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Fields v. Ducart

United States District Court, N.D. California

March 23, 2017

RONNIE FIELDS, Plaintiff,
v.
CLARK E. DUCART, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER OF SERVICE

          HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Ronnie Fields, an inmate at Pelican Bay State Prison (“PBSP”), filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in a separate order. His complaint is now before the Court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         A 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 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must, however, be liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” “Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only “‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (citations omitted). Although in order to state a claim a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer “enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 1974.

         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).

         B. Legal Claims

         Plaintiff alleges that on September 16, 2015, he was given a new cellmate. Prior to being celled together, the cellmate had expressed to defendant PBSP clinician Fox that he was suicidal and homicidal and would kill any person with whom he was celled. On September 17, 2015, after the cellmate had been housed in plaintiff's cell, defendant Fox approached the cell to talk to the cellmate about his mental state. The cellmate expressed to defendant Fox that when he had a chance he would kill plaintiff. Nevertheless, defendant Fox failed to have the cellmate removed. Defendant PBSP Warden Ducart was aware of the situation but failed to intervene. As a result, plaintiff was choked by his cellmate, causing plaintiff to suffer physical and emotional injury. When liberally construed, the complaint states a cognizable Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to safety under § 1983 as against defendants Fox and Ducart.

         CONCLUSION

         For the foregoing reasons, the Court orders as follows:

         1. The Clerk of the Court shall issue summons and the United States Marshal shall serve, without prepayment of fees, a copy of the complaint (Docket No. 9), and a copy of this order upon Warden Clark E. Ducart and B Facility Clinician Fox at Pelican Bay State Prison.

         The Clerk shall also mail a courtesy copy of the complaint and this order to the ...


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