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Woodfork v. Fakhoury

January 6, 2010

JEFFREY ANTHONY WOODFORK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AREF FAKHOURY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alicia G. Rosenberg United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT

I. BACKGROUND

On October 6, 2009, Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at California Institution for Men, filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In accordance with the mandate of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, the Court has screened the complaint to determine whether the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1); see also 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A, 1915(e)(2)(B).

The Court's screening is governed by the following standards. A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim for two reasons: (1) lack of a cognizable legal theory; or (2) insufficient facts under a cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Department, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). Since Plaintiff is appearing pro se, the Court must construe the allegations of the pleading liberally and must afford Plaintiff the benefit of any doubt. See KarimPanahi v. Los Angeles Police Department, 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir. 1988). Moreover, in determining whether a complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted, allegations of material fact are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Love v. United States, 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 1989).

After review of the complaint under these standards, the Court finds that it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. However, before dismissing a pro se civil rights complaint for failure to state a claim, the plaintiff should be given a statement of the complaint's deficiencies and an opportunity to cure them unless it is absolutely clear the deficiencies cannot be cured by amendment. Karim-Panahi, 839 F.2d at 623-24; see also Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995).

II. ALLEGATIONS IN COMPLAINT

Plaintiff's names the following defendants in their individual and official capacities: (1) K. Brown, Correctional Sergeant; (2) M. Espinoza, Correctional Officer; (3) Fuentes, Correctional Officer; (4) Iwu, Correctional Officer; (5) Castro, Correctional Officer; (6) J. Shut, Correctional Officer; and (7) Quatman, Correctional Officer.*fn1 (Complaint at 3 to 4-2.)

On April 14, 2009, Defendant Espinoza ordered Plaintiff to expose his genitals to female officers and to 150-200 other inmates in the yard. (Complaint at 5.) Defendant Brown told Espinoza to order Plaintiff to "come up on the front porch bend over spread the cheeks of my buttocks and cough 3 times to public view." (Id.) Defendants Fuentes, Castro, Iwu, Quatman, and Shut did not report Brown's and Espinoza's conduct. (Id.)

Plaintiff seeks damages.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Individual Capacity

A complaint must set forth facts establishing a basis for each defendant's liability. "Liability under § 1983 must be based on the personal involvement of the defendant." Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998). "An officer's liability under section 1983 is predicated on his 'integral participation' in the alleged violation." Blankenhorn v. City of Orange, 485 F.3d 463, 481 n.12 (9th Cir. 2007). "Integral participation does not require that each officer's actions themselves rise to the level of a constitutional violation." Id. (citation and quotation marks omitted). A person may also be liable if the actor "set[s] in motion a series of acts by others which the actor knows or reasonably should know would cause others to inflict the constitutional injury." Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743-44 (9th Cir. 1978).

There are no facts supporting individual liability for Fuentes, Castro, Iwu, Quatman, and Shut.*fn2 Plaintiff has not alleged that any of these defendants was personally involved in any alleged constitutional violation. Their failure to report their colleagues' alleged misconduct does not state a claim. See Collins v. City of Harker Heights, 503 U.S. 115, 123, 112 S.Ct. 1061, 117 L.Ed. 2d 261 (1992) ("vicarious liability will not attach under § 1983.").

If Plaintiff chooses to amend his complaint, he must allege additional facts to implicate these defendants in their individual capacity, or he may not ...


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