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Jordan v. Espinoza

United States District Court, N.D. California

November 6, 2014

GABRIEL L. JORDAN, Plaintiff,
v.
SAN FRANCISCO POLICE OFFICER ESPINOZA (#530), et al., Defendants.

ORDER OF SERVICE

YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff has filed a pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, which will be granted in a separate Order. Thereafter, he filed an amended complaint complaining that he was subjected to improper force during the course of his arrest on May 24, 2012. Dkt. 9.

Venue is proper because the events giving rise to the claim are alleged to have occurred in San Francisco County, which is located in this judicial district. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).

In his amended complaint, Plaintiff names the following Defendants: San Francisco Police Officers Jonas (#79), Espinoza (#530), Ryan (#734), Mason (#1703), Maguire (#1158), Shablinskiy (#2262), Cabuntala (#1528), Junio (#1329), Hinds (#1132), Cunnie (#2324), Hui, and Liberta; as well as six unnamed California Highway Patrol Officers.[1] Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.

DISCUSSION

I. Standard of Review

A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).

To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 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. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

II. Legal Claims

A. Excessive Force

A claim that a law enforcement officer used excessive force in the course of an arrest or other seizure is analyzed under the Fourth Amendment reasonableness standard. See Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 394-95 (1989); Forrester v. City of San Diego, 25 F.3d 804, 806 (9th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 1152 (1995). "Determining whether the force used to effect a particular seizure is reasonable' under the Fourth Amendment requires a careful balancing of the nature and quality of the intrusion on the individual's Fourth Amendment interests' against the countervailing governmental interests at stake." See Graham, 490 U.S. at 396 (citations omitted).

Plaintiff alleges that he was subjected to excessive force during the course of his May 24, 2012 arrest by the aforementioned Defendants from the San Francisco Police Department ("SFPD") and California Highway Patrol ("CHP"). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he was pulled over around 11:00 pm on May 24, 2012, and was told to "lay face down in a surrendering position with [his] arms and legs spread apart." Dkt. 9 at 3. Plaintiff claims that he complied and that "about 6 CHP Officers surrounded [his] right side and the 12 SFPD Officers surrounded [his] left side." Id. Plaintiff claims that as he "layed [sic] there motionless, " one of the officers shouted, "Stop resisting!" Id. One of the CHP officers hit Plaintiff in the back of his head with a shotgun, the other SFPD officers held him down by standing on his hands and arms, and two other officers held him by his legs while "other officers kicked, punched, and slammed [his] head into the ground." Id. Plaintiff claims that he "went in and out of consciousness twice" and suffered a "seizure for the first time in [his] life." Id. He adds that the beating did not stop "until [his] heart and breathing stopped from the abuse." Id. Paramedics had to revive Plaintiff afterwards, and they took him to the hospital. Id. Plaintiff claims that Defendants' actions caused him to sustain injuries, including "numerous seizures, migraines, [and] back, right hip, right knee [and] right ankle pains." Id. Plaintiff also claims that he has a permanent limp and that he has to walk with a cane. Id.

Liberally construed, Plaintiff's amended complaint states a cognizable claim against the aforementioned named SFPD ...


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