United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND DKT.
WILLIAM H. ORRICK United States District Judge
Carlo Del Conte filed this federal civil rights action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and other statutes regarding his
treatment at the Santa Clara County Jail. He describes being
attacked by a misclassified, homophobic inmate within earshot
of an inattentive guard who did nothing to protect him. He
suffered multiple injuries and fractures to his face, was
placed with his attacker on at least two other occasions
thereafter, causing great emotional distress, and was not
given necessary HIV medication in a timely fashion. Those
facts could certainly form the basis of plausible causes of
action. However, as I explain below, the defendants he names
are all high-ranking supervisors and officials that Del Conte
does not link to the injuries he suffered. As a result, after
considering defendants’ motion to dismiss and the
standards of review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the
Court DISMISSES the complaint with leave to file an amended
complaint on or before September 7, 2016.
Standard of Review
federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any
case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental
entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the
court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any
claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted or seek monetary relief from
a defendant who is immune from such relief. See Id.
§ 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally
construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).
“complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Furthermore, a court
“is not required to accept legal conclusions cast in
the form of factual allegations if those conclusions cannot
reasonably be drawn from the facts alleged.” Clegg
v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754-55 (9th Cir.
1994). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a
right secured by the Constitution or 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).
raises several claims arising from his detention at the Santa
Clara County Sheriff’s Department in 2014. He alleges
that an unnamed sheriff’s deputy failed to protect him
from a physical attack by another inmate; he suffered
distress when transported to the hospital in the presence of
the other inmate after the attack; an unnamed deputy made
offensive comments; he was falsely accused of not taking his
medication and was rehoused based on these false charges; he
was deprived of due process; and he was not given an
appropriate amount of medication when he was released. He
seeks relief under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985; the
Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”); and
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794.
The defendants he names are public entities and persons in
Claims Against the State of California
Conte names the State of California as a defendant. However,
the Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution “bars suits
which seek either damages or injunctive relief against a
state, an ‘arm of the state, ’ its
instrumentalities, or its agencies.” Franceschi v.
Schwartz, 57 F.3d 828, 831 (9th Cir. 1995) (citation
omitted). Therefore, California is DISMISSED as a defendant
with prejudice. Del Conte may not raise claims against the
State of California in his amended complaint.
Individual Supervisory Defendants
Conte names many persons as defendants based on, apparently,
a theory of supervisory liability. Naming them is all he has
done--Del Conte has not alleged specific facts showing
liability on the part of any defendant. Unless he pleads
sufficient facts against these defendants in his amended
complaint, these persons will be dismissed. For now, all
claims against all persons named in this action are DISMISSED
with leave to amend.
difficult to plead claims against high-ranking supervisors
unless there are facts showing that they had a personal
involvement in any of the allegedly unconstitutional acts.
There is no respondeat superior liability under § 1983,
see Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir.
1989), which means that a person is not automatically held
responsible simply because he or she is a supervisor of an
employee who commits a wrong. It is not enough that the
supervisor merely has a supervisory relationship over the
defendants; the plaintiff must show that the supervisor
“participated in or directed the violations, or knew of
the violations and failed to act to prevent them.”
Id. (emphasis added). Furthermore, supervisor
defendants are entitled to qualified immunity where the
allegations against them are simply “bald” or
“conclusory” because such allegations do not