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Cranford v. O'Brian

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 16, 2015

KATHLEEN O'BRIAN, et al., Defendants.


GARY S. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.


Archie Cranford ("Plaintiff") is a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on February 20, 2014. (Doc. 1.) On February 27, 2014, Plaintiff consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction in this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), and no other parties have made an appearance. (Doc. 5.) Therefore, pursuant to Appendix A(k)(4) of the Local Rules of the Eastern District of California, the undersigned shall conduct any and all proceedings in the case until such time as reassignment to a District Judge is required. Local Rule Appendix A(k)(3).

On February 28, 2014, Plaintiff filed the First Amended Complaint. (Doc. 7.) The court screened the First Amended Complaint and issued an order on June 25, 2014, requiring Plaintiff to either file a Second Amended Complaint or notify the court that he is willing to proceed on the excessive force claim found cognizable by the court in the First Amended Complaint. (Doc. 16.) On July 3, 2014, Plaintiff filed the Second Amended Complaint, which is now before the court for screening. (Doc. 17.)


The in forma pauperis statute provides that "the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that... the action or appeal... fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). "Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions, " none of which applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). 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). "Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. 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 (2007)), and 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). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. However, "the liberal pleading standard... applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations." Neitze v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). "[A] liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled." Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)).


Plaintiff is presently housed at Coalinga State Hospital in Coalinga, California, in the custody of the California Department of Mental Health, where the events at issue in the Second Amended Complaint allegedly occurred. Plaintiff names as defendants Kathleen O'Brian and Earek James ("Defendants").

Plaintiff's allegations are largely vague, rambling, and conclusory. Plaintiff alleges that defendant O'Brian insulted him and gave his meal to another patient, and that defendant James subjected him to excessive force. Although the allegations are not clearly set forth, Plaintiff appears to allege that defendant O'Brian's conduct caused Plaintiff to fear a possible altercation with another inmate in which Plaintiff would be injured. Plaintiff also appears to allege that defendant James used force against him when placing him in isolation, causing harm to his upper body. Plaintiff alleges, in part ( sic ):

"[P]laintiff claims that Defendant kathleen o, brin insulted plaintiff and gave his meal too an nuther patient and patient claims that Defendant Mr. james Erick subjected him [PLAINTIFF] to exessive force. The court claim that the above stated actions none of which applies to section 1983 action[note] with limited exceptions such as this exception if a defeandeant uses multible insults to invoke feer [Teareast Freer] of which can amount to words that can and did lead to exstreem feer and the same meathead was applied in the giving plaintiffs food away to mr. good a black patient this was done in hopes of getting an physical alltercashion of which plaintiff would have no chance what so ever of perviailing in a long with outher members of his race the reasion of bouth atempts was to see plaintiff as well outhers searousley injuried or worse the risk to a particular patient officials or employees will obviously be held liable for an assalt if they actively permit or encourage it as the defeandeant attempted she will also be found deliberateely indifferent if she stand by and do nothing about an assalt that they witness or have been notified of to take action in eather stoping or perventing that she worked through getting started is not very feassable why give plaintiffs food away or insault plaintiff..."

(Second Amended Complaint (2ACP), Doc. 17 at 1:15-25.)


The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides:

Every person who, under color of [state law]... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution... shall be liable to the party injured in an ...

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