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James R. Patterson v. Kern County Sheriff's Office

April 26, 2012

JAMES R. PATTERSON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
KERN COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Seng United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF NO. 14) AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS THIRD SCREENING ORDER

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff James R. Patterson, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action on January 25, 2012 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging excessive force and medical indifference. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) The Court dismissed the Complaint for failure to state a claim, but allowed Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint. (Order Dismiss. Compl., ECF No. 10.) Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint (First. Am. Compl., ECF No. 11) which also was dismissed for failure to state a claim, with leave to amend solely as to the excessive force claim. (Order Dismiss. First Am. Compl., ECF No. 12.) Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint (Second Am. Compl., ECF No. 14) which is now before the Court for screening. Plaintiff also has filed a document entitled Motion for Relief for Compensation for Punitive Damages for Medical and Mental Pain and Suffering (Mot. for Relief, ECF No. 13) containing facts which, if included in an amended complaint, could be relevant to his claims.*fn1

II. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

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, malicious," or 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).

Section 1983 "provides a cause of action for the 'deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United States." Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393--94 (1989).

III. SUMMARY OF SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint contains lengthy legal citations but few facts. It shows Plaintiff was incarcerated in the Ledro Pretrial Detention Center in Bakersfield, California ("Ledro") on September 5, 2011, under suicide protection in the "infirmary suicide tank". (Second Am. Compl. at 3.) He had been placed in mechanical (chains) restraints by Ledro corrections employees, Defendants Miller and Grimm. (Id.) Defendant Miller awakened him with a knee to his legs and a boot to his face. (Id.) Plaintiff offered no resistance. (Id.) Defendant McMasters sprayed him continuously with foam pepper spray from head to toe. (Id.) He was left in the suicide tank, in chains, suffering a burning sensation from the spray. (Id.)

He names as Defendants the following Kern County Sheriff's Department employees (1) McMasters, Corrections Sergeant, (2) Miller, Detention Officer, (3) Grimm, Detention Officer.*fn2

He seeks monetary relief.

IV. ANALYSIS

A. Pleading Requirements Generally

To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda Cnty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).

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, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). A plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Id. Facial plausibility demands more than ...


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