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Soriano v. Gipson

United States District Court, E.D. California

October 15, 2014

LEON M. SORIANO, Plaintiff,
CONNIE GIPSON, et al., Defendants.


DENNIS L. BECK, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Leon M. Soriano ("Plaintiff"), a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this action on October 10, 2013. Plaintiff names Warden Connie Gipson, Capt. Campbell, Lt. Brodie, Sgt. Vogel, Sgt. Tecumseh, and Sgt. Sanchez as Defendants.[1]


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 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 , 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Id . (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

Section 1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of Plaintiff's constitutional or other federal rights by persons acting under color of state law. Nurre v. Whitehead , 580 F.3d 1087, 1092 (9th Cir 2009); Long v. County of Los Angeles , 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006); Jones v. Williams , 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). Plaintiff's allegations must link the actions or omissions of each named defendant to a violation of his rights; there is no respondeat superior liability under section 1983. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-77; Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz. , 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-21 (9th Cir. 2010); Ewing v. City of Stockton , 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th Cir. 2009); Jones , 297 F.3d at 934. Plaintiff must present factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service , 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss , 572 F.3d at 969.


Plaintiff is currently housed at Corcoran State Prison ("CSP") in Corcoran, California, where the events at issue occurred.

Plaintiff alleges as follows. On March 18, 2013, at approximately 9:45 a.m., a massive yard search of B-yard buildings was being conducted. During the search, three correctional officers approached Cell 51, which is where Plaintiff was housed at the time. The correctional officers were there to escort Plaintiff to a holding facility where Plaintiff, along with other prisoners, would be walked through metal detectors. Plaintiff noticed that the correctional officers were carrying "flex cuff" restraints. Plaintiff informed the correctional officers, the yard sergeant, and the yard captain that flex cuffs placed on bare skin of ankles would cause injury to Plaintiff. Plaintiff requested he be allowed to wear thermal bottoms instead of boxers in order to protect his ankles. Sergeants Vogel and Tecumseh denied his requests and told him he needed to go out in his boxers, t-shirt, and shower shoes. Plaintiff asked for Lt. Brodie but Sgt. Tecumseh advised him he was busy. Plaintiff then spotted Lt. Brodie and called out to him, but Lt. Brodie walked out of the building. Plaintiff was then flex cuffed and placed in metallic leg restraints.

Plaintiff was then escorted to the yard holding cages. He was informed that all prisoners had to be escorted through highly sensitive metal detectors. Plaintiff was then escorted the length of 2 1/2 football fields to the Central Control 4B Visiting Area. Plaintiff states he was escorted by Sgt. Sanchez. During the escort, Plaintiff states he informed Sgt. Sanchez that he was having great discomfort and his ankles were being cut and bleeding due to the flex cuffs. Sgt. Sanchez dismissed his complaints and told him, "You're a tough guy." Plaintiff states he had to stop walking on several occasions. At the Central Control 4B Visiting Area, he was then wanted with a hand held metal detector.

When Plaintiff was returned to the yard cages, the flex cuffs were removed. Plaintiff claims his ankles had been deeply cut. Plaintiff advised Sgt. Tecumseh who looked at his ankles and directed other officers to escort Plaintiff to the medical station. Sgt. Tecumseh then had other officers place metal leg irons over the wounds, despite Plaintiff's request to have something placed on the wounds to protect them. Plaintiff was then escorted to the medical station. He was seen by R.N. Ratcliff who assessed the injury as "small abrasions to ankles." Ratcliff cleansed the wound, applied antimicrobial ointment, but did not apply any bandages.

Plaintiff seeks monetary damages in the amount of $50, 000.00 and injunctive relief directing CDCR to no longer use plastic flex cuffs or restraints on bare skin.


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