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Williams v. Sanduval

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 9, 2014

RANDY WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
SANDUVAL, et al., Defendants.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEFENDANTS FROM THE ACTION FOR FAILURE TO STATE A COGNIZABLE CLAIM UPON WHICH RELIEF MAY BE GRANTED UNDER SECTION 1983 [ECF Nos. 1, 9, 11, 12]

STANLEY A. BOONE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Randy Williams is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Plaintiff filed the instant action on July 1, 2013. On March 7, 2014, the Court screened Plaintiff's complaint and found Plaintiff stated a cognizable excessive force and retaliation claim against Defendant Sanduval only. The Court granted Plaintiff the option of filing an amended complaint or notifying the Court of his intent to proceed on the claims against Defendant Sanduval only. On April 28, 2014, Plaintiff notified the Court of his intent to proceed on the excessive force and retaliation claims against Defendant Sanduval only. Accordingly, all other claims and defendants should be dismissed from the action for failure to state a cognizable claim.

I.

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 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).

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)). Plaintiff must demonstrate that each named defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 676-677; Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz. , 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-1021 (9th Cir. 2010).

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, but the pleading standard is now higher, Wilhelm v. Rotman , 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted), and 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 Serv. , 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.

II.

COMPLAINT ALLEGATIONS

On July 4, 2012, Defendants Aguyo and Sedledsky were the floor officers assigned to the building in which Plaintiff was housed, and Defendant Sanduval was assigned to the building control tower. On July 4, 2012, the facility was on lockdown status due to a riot. In such circumstances, no prison cell door may be opened unless two escort officers are present and the inmate is first handcuffed behind his back through the food tray port of the door.

On several occasions prior to July 4, 2012, Defendant Sanduval and Plaintiff had engaged in heated verbal confrontations. On this date, Defendants Aguyo and Sedledsky passed out supplies issuing it to all inmates through their prison cell door food slot, except for Plaintiff. Unlike all the other inmates, Plaintiff's supplies were placed on the floor of the tier in front of his prison cell. When Plaintiff realized that he had been singled out, he began to yell for his weekly supplies to be issued to him through the prison cell tray slot, but he did not receive a response.

Eventually, Defendant Sanduval told Plaintiff to "shut up, " but Plaintiff continued asking for his weekly supplies. Profanities then spewed from Defendant Sanduval and the Defendant expressed his ongoing hostility toward the Plaintiff regarding the prior verbal confrontations between the Defendant and Plaintiff.

Sometime thereafter Defendant Sanduval activated Plaintiff's prison cell door to open, without any security escort officers present and without Plaintiff first being handcuffed behind his back during this emergency prison lockdown status. Defendant Sanduval opened the prison cell door just wide enough to enable Plaintiff to kneel down and extend his head and one arm outside the door, and instructed Plaintiff to reach out and grab his weekly supplies off the floor of the tier.

Plaintiff, acting in good faith, complied with the Defendant's instructions by kneeling down and sticking his head and one arm outside the prison cell door in an attempt to reach and grab his weekly supplies off the floor of the tier, when suddenly without any warning the prison cell door was electronically activated by Defendant Sanduval, closing on Plaintiff's head and neck area, painfully smashing Plaintiff's temple, ear and neck areas as the powerful ...


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