United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO.
case stems from an altercation between Plaintiff Brad Mrozek
(“Mrozek”), a prisoner at Corcoran State Prison,
and three correctional officers, Officer Amaya
(“Amaya”), Lieutenant Espinosa
(“Espinosa”), and Sergeant Castro
(“Castro”). Mrozek alleges claims under §
1983 for excessive force and failure to prevent excessive
force. Defendants Amaya, Espinosa, and Castro
(“Defendants”) now move under Rule 12(b)(6) to
dismiss the Complaint in its entirety against them in their
official capacities. Mrozek did not file an opposition to
Defendants' motion to dismiss. For the reasons that
follow, Defendants' motion to dismiss will be granted.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a claim may be
dismissed because of the plaintiff's “failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) may be
based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or on the
absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal
theory. See Mollett v. Netflix, Inc., 795 F.3d 1062,
1065 (9th Cir. 2015). In reviewing a complaint under Rule
12(b)(6), all well-pleaded allegations of material fact are
taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party. Faulkner v. ADT Sec. Servs.,
706 F.3d 1017, 1019 (9th Cir. 2013). To avoid a Rule 12(b)(6)
dismissal, “a 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); Mollett, 795 F.3d at 1065.
to the Complaint, Mrozek was incarcerated at Corcoran State
Prison. On March 15, 2015, after Mrozek spoke with various
unnamed officers regarding drug testing, Amaya screamed at
Mrozek and ordered Mrozek up against a wall in the prison
yard. Without provocation, Amaya slammed Mrozek's head
against the wall. Amaya subsequently communicated obscenities
towards Mrozek and held a chokehold on Mrozek while Mrozek
was in a holding cage. Both Espinosa and Castro witnessed
Amaya choking Mrozek but failed to prevent or stop Amaya.
Mrozek states he has filed a 602 grievance against Defendants
and claims to have fully exhausted his administrative
September 2, 2016, Mrozek filed his Complaint alleging that
Defendants used excessive force and/or failed to prevent or
stop excessive force, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Mrozek is suing Defendants in both their official and
individual capacities, and he seeks only monetary relief.
seek dismissal from this case in their official capacities.
Defendants argue that Mrozek's suit against Defendants in
their official capacities is barred under the Eleventh
Amendment. Defendants also maintain that a state official
sued in his official capacity is not a “person”
under the definition of § 1983.
are correct that the Eleventh Amendment provides immunity to
state officials from official capacity suits. Krainski v.
Nevada ex rel. Bd. of Regents of Nevada Sys. of Higher
Educ, 616 F.3d 963, 967 (9th Cir. 2010); Pittman v.
Oregon, Employment Dep't 509 F.3d 1065, 1071-72 (9th
Cir. 2007). Additionally, Defendants are not
“persons” under § 1983. Pittman,
509 F.3d at 1072; Wolfe v. Strankman, 392 F.3d 358,
364 (9th Cir. 2004). Therefore, Mrozek's claims against
Defendants in their official capacities will be dismissed
without leave to amend.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: Defendants' motion to dismiss
(Doc. No. 7) is GRANTED and Mrozek's claims against
Defendants Amaya, Espinosa, and Castro in their official
capacities are DISMISSED without leave to amend.