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Ramos v. Fresno Police Department

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 24, 2014

ERIC RAMOS, Plaintiff,
v.
FRESNO POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendant.

ORDER SCREENING COMPLAINT AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

BARBARA A. McAULIFFE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Eric Ramos ("Plaintiff") proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis filed this action on May 22, 2014 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division (Doc. 1). The case was transferred to this Court on June 10, 2014. (Doc. 4). Plaintiff names the Fresno Police Department as the only defendant. Plaintiff's complaint alleges that the "Fresno Police Department" used excessive force in executing his arrest. Complaint at 4, (Doc. 1). Plaintiff filed a "Consent to Magistrate Judge" jurisdiction on June 18, 2014 and his complaint is currently before the Court for screening. (Doc. 9).

Screening Requirement

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by persons proceeding in pro per. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff's Complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 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, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, 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).

While persons proceeding in pro se are still entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor, the pleading standard is now higher, Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (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, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. United States 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, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Wasco State Prison in Kern County, California. Plaintiff was arrested on May 11, 2011. Plaintiff alleges that during his arrest he suffered severe injuries after being hit and tased by unidentified Fresno police officers. Plaintiff's entire complaint alleges as follows.

On May 10, 2011 I was being pulled over by Fresno P.D. and I didn't actually pull over right then & there I was heading to a family members to stop. While [illegible] houses down from their, I was hit from behind by Fresno Police Officers causing me to spin and crash into a fence. After that, I was beaten by Fresno Police Officers-tazed in the face across my nose, fracture jaw, top lip slip in complete half down the middle. My right eyebrow was also splip real nice, top teeth chipped, right eye is now...Also loosing it's vision from the use of excessive force. I was place unresponsive at the scene and rushed to Community Regional Center Trauma Unit. Where I was set to came to be in a coma. My constitutional rights was very well violated by Fresno Police. Also loss of bottom tooth, do to the fractured jaw. I now suffer depression in fear of Fresno P.D. and take medication. [entire sic].

Plaintiff seeks reimbursement for his medical expenses and monetary and injunctive relief. Complaint at 3.

DISCUSSION

A. The Fresno Police Department Is Not a Proper Party Under Section 1983

To the extent Plaintiff seeks to state a claim for a violation of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, he is informed that the Fresno Police Department is not a proper defendant. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a cause of action may be maintained "against any person acting under color of law who deprives another of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured the Constitution and laws' of the United States." S. Cal. Gas Co. v. City of Santa Ana, 336 F.3d 885, 887 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983) (emphasis added). The rights guaranteed by section 1983 are to be "liberally and beneficently construed." Dennis v. Higgins, 498 U.S. 439, 443 (1991).

To state a claim under section 1983, Plaintiff must show (1) that he has been deprived of a right secured by the United States Constitution or a federal law, and (2) that the deprivation was effected "under color of state ...


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