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Coston-Moore v. Sandoval

November 9, 2010


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


Order Following Screening

I. Background

Plaintiff Amber Coston-Moore ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On December 17, 2009, Plaintiff filed her complaint. (Doc. 1.) On October 9, 2010, the Court screened Plaintiff's complaint and found that it stated cognizable claims against Defendant Sandoval for retaliation in violation of the First Amendment and deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 6.) The Court found that Plaintiff failed to state any other claims. Plaintiff was ordered to either file an amended complaint or notify the Court of her willingness to proceed only against Defendant Sandoval. On November 4, 2010, Plaintiff notified the Court that she wished to proceed only against Defendant Sandoval. (Doc. 7.) The Court issues the following order.

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 currently incarcerated at Central California Women's Facility ("CCWF") in Chowchilla, California, where the events giving rise to this action occurred. Plaintiff names as Defendants lieutenant A. Sandoval, sergeant W. Wells, and correctional officer Ruiz.

Plaintiff alleges the following. In June and July of 2009, Plaintiff was harassed by Defendant Sandoval. Plaintiff had filed a grievance against Defendant Sandoval for making racial remarks. Defendant Sandoval confronted Plaintiff as she was filing her grievance. The next day, Defendant Sandoval confronted Plaintiff regarding a prior complaint that she had filed against sergeant Hall for a broken finger incident involving Hall. Defendant Sandoval told Plaintiff to get along with staff. On the Fourth of July, Plaintiff was returning from dinner when she was attacked by two inmates. Plaintiff was summoned for a 115 hearing regarding this incident. Plaintiff declined to have Defendant Sandoval act as the hearing officer.

On August 5, 2009, at around 9 PM, Plaintiff received a message that her pregnant friend wanted to see her. As she walked towards the medical line, two other inmates ran towards her and began fighting with her. The two inmates then exited towards different building. Plaintiff suffered a black eye during this. Plaintiff was then handcuffed and escorted by housing staff to the program office. Defendant Sandoval arrived, and Plaintiff was escorted to his office. Plaintiff was asked to sign a non-enemy chrono. Another inmate then poked her head into the office to ask Defendant Sandoval what had happened, and Defendant Sandoval replied that Plaintiff had gotten into an altercation with two other inmates from building 3 and building 4. Plaintiff had not informed Defendant Sandoval of how many there were or where they were housed, but Defendant Sandoval knew beforehand. Plaintiff was then escorted back to the holding cage and no longer wished to sign a non-enemy chrono becaus she did not feel safe in general population and wanted to remain in administrative segregation.

On August 6, 2009, Defendant Wells approached Plaintiff to tell her to return to general population. Defendant Wells also stated that if he were Hall, he would have snapped her neck. On November 2, 2009, Defendant Wells again approached Plaintiff's door, and told Plaintiff that no one would mess with her if she dropped the grievance against Defendant Sandoval. Plaintiff refused, and was again threatened by Defendant Wells.

Defendant Ruiz hit Plaintiff on the stomach with a roll of tissue and opened Plaintiff's food port as she bathed so everyone could see her. Defendant Ruiz also attempted to hit Plaintiff with the food tray.

Plaintiff seeks protection from the Defendants, which is construed as a request ...

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