United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT DEFENDANTS'
MOTION TO DISMISS DEFENDANTS SMITH AND TYLER AND ALL CLAIMS
AGAINST THEM (Doc. 12) TWENTY-ONE DAY DEADLINE
JENNIFER L. THURSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
action is proceeding on Plaintiff’s claims that
Defendants Officer Carpenter, Captain S. Smith, and Sergeant
N. Tyler were deliberately indifferent to a known serious
risk of harm to Plaintiff in violation of the Eighth
Amendment. (See Doc. 9.)
November 3, 2015, Capt. Smith and Sgt. Tyler filed a motion
to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6),
asserting that Plaintiff’s allegations fail to state a
claim against them upon which relief can be granted. (Doc.
12, MTD.) For the reasons discussed herein, the Court
recommends the motion be GRANTED.
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal
sufficiency of a claim. Dismissal is proper if there is a
lack of a cognizable legal theory, or the absence of
sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.
Conservation Force v. Salazar, 646 F.3d 1240,
1241-42 (9th Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 132 S.Ct.
1762 (2012). In resolving a 12(b)(6) motion, a court’s
review is generally limited to the operative pleading.
Daniels-Hall v. National Educ. Ass’n, 629 F.3d
992, 998 (9th Cir. 2010); Sanders v. Brown, 504 F.3d
903, 910 (9th Cir. 2007); Huynh v. Chase Manhattan
Bank, 465 F.3d 992, 1003-04 (9th Cir. 2006);
Schneider v. California Dept. of Corr., 151 F.3d
1194, 1197 n.1 (9th Cir. 1998).
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual allegations, accepted as true, to state a
claim that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, (2009) (citing Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007));
Conservation Force, 646 F.3d at 1242; Moss v.
U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).
The Court must accept well-pled factual allegations as true
and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving
party. Daniels-Hall, 629 F.3d at 998;
Sanders, 504 F.3d at 910; Huynh, 465 F.3d
at 996-97; Morales v. City of Los Angeles, 214 F.3d
1151, 1153 (9th Cir. 2000). Pleadings of prisoners proceeding
pro se are liberally construed and any doubt is
resolved in the inmate’s favor. Wilhelm v.
Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012); Watison
v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012);
Silva v. Di Vittorio, 658 F.3d 1090, 1101 (9th Cir.
2011); Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir.
"[i]f there are two alternative explanations, one
advanced by defendant and the other advanced by plaintiff,
both of which are plausible, plaintiff's complaint
survives a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6)."
Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216-17.
"Plaintiff’s complaint may be dismissed only when
defendant's plausible alternative explanation is so
convincing that plaintiff's explanation is
implausible. The standard at this stage of the
litigation is not that plaintiff’s explanation must be
true or even probable. The factual allegations of the
complaint need only 'plausibly suggest an entitlement to
relief.'" Id. (emphasis in original).
"Rule 8(a) 'does not impose a probability
requirement at the pleading stage; it simply calls for
enough fact to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery
will reveal evidence' to support the allegations."
Id., quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556
(emphasis added in Starr).
argue that Plaintiff fails to state a cognizable claim of
supervisory liability under section 1983 against them as his
allegations fail to show either they personally/directly
participated in a constitutional violation, (Doc. 12, MTD,
2:1-3, 3:17-6:28), or an affirmative causal link between
their conduct and violation of his constitutional rights,
(id., at 7:1-20).
alleges that on January 30, 2014, C/O Carpenter was working
as D-5 control officer and opened Plaintiff’s cell door
“for medical.” (Doc. 1, p. 3.) Prior to that day
there was a stabbing which caused implementation of a
lockdown memorandum/matrix requiring all inmate movement to
be escorted and in restraints. (Id.) Capt. Smith and
Sgt. Tyler knew of the lockdown requirements and the reasons
behind it, but failed to enforce it. (Id.) This
resulted in C/O Carpenter, who also had full knowledge of the
lockdown and the reason behind it, to disregard it by opening
various inmates’ cell doors that day, allowing them
unrestrained and unescorted movement, which resulted in
Plaintiff being attacked. (Id.) The exhibits
attached to the Complaint show that this altercation involved
not only Plaintiff and another inmate, but four inmates total
(id., pp. 4, 18, 21-23, 29, 30, 32-40, 43, 47) and
that various of the incident reports regarding the
altercation specifically noted that the inmates involved were
seen walking around the bottom tier area unrestrained
(id., at pp. 32, 40, 43).