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Ali Stephon Allen v. C/O Reynaga

March 7, 2013

ALI STEPHON ALLEN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
C/O REYNAGA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

FIRST SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM UNDER SECTION 1983 (Doc. 1) THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE

First Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Ali Stephon Allen, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on June 11, 2012. The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007)), and courts "are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences," Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Although factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are still entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor, Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121-12 (9th Cir. 2012); Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010), but Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible to survive screening, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II. Discussion

A. Allegations

Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at Wasco State Prison, brings this action against Lieutenant J. Aguilar and Correctional Officers Reynaga and D. Smalls arising out of an incident on February 12, 2012, in which Plaintiff was attacked by two other inmates and then pepper sprayed as officers tried to break up the fight.

Plaintiff alleges that instead of feeding inmates cell by cell, Defendants Reynaga and Smalls opened several doors at once and they allowed inmate workers to be present. Plaintiff alleges that due to Defendants' lack of care and negligence, he was attacked by two Hispanic inmates. Defendants then began to pepper spray Plaintiff in the face and once he got down on the ground, the other inmates continued to attack him, with one kicking him in the face. Plaintiff got up and was pepper sprayed again. Plaintiff was eventually handcuffed but he was not decontaminated and his injuries were not documented. Plaintiff alleges that as a result of the head injury he sustained, he has a scar under his right eye, he now stutters, and he has migraine headaches.

B. Eighth Amendment Claims

1. Failure to Protect Claim

Plaintiff does not specifically allege a claim under the Eighth Amendment arising out of the failure to protect him from harm and it does not appear from his allegations that he is trying to pursue such a claim, but in any event, negligent conduct on the part of Defendants Reynaga and Smalls will not support a claim. The Eighth Amendment is only violated when prison officials knowingly disregarded a substantial risk of harm to an inmate's health or safety, e.g., Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 847, 114 S.Ct. 1970 (1994); Thomas v. Ponder, 611 F.3d 1144, 1151-52 (9th Cir. 2010); Foster v. Runnels, 554 F.3d 807, 812-14 (9th Cir. ...


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