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Jeffries v. Los Angeles Sheriff Department

United States District Court, C.D. California

March 2, 2017

DAMEL JEFFRIES, Plaintiff,
v.
LOS ANGELES SHERRIFF DEPARTMENT, ET AL., Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

          HONORABLE KENLY KIYA KATO United States Magistrate Judge

         I.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Damel Jeffries (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, has filed a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”) alleging violations of his Eighth Amendment right based on excessive force. Plaintiff appears to be suing defendant Los Angeles Sheriff Department, John Doe 1, and John Doe 2 (“Defendants”) in their individual capacity. As discussed below, the Court dismisses the FAC with leave to amend for failure to state a claim.

         II.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On January 10, 2017, Plaintiff, who is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at the Wasco State Prison, constructively filed[1] a Complaint alleging custody staff employed by the Los Angeles Sheriff Department used excessive force while Plaintiff was housed at Twin Towers Correctional Facility under suicide watch. ECF Docket No. (“Dkt.”) 1, Compl.

         On January 25, 2017, the Court dismissed the complaint with leave to amend for failure to state a claim. Dkt. 6.

         On February 10, 2017, Plaintiff constructively filed the instant FAC against Los Angeles Sheriff Department, John Doe 1, and John Doe 2.[2] Dkt. 8, FAC. Plaintiff alleges John Does 1 and 2 used excessive force against Plaintiff in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Id. Plaintiff additionally alleges defendant Los Angeles County Sheriff Department is liable for the actions of its officers when it failed “to uphold [its] legal duty of care.” Id. at 5.

         III.

         ALLEGATIONS IN FAC

         On May 9, 2016, during “pill call”, Plaintiff alleges he “picked up an empty orange juice carton and reached back through the tray slot with [his] right hand to ask for more ice.” Declaration of Damel Jeffries (“Jeffries Decl.”), Dkt. 8 at 3. Plaintiff claims, at that moment, he heard one of the staff nurses say to another nurse, “I don't know why you're doing this, you shouldn't give that punk-ass his meds.” Id. According to Plaintiff, “[t]he custody assistant and deputy sheriff seemed to react to the comment and [his] request for more ice.” Id. at 4. Consequently, the custody assistant came over and “closed the tray slot door on [Plaintiff's] arm.” Id. Additionally, the deputy sheriff “grabbed onto [Plaintiff's] wrist and forearm and started pushing down” as if “he was trying to break it.” Id. The deputy sheriff began “sliding [Plaintiff's] arm back and forth in the tray slot like he wanted to saw it off.” Id. Both the deputy sheriff and the custody assistant held onto the tray slot to keep it closed on Plaintiff's arm. Id.

         Plaintiff was able to release his right arm from the tray slot door; however, the deputy sheriff “grabbed onto [Plaintiff's] left arm . . . [and] again began to assault [Plaintiff] by twisting, an[d] sliding [his] arm in tray slot.” Id. at 5. The custody assistant then “pulled out a flashlight . . . [and] used the end of it as a weapon to assault [Plaintiff's] left hand and wrist.” Id. at 5-6. Plaintiff was able to release his left arm, “but then the deputy sheriff and custody assistant trapped [Plaintiff's] fingers of [his] right hand in the tray slot.” Id. at 6. As Plaintiff attempted to release his right hand, the custody assistant and deputy sheriff closed the tray slot door, causing Plaintiff's “left forearm [to become] pinched in the tray slot.” Id.

         Plaintiff claims the Custody Staff stated the use of force was necessary because (1) Plaintiff “tried to gas [Custody Staff]”; and (2) Plaintiff “was holding the tray slot hostage.” Id. at 8-9. Plaintiff claims neither of these statements are true. Id. As a result of the alleged use of force, Plaintiff claims he “continues to experience numbness and pain” and has not “received any medical attention for the injuries” despite repeated requests. Id. at 10. ...


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