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Washington v. Fresno County Sheriff

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 8, 2014

PERRY WASHINGTON, et al, Plaintiffs,
FRESNO COUNTY SHERIFF, et al., Defendants.


STANTEY A. BOONE, District Judge.



Plaintiffs Perry Washington and Anthonia Washington ("Plaintiffs") filed this action on January 29, 2014. (ECF No. 1.) On February 3, 2014, the complaint was stricken as being unsigned and Plaintiffs filed a complaint signed by Anthonia Washington on February 11, 2014. (ECF Nos. 4, 6.) On February 18, 2014, the complaint was screened by the undersigned and dismissed with leave to amend. (ECF No. 7.)

On February 25, 2014, Anthonia Washington filed a first amended complaint signed by herself and her mother. (ECF No. 14.) On April 2, 2014, Plaintiffs refiled the first amended complaint that included the signature of Perry Washington and an order issued striking the complaint filed February 25, 2014. (ECF Nos. 22, 23.)



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 on which relief may be granted, " or that "seek[] monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief."[1] 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

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 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Moreover, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of Plaintiff's rights. Jones v. Williams , 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002).

Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor. Wilhelm v. Rotman , 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, 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 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service , 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The "sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully" is not sufficient, and "facts that are merely consistent with' a defendant's liability" falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678; Moss , 572 F.3d at 969.



Plaintiffs bring this action against Fresno County and the Fresno County Sheriff Department alleging violations of the First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments.[2] Plaintiffs allege that due to lawsuits filed against the Fresno County SPCA in 2012, Fresno County responded in an unlawful way and used many other branches of and departments within Fresno County. While in the custody of the Fresno County Sheriff Department at the Fresno County Jail, Perry Washington was illegally beat up and threatened to drop his 2012 lawsuit. (First Am. Compl. 6, ECF No. 11.)

After a trial in the SPCA suit, the Fresno County District Attorney reinstated charges that had been dropped against Perry Washington and arrested him. Anthonia Washington had to pay a $400.00 fine and was threatened with a case the Fresno County District Attorney had previously decided to dismiss. (Id.)

Plaintiffs allege that Perry Washington was late for a hearing and went to jail on January 21, 2014.[3] (Id. at 7.) While in custody, Perry Washington asked to be removed from his cell because he was being threatened by his cellmate. The officer refused to move Perry Washington to another cell or give him a grievance form. (Id.) Perry Washington was attacked by a group of inmates and an unidentified officer refused to come when Perry Washington hit the emergency button. Perry Washington was beaten and his eye was punctured. The unidentified officer threw the grievance form down in Perry Washington's blood and said, "This is what happens to people who ask for grievance forms." (Id.)

The complaint alleges that "many other incidents of torture, sexual abuse, theft, and withholding paperwork and medical care happened to Perry Washington." (Id. at 7.) The Fresno County Sheriff refuses to allow Anthonia Washington or her mother to take Perry Washington the proper paperwork to sue Fresno County regarding his treatment. For that reason, Anthonia Washington and her mother are suing on behalf of Perry Washington. (Id. at 7-8.)



Plaintiffs' complaint generally alleges violations of the First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments without identifying what acts or failures to act were the substance of any specific Constitutional violation. The Court will attempt to address the allegations as ...

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