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Rogers v. Grijalva

March 3, 2010


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


(Doc. 1)


Plaintiff Ronald A. Rogers ("Plaintiff") is a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is currently housed in Coalinga State Hospital in Coalinga, California. Plaintiff is suing under section 1983 for the violation of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff names Chris Grijalva, Jose Perez, John Sanzberro, and Does 1-10 as defendants. For the reasons set forth below the Court finds that Plaintiff's complaint states some cognizable claims against Defendants Grijalva and Perez. Plaintiff will be given the option to either (1) file an amended complaint which cures the deficiencies identified in his other claims, or (2) notify the Court that he wishes to proceed only on the claims found to be cognizable in this order.

I. Screening

Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis in this action. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court shall dismiss any action brought in forma pauperis at any time if the Court determines that the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim, the Court uses the same pleading standard used under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Under Rule 8(a), 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). "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability . . . 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, although a court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Id. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

II. Background

Plaintiff describes multiple incidents where Defendants harassed Plaintiff. On January 29, 2009, Plaintiff claims that he was rudely awakened from a dead sleep by Defendants Perez and Grijalva. Plaintiff alleges that he is a "day sleeper" and has repeatedly asked staff not to awaken Plaintiff during the day unless it is a bona fide emergency. Plaintiff claims that Perez and Grijalva, along with psychiatric technician Julio Zuniga, barged into Plaintiff's dorm at around 1:30 p.m. and woke Plaintiff up for a routine weekly search. Plaintiff claims that he does not receive much sleep because he is plagued by nightmares and that the lack of sleep is "literally killing plaintiff." Plaintiff claims that this incident was the second time Perez intentionally disturbed Plaintiff's sleep.

On January 31, 2009, Plaintiff claims that Grijalva and Perez again woke Plaintiff up by searching the area around Plaintiff's bed while he was asleep. Plaintiff claims Defendants were searching for contraband. Plaintiff later heard Perez on the telephone asking the medical department whether Plaintiff's prescription for his walking cane was current. Perez then told Plaintiff that the prescription was not renewed by a doctor and seized it.

On March 3, 2009, Plaintiff returned to his dorm to find Grijalva in Plaintiff's room. Plaintiff claims that Grijalva was on his hands and knees looking under Plaintiff's bed and tampering with property. Plaintiff alleges that Grijalva was startled when Plaintiff entered and quickly left. Plaintiff does not allege whether any of his property was taken or damaged.

On May 17, 2009, Plaintiff was told by a medical nurse that he was scheduled for an outside medical appointment the next morning. Plaintiff refused the appointment after learning that he would be transported by correctional officers from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. On May 18, 2009, Grijalva woke Plaintiff up and again notified Plaintiff about the appointment. Plaintiff claims that Grijalva knew that Plaintiff cancelled the appointment and intentionally woke Plaintiff up to harass him. Plaintiff expressed his displeasure by cursing at Grijalva. Plaintiff went to the unit supervisor's office (Defendant Sanzberro), but the supervisor was absent. When Plaintiff returned, he passed by Grijalva again and continued to verbally harass him. After Plaintiff returned to bed, Grijalva entered Plaintiff's room with psych tech Darla Ainsworth. Grijalva announced that he was going to search Plaitniff's bed again. Plaintiff attempted to return to sleep but Girjalva told Plaintiff that they would not leave until Plaintiff got up so that they could search under Plaintiff's mattress. Plaintiff got up, grabbed a cup of cold water, and threw it at Grijalva. Plaintiff missed, but as a result, seven staff members tackled Plaintiff. Plaintiff did not resist and Girjalva ordered that Plaintiff be placed in mechanical restraints and placed in seclusion. Plaintiff told Grijalva that he would not resist and requested that his restraints be removed. Grijalva denied Plaintiff's request. Plaintiff was then given a body cavity search. After, Plaintiff was forced to sleep in a cold room and his request for a blanket was denied. Plaintiff claims that he was forced to urinate on the floor because he was held in the seclusion room for more than six hours. Plaintiff was also subjected to a blood draw that he did not consent to. Plaintiff was also involuntarily injected with a sedative.

Plaintiff claims that he previously filed a complaint against Perez for assaulting him. Plaintiff alleges that Girjalva's acts of harassment were made in ...

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