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Eddie James Otis Atkins v. Derral G. Adams

February 15, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge


Plaintiff Eddie James Otis Atkins ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed his Complaint on April 30, 2010, asserting claims against the following individuals at Corcoran State Prison: Warden Derral G. Adams, Sergeant A. Musleh, and correctional officers, John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 (collectively, "Defendants"). (Doc. 1).

For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Complaint is DISMISSED WITH LEAVE TO AMEND.

I. Screening Requirement

The Court is required to review a case filed in forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C. §1915A(a); 28 U.S.C. 1915(e). The Court must review the complaint and dismiss the action if it 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (e)(2)(B); see Noll v. Carlson, 809 F. 2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987) (citing Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F. 2d 1221, 1228 (9th Cir. 1984)). The Court may grant the plaintiff leave to amend to the extent that deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by amendment. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127-1128 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).

II. Pleading Standards

Generally, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern pleading standards of complaints. Rule 8 requires that a pleading stating a claim for relief must contain: (1) a "short and plain statement" affirming the court's jurisdiction; (2) a "short and plain statement" showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and (3) a demand for the relief sought. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). The purpose of the statement is to give the defendant a "fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

A complaint is not required to state detailed factual allegations, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, and a complaint filed pro se, no matter how "inartfully" pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). A plaintiff is required to provide factual information that is detailed enough to state the grounds of his entitlement to relief, which require more than "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). To be accepted as true, the facts pleaded in the complaint must state a claim to relief that is "plausible on its face" and permit the Court to draw a "reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id.

III. § 1983 Claims

Plaintiff's Complaint seeks damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides in pertinent part that:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State.subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States.deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.

To successfully state a claim under § 1983, the plaintiff must plead facts alleging that a person, while acting under the color of state law, deprived him of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). The deprivation requires a "causal connection," which occurs when a person acting under the color of state law "...does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative acts, or omits to perform an act which he is legally required to do that causes the deprivation of which complaint is made." Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978); see also Conn v. City of Reno, 591 F.3d 1081, 1098 (9th Cir. 2010). A person acts under the color of state law when he exercises power "possessed by virtue of state law," which is made possible by being "clothed with the authority" of that law. West, 487 U.S. at 49.

IV. Discussion & Analysis

On July 30, 2009, Plaintiff was stabbed by an inmate in exercise yard "4A3R" of Corcoran State Prison ("CSP") at approximately 9:30AM ("the incident"). (Doc. 1 at 3). According to his Complaint, the incident occurred while Plaintiff and other inmates waited near the entrance of CSP for pill call. Id. Plaintiff subsequently received medical treatment for the injuries sustained during the incident. (Doc. 1 at 8). Plaintiff alleges that the occurrence of the ...

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