United States District Court, E.D. California
CHARLES W. WINDHAM, Plaintiff,
M. MARIN, et al., Defendants.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DISMISSAL OF CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEFENDANTS (ECF Nos. 1, 12) FOURTEEN-DAY DEADLINE
BARBARA A. McAULIFFE, Magistrate Judge.
Findings and Recommendations Following Screening
Plaintiff Charles W. Windham ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff initiated this action on October 6, 2014. The matter was transferred to this Court on October 20, 2014.
On March 6, 2015, the Magistrate Judge screened Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and found that it stated cognizable Eighth Amendment claims for excessive force against Defendants Uribe, Marin, Raley, Contreras, Capano, Rubio and Doe #1 and for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs against Defendants Navarro, Morales, Marin and Shiver, but failed to state a cognizable claim against any other defendant. The Magistrate Judge therefore provided Plaintiff with an opportunity to file an amended complaint or notify the Court whether he was agreeable to proceed only on the cognizable claims. (ECF No. 12.)
On March 25, 2015, Plaintiff notified the Court of his intention to proceed only on the cognizable claims. (ECF No. 14.) Accordingly, the Court issues the following Findings and Recommendations.
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). Plaintiff's 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 plaintiff's 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, Plaintiff's 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. Plaintiff's Allegations
Plaintiff is currently housed at California State Prison, Corcoran, where the events in the complaint are alleged to have occurred. Plaintiff names the following defendants: (1) Dave Davies, Warden; (2) Jeff Beard, CDCR Secretary; (3) Sergeant Marin; (4) Sergeant Raley; (5) Dan Uribe, (6) J. Contreras; (7) A. Capano; (8) R. Rubio; (9) Navarro; (10) Does 1-25; (11) Ms. Shiver; (12) RN Morales; (13) RN Brett; and (14) Dr. Doe #26.
Plaintiff alleges: On September 11, 2014, Plaintiff left his cell and proceeding to his afternoon education assignment via the B-Section staircase. Near the bottom of the staircase, Plaintiff was summoned to the 3B02 podium by Defendant Marin. Plaintiff proceeded to the podium where Defendants Marin, Raley, Contreras and Uribe were standing together looking at Plaintiff. Upon arrival, Defendant Uribe screamed at Plaintiff, stating "Nobody called you, asshole! Get the fuck outta here!" (ECF No. 1, p. 4.) Defendants then laughed. Plaintiff turned away from the Defendants and began walking toward the side exit. After several strides, Plaintiff was hit hard and tackled to the floor by an unknown person. Fearing for his life, Plaintiff went into survival-mode and began struggling with his unknown attackers. It was determined subsequently that the attackers were Defendants Uribe, Marin, Raley and Contreras. Defendant Uribe was the primary attacker and rammed his right shoulder into Plaintiff's back. This caused Plaintiff to fall face-first onto the concrete floor. Defendant Uribe then pinned Plaintiff's arms to his sides as they both fell forward to the ground. Defendant Uribe held Plaintiff down while Defendants Marin, Raley and Contreras kicked and struck Plaintiff, who was not resisting, with their clenched fists and boots. Plaintiff sustained multiple serious injuries. Defendant Uribe also struck Plaintiff in the head three times with his fist and slammed Plaintiff's head into the concrete floor several times. While beating Plaintiff, Defendant Marin stated, "This Corcoran, motherfucker! You file shit on us and this is what you're going to get, you fuckin" troublemaking asshole! The Warden doesn't give a fuck what we do, you dumb shit. Nobody does. This is Corcoran - we do things different here, motherfucker. You're gonna learn that or die!"
Responding alarm staff, Defendants Capano, Rubio and Does 1-25 arrived on the scene. The defendants took turns kicking and stomping Plaintiff, who was prone, restrained and compliant. Two of the responding defendants grabbed Plaintiff's legs, lifted them in the air and twisted each one in an unnatural manner, which caused great pain and physical injuries to Plaintiff (e.g., sprain/breaks, contusions/bruises, discoloration/hemorrhaging). Defendants Capano and Rubio took positions directly adjacent to Plaintiff's ears, head and shoulders, with Defendant Capano on the right and Defendant Rubio on the left. Defendants Capano and Rubio simultaneously kicked Plaintiff in the head, ears and shoulders as hard as they could.
Defendant Marin then began yelling, "That piece-of-shit there, Windham, attacked and assaulted a peace officer. He attacked us. We're charging him with that and a D.A. Referral." (ECF No. 1, p. 9.) All of the defendants began parroting what Defendant Marin had said. Defendant Marin then told Defendant Capano, "Get that piece-of-shit outta here!" (Id.)
Defendant Capano screamed at Plaintiff to get up. As Plaintiff attempted to rise to his feet, Defendant Capano grabbed Plaintiff's left arm and lifted it high. When Plaintiff was almost upright, she let go, causing Plaintiff to crash back down to the concrete floor and strike his head. Defendants Capano and Rubio pulled Plaintiff up by his armpits and, along with Doe #1, began shoving Plaintiff out of the rotunda. Defendants Marin and Raley followed. Once outside, Defendant Marin ordered the guards to put Plaintiff on the wall. At that point, they slammed Plaintiff, who was barefoot, onto the hot concrete wall. The concrete burned Plaintiff's face and the asphalt burned his feet. Defendant Marin began a tirade at Plaintiff. Defendants Marin and Raley begin striking Plaintiff with clenched fists, while Defendant Marin was screaming at Plaintiff. Defendant Marin then ordered the guards to take Plaintiff on the scenic route to program.
Defendants Capano, Rubio and Doe #1 paraded Plaintiff, who was barefoot, up and down the gravel rocks, causing Plaintiff pain, lacerations, contusions and burns to his feet. The temperature was in excess of 100°. These defendants slammed Plaintiff's head against the Program Office wall while threatening and taunting him. Plaintiff had been telling these defendants that he could not breathe, felt sick to his stomach, and his feet were cut and burning. They ignored him and shoved him into a cage while handcuffed. Plaintiff vomited blood multiple times and had difficulty breathing. He collapsed.
Plaintiff was handcuffed for 13 ½ hours in a small, unventilated, non-air-conditioned room. His hands were severely swollen, black-and-blue, numb and damaged. Plaintiff kept asking Defendant Navarro to loosen the cuffs or remove them, but Defendant Navarro refused. Plaintiff asked to speak to the Sergeant, ...