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Marlin Lattereal Royal v. S. Knight

September 6, 2011


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


I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Marlin Lattereal Royal ("Plaintiff"), a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, filed this action on August 12, 2009. Currently pending before the Court is the First Amended Complaint, filed August 19, 2010. (ECF No. 15.)

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 "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted," or that "seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

In determining whether a complaint states a claim, the Court looks to the pleading standard 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. 554, 555 (2007)).

Under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949-50; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). "[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.'" Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (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. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. "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. Complaint Allegations

Plaintiff is currently in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and is incarcerated at California State Prison, Lancaster. The incidents alleged in the complaint occurred while Plaintiff was housed at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility, Corcoran. Plaintiff brings this action against Defendants S. Knight, K. Turner, Gardner, and Adams in their individual and official capacities seeking declaratory relief and nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages. (First Amended Compl. 3, ECF No. 15.*fn1

On January 28, 2009, Defendant Knight was verbally abusive to Plaintiff and after a verbal altercation, grabbed Plaintiff by his right shoulder and pushed him into his cell. Instantly, Plaintiff felt pain to his shoulder, neck, head, and back. (Id.) Defendant Gardner watched while Defendant Knight slammed Plaintiff into the cell frame twice, and Defendant Gardner did not press his alarm, call for back-up, or attempt to stop Defendant Knight. (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff was seen by medical and prescribed Naproxen for his shoulder which now pops in and out of place. (Id. at 3.)

On March 25, 2009, Defendant Knight told Plaintiff that he would be placed in administrative segregation if he did not withdraw his complaints. On April 1, 2009, Defendant Knight filed a false rule violation report. While Plaintiff was in a stand up cage in a side room, Defendant Knight told Plaintiff that he had Plaintiff's special purchase television set, Plaintiff would never see it, then punched Plaintiff in the eye. (Id. at 4-5.) Plaintiff was left in the cage for five to six and one half hours and was denied food and a bathroom by Defendants Knight and Turner. (Id. at 5.)

Defendant Turner had told Plaintiff, "Correctional Officer's stick together over inmates. And if I do not want any problems in the future to drop my complaint." (Id. at 6.) In February and March 2009, Plaintiff filed a staff complaint, and in March 2009, he sent a letter to Defendant Clark informing him that Defendant Turner offered to order the officer to issue Plaintiff's television set and keep Defendant Knight away from Plaintiff. (Id. at 6, 8.) Plaintiff's mother contacted Defendant Clark by telephone and was assured that threats and future assaults would stop. (Id. at 8.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Turner and Knight conspired to convict him of a false rule violation in violation of his due process rights to deprive him of program, visits, phone calls, and religious materials. (Id. at 6.)

Plaintiff's first amended complaint states claims against Defendant Knight for excessive force and retaliation; Defendants Gardner and Adams for failure to protect; and Defendants Knight and Turner for conditions of confinement in violation of the Eighth Amendment, however, for the reasons set forth below Plaintiff allegations fail to state any additional claims under section 1983.

III. Discussion

A. Eight ...

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