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Anderson v. Gonzales

United States District Court, Eastern District of California

December 16, 2014

JOSEPH E. ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
A. GONZALES, et al., Defendants.

SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF NO. 1) THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE

BARBARA A. McAULIFFE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

I. Screening Requirement and Standard

Plaintiff Joseph Anderson ("Plaintiff) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs complaint, filed on March 14, 2014, is currently before the Court for screening.

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiffs 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 plaintiffs 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).

Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted). To survive screening, Plaintiffs 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.

II. Plaintiffs Allegations

Plaintiff is currently housed at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility. The events in the complaint are alleged to have occurred at Pleasant Valley State Prison ("PVSP"). Plaintiff names Sergeant A. Gonzales and Corrections Officer C. Laita as defendants in their individual and official capacities.

Plaintiff alleges: On October 21, 2013, Plaintiff was admitted to the C.T.C. area of PVSP's medical facility with trouble breathing and chest pain. After returning to the building, Officer Martinez told Plaintiff that he had a cell mate. Plaintiff then observed an inmate seated at the table. The inmate introduced himself as a Sacramento Blood. Plaintiff told him, "I don't gang bang and . . . [you] have to find another cell to move to." Officer Martinez told Plaintiff, "I am tired of you turning down these cellies." Plaintiff told him, "Then put a non-affiliated in there." (ECF No. 1, p. 4.) Plaintiff then walked up to his cell door and motioned for Officer Martinez to open the door. Plaintiff said, "I just want to lie down, I am very sick." Officer Martinez said, "Fuck no! I have something special for you." (Id.)

Plaintiff then sat at a table for approximately ten minutes. Plaintiff then made his way to the urinal and, after washing his hands, turned around to find three officers standing there: Defendant Gonzales, Defendant Laita and another officer. Defendant Laita told Plaintiff to turn around. Defendant Laita then handcuffed Plaintiff, escorted him outside, uncuffed him and turned him around. Defendant Gonzales asked, "What[']s the problem?" Plaintiff said, "There is no problem, I just don't cell-up with gang members." Defendant Laita then said, "You are fucking going in there!" (ECF No. 1, p. 5.) Defendant Laita grabbed Plaintiff, turned him around and cuffed him with so much force that Plaintiff felt a snap. Defendant Laita then dragged Plaintiff to his cell, uncuffed him and pushed him inside. Plaintiff alleges that he suffered a fractured wrist and ligament damage from the brutal handcuffing. He did not receive surgery on his wrist until December 19, 2013.

The other inmate in Plaintiffs cell said, "You know this is my cell now." I said, "Look I don't want any trouble. I just want to lie down. I am very sick." The inmate said, "No stay right there by the door." Plaintiff responded, "You want to do what these officers want you to do me?" The inmate said, "What's that?" Plaintiff said, "Beat my ass up in here." Plaintiff then said, "Let me move[] my T.V." (ECF No. 1, p. 5.) At that point, the inmate proceeded to beat Plaintiff. The inmate suffered injuries to his knuckles, but Plaintiff received stitches to his leg and face. Plaintiff asserts that he was written up for fighting, but not for refusing a cell mate or cell move.

Plaintiff further alleges that the sickness he was feeling turned out to be Valley Fever (coccidioidomycosis). He also alleges that he endured years of pain and suffering because PVSP delayed his complaint and he did not receive surgery on his wrist until December 19, 2013.

III. Discussion

A. Eleventh Amendment and ...


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