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Avila v. County of Los Angeles

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 26, 2015

JUAN JOSE AVILA, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

SUZANNE H. SEGAL, Magistrate Judge.

I.

INTRODUCTION

Juan Jose Avila ("Plaintiff"), a California state prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed a First Amended Complaint (the "FAC") alleging violations of his civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Dkt. No. 8). Congress mandates that district courts perform an initial screening of complaints in civil actions where a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). This Court may dismiss such a complaint, or any portion, before service of process if it concludes that the complaint (1) is frivolous or malicious, (2) fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or (3) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1-2); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 & n.7 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). For the reasons stated below, the FAC is DISMISSED with leave to amend.

II.

ALLEGATIONS OF THE FAC

Plaintiff sues the following individuals and entities in their individual and official capacities: (1) the County of Los Angeles ("County"); (2) the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (the "LASD"); (3) the Los Angeles County Sheriff (the "Sheriff"); (4) "O.S.J. Officer Haley" ("Haley"), a sheriff's deputy at Peter J. Pitchess Detention Center ("Pitchess"), where Plaintiff was formerly incarcerated; and (5) twenty unknown deputies assigned to Pitchess (the "Doe Defendants") (collectively "Defendants"). (FAC at 3-4).[1]

Plaintiff complains of his treatment following his detention at Pitchess.[2] Plaintiff claims that Haley assigned him to the general jail population despite Plaintiff's status as a gang "drop-out, " placing him at risk from other inmates. (FAC at 5). Plaintiff further alleges that, following a jail riot in June 2014, Doe Defendants beat Plaintiff, causing severe injuries. (Id.). Plaintiff did not receive medical treatment for several hours and ultimately required transport to a hospital for further treatment. (Id. at 7).

Plaintiff asserts that: (1) Haley's refusal to place Plaintiff in protective custody violated the Eighth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause; (2) the Doe Defendants "brutally" beat Plaintiff, violating the Eighth Amendment; (3) the Doe Defendants threatened violence if Plaintiff complained of jail conditions, violating Plaintiff's First Amendment rights; (4) the Sheriff's failure to supervise deputies created a "culture conducive to... misconduct"; (5) the County failed to provide a safe jail environment, violating the Eighth Amendment; and (6) the LASD failed to provide "clear guidelines" for placing prisoners in protective custody or creating a safe jail environment, violating the Eighth Amendment. (Id. at 5-6). Plaintiff seeks "joint and several" compensatory damages of $3, 000, 000 and punitive damages of $1, 500, 000, declaratory relief, and a jury trial. (Id. at 8).

III.

DISCUSSION

Under 28 U.S.C. section 1915A(b), the court must dismiss Plaintiff's FAC due to multiple pleading defects. However, the court must grant a pro se litigant leave to amend his defective complaint unless "it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment." Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 1212 (9th Cir. 2012) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Accordingly, for the reasons stated below, the FAC is DISMISSED with leave to amend.[3]

A. Plaintiff's Claims Against The Sheriff, Haley And The Doe Defendants In Their Official Capacity Must Be Dismissed

Plaintiff sues all Defendants in their individual and official capacities, for monetary damages and declaratory relief. (FAC at 3-4, 6). The official capacity claims against the Sheriff, Haley and ...


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