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Foster v. Akin

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 29, 2014

MICHAEL L. FOSTER, Plaintiff,
v.
T. AKIN, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF NO. 1)

MICHAEL J. SENG, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

His complaint is now before the Court for screening.

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, 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).

II. PLEADING STANDARD

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).

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, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id . Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 677-78.

III. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff complains of acts that occurred during his incarceration at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility ("CSATF") in Corcoran, California. He names the following individuals as Defendants in their individual and official capacities: (1) John Doe No. 1, Director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"); (2) John Doe No. 2, CSATF Warden; (3) D. Goss, CSATF Correctional Lieutenant; (4) John Doe No. 3, CSATF Correctional Lieutenant; (5) John Doe Nos. 4 and 5, CSATF Associate Wardens; (6) R. Tolson, CSATF Correctional Captain and Associate Warden; (7) T. Akin, CSATF Correctional Lieutenant; and (8) J. Garza, CSATF Correctional Officer.

Plaintiff's allegations can be summarized essentially as follows:

On Sunday, March 3, 2013, Plaintiff was playing cards at a table in the recreation area of the Sensitive Needs Yard ("SNY") when an inmate named Lopez came up behind him, hit him in the jaw, and knocked him unconscious. Lopez also repeatedly kicked Plaintiff while Plaintiff was on the ground. As a result, Plaintiff suffered a broken mandible and had two steel plates implanted in his mouth.

Prior to this incident, Defendants Goss, Tolson, Akin and Does Nos. 3, 4 and 5 validated inmates Lopez, Montez, Crane, and Cervantes as members or associates of a SNY disruptive group called "2-5." These inmates were deemed to be a threat to the safety and security of the institution, but were not immediately removed from the SNY general population, in violation of Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations. ...


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