October 2008.

Plaintiff alleges that on October 11, 2008, he was placed on contraband watch by Defendants Cavagnaro and Lane after they received an anonymous note stating that Plaintiff was in possession of a controlled substance. Plaintiff would remain on contraband watch until October 14, 2008, at which time he was placed in administrative segregation.

The cell Plaintiff was housed in while on contraband watch had no water, toilet, blankets, or sheets, but a bare mattress was provided. Plaintiff was provided with one cup of water and one cup of milk a day, was not given adequate hygiene supplies, and was not given his blood pressure and psychotropic medications for three days. Plaintiff's hands were cuffed with plastic flexicuffs and metal handcuffs, and his ankles were bound with metal ankle restraints and duct tape with a metal chain placed around the handcuffs and wrapped around his waist and ankles. Plaintiff alleges that the restraints were applied in a manner that caused pain and restricted the blood flow to his wrists and ankles.

On October 12, 2008, Plaintiff was interviewed by Defendants Cavagnaro and Lane regarding his visitor, who was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. Plaintiff declined to say anything and the interview was terminated. When Plaintiff was returned to the holding cell, his restraints were tightened even more, causing greater restriction and pain. Plaintiff complained on October 13, 2008, to Doe Defendants 1 and 2 about the restraints causing him severe pain and numbness, but was told, "I can't do it. Lane and Cavagnaro told me not to." Plaintiff made the same complaint to Doe Defendants 3 and 4 on October 13, 2008, and to Doe Defendants 5 and 6 on October 14, 2008, and received the same response. Plaintiff also asked Doe 2 for his medication on October 13, 2008, and Doe 4 for his medication on October 14, 2008. Both told him they would look into it but Plaintiff did not receive the medication.

After Plaintiff was released from contraband watch, his injuries from the restraints were documented by C. Belantes, a medical staff member, but his requests for medical attention while housed in administrative segregation received no response.

A. Excessive Force

Plaintiff alleges that the restraints were applied to cause unnecessary pain and suffering, and that for weeks after being released from contraband watch, he suffered severe pain in his wrists and ankles. Plaintiff alleges that Does 1-6 were aware of ...


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