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Tran v. Foulk

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 28, 2017

BINH C. TRAN, Plaintiff,
v.
FRED FOULK, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          LEBORAH BARNES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge. (ECF No. 4.) His first amended complaint is before the court for screening.

         I. Screening Requirement

         The in forma pauperis statute provides, “Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         II. Pleading Standard

         Section 1983 “provides a cause of action for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).

         To state a claim under § 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); Ketchum v. Alameda Cnty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 677-78.

         III. Plaintiff's Allegations

         At all times relevant to this action, plaintiff was a state prisoner housed at High Desert State Prison (“HDSP”) in Susanville, California. He names as defendants HDSP Warden Fred Foulk, Correctional Officer (“CO”) Joksch, CO Turner, and Appeals Coordinator L. Lopez.

         Plaintiff's allegations may be fairly summarized as follows:

         A. Assault by Cellmate

         On January 12, 2013, plaintiff was assigned a cellmate, inmate Brian Yang, who was mentally unstable and on “psych-medication.” Afraid for his safety, plaintiff repeatedly complained to COs Turner and Joksch about inmate Wang's mental instability and plaintiff's fear of attack. CO Turner attempted to move plaintiff, but the transfer did not happen. CO Joksch claimed to be too busy to attend to plaintiff's concerns.

         On March 22, 2013, plaintiff was severely assaulted by his cellmate. As a result of the attack, plaintiff suffered a broken jaw and was ...


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