United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A COGNIZALBE CLAIM (ECF NO. 1) ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION TO DENIAL OF MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL (ECF NO. 8) AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS
MICHAEL J. SENG, Magistrate Judge.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff Warees Beyah is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 5.) Plaintiff has consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction. (ECF No. 7.)
On September 12, 2013, Plaintiff filed his complaint. (ECF No. 1.) It is now before the Court for screening.
On October 28, 2013, Plaintiff also filed an Objection to Denial of Motion for Appointment of Counsel. (ECF No. 8.) It too will be addressed below.
II. 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 on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
III. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
Plaintiff identifies Warden Martin Biter, Associate Warden David Stebbins, Captain P. Denny, Correctional Counselor B. DaVeiga, Lieutenant Macario Galvan, Sergeant Ron Crother, and correctional officers: Tu Nguyen, Casey Fenton, Gary Legaspi, Randall Sanchez, Sam Bowlay-Williams, Alfredo Verduzco, Jimmy Jimenez, and V. Manzaneras as defendants.
Plaintiff's allegations can be summarized essentially as follows:
On July 27, 2011, Defendants Nguyen, Sanchez, Legaspi, and Crother responded to an incident between Plaintiff and his cellmate. Crother ordered Plaintiff and his cellmate to "cuff up" for escort, and they refused. As a result, Defendants Crother and Nguyen pepper sprayed Plaintiff. Defendant Nguyen then ordered Plaintiff to crawl out of the cell on his hands and knees. Despite Plaintiff's compliance, Defendants Nguyen, Legaspi, Sanchez, and Fenton beat Plaintiff with their batons. Plaintiff believes Defendants Jimenez and Verduzco also hit him with their batons. Defendant Crother bashed Plaintiff's head against the concrete. Plaintiff sustained contusions, lacerations requiring stitches, and a broken rib.
Defendants Jimenez, Verduzco, Bowlay-Williams, and Galvan failed to intervene and falsified documents regarding the incident.
Plaintiff initially refused medical treatment out of fear, but later requested and was denied treatment. Plaintiff did not receive any outside medical treatment until approximately eight hours later.
The following day, Plaintiff was placed in administrative segregation, without prior notice. Defendant Stebbins falsely stated that he interviewed Plaintiff and provided him the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence at his August 11, 2011 Institutional Classification Committee ("ICC") hearing, but that Plaintiff's witnesses refused to testify. Stebbins also refused Plaintiff's request for a continuance. Defendant Manzaneras, Plaintiff's assigned Investigative Employee, failed to interview any of his inmate witnesses or attend the ICC hearing. Plaintiff received a loss of 150 days credit and an 18-month Segregated Housing Unit ("SHU") term as a sentence.
On August 29, 2011, Plaintiff did not receive his television with his other property. He was told by correctional officer Howard that correctional officer Hart had taken it. When he attempted to obtain his property receipt from Howard to attach to his appeal regarding the television, Howard refused him access to retrieve the receipt.
Defendant DaVeiga retaliated against Plaintiff for filing grievances and an Internal Affairs complaint against her by rejecting, denying, and cancelling Plaintiff's appeals, denying him his right to access the courts. Defendant Biter failed to respond to Plaintiff's complaints.
Plaintiff seeks monetary damages, costs, and a declaratory judgment against Defendants for their violation of his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
A. Section 1983
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) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144, n. 3 (1979)).
To state a claim under Section 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution and 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); see also Ketchum v. Cnty. of Alameda, 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 Atl. 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.
B. Unrelated Claims
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a) allows a party to "join, as independent or alternative claims, as many claims as it has against an opposing party." However, Rule 20(a)(2) permits a plaintiff to sue multiple defendants in the same action only if "any right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences, " and there is a "question of law or fact common to all defendants." "Thus multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against ...