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Shepard v. Tilton

October 9, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge


Screening Order

I. Background

Plaintiff Lamont Shepard ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff initiated this action by filing his complaint on January 6, 2010.

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 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

II. Summary Of Complaint

Plaintiff is incarcerated at Corcoran State Prison ("CSP"), where the events giving rise to this action occurred. Plaintiff names as Defendants former director of CDCR James Tilton, former warden Derral Adams, correctional sergeant L. A. Martinez, and correctional officers R. Perez, P. Garcia, J. Soto, E. De la Cruz, J. Campos, R. Castro, L. Nelson, and T. Cano. Plaintiff also names Defendant Trevino in the body of his complaint.

Plaintiff alleges the following. On August 4, 2009, Plaintiff was conversing with another inmate through a fence that separated west yard from east yard. Defendant Perez informed Plaintiff that he was not allowed to do so. Plaintiff asked whether this rule was for only black inmates. Defendant Trevino then made a statement to Plaintiff and pepper-sprayed him with OC pepper spray. Plaintiff dropped to the ground. A defendant then jumped onto Plaintiff's back. Plaintiff was then escorted to the program office, rather than decontamination. Plaintiff noticed that Defendants Martinez and Soto were escorting him. Once at the program office, Defendant Martinez instructed Defendant De La Cruz to clear out the office, and the secure the door. Officer Miranda was told to go outside and close the door, and not permit anyone to come in. Defendants Soto, De La Cruz, Perez, Trevino, Garcia, and Campos entered before the door was closed. Plaintiff was handcuffed behind his back at this point. Defendants then proceeded to beat Plaintiff in the head, while Defendant Garcia was the lookout. Defendants used racial slurs as they beat Plaintiff. Plaintiff was knocked unconscious twice during the assault. Upon awakening a third time, Plaintiff overheard Captain Seifert and Lieutenant Gamboa yell at the Defendants.

Captain Seifert informed Plaintiff that Investigative Services Unit had been contacted. Plaintiff was taken to ACH (Acute Care Hospital) in CSP. The examining doctor found that Plaintiff should be sent to an outside hospital for medical care. On the ride to the hospital, Defendant Castro rode in the cab and informed Plaintiff that they should beat Plaintiff or kill him.

Plaintiff filed several inmate grievances regarding this matter. Some were directed to the warden, others to the secretary, and others to the Office of Internal Affairs. None were processed.

Plaintiff alleges violation of the Eighth Amendment, the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and state law claims of assault and battery. Plaintiff requests as relief the firing of the Defendant officers involved, a vacating of a false report regarding the incident on Plaintiff, and compensatory and punitive damages.

III. Analysis

A. Eighth ...

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