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Baker v. German

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 6, 2017

HUMBERTO GERMAN, et al., Defendants.


         Plaintiff Dominique Baker is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has not consented or declined to United States Magistrate Judge jurisdiction; however, this matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.

         Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's first amended complaint, filed February 6, 2017.



         The Court is required to screen Plaintiff's complaint and dismiss the case, in whole or in part, if the Court determines it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). 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)), and courts “are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences, ” Doe I v. Walmart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         Pro se litigants are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor, Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121-23 (9th Cir. 2012); Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010), but Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible to survive screening, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.



         On April 23, 2011 at 9:00 a.m., Plaintiff was inside his assigned cell at Corcoran State Prison. Defendant correctional officers Humberto German and Phillip Holguin approached Plaintiff's cell and ordered him to be handcuffed and escorted to the building holding cage in order to receive his medication. Plaintiff underwent an unclothed body search, and was handcuffed and escorted to the holding cage. After Plaintiff was un-cuffed, he began exchanging words with Defendants. While exchanging words, Defendant Humberto German removed his state issued pepper spray canister and began spraying Plaintiff in his face and torso area. Humberto German continued spraying Plaintiff until the spray canister went empty. Plaintiff went into shock and was not able to see and breathe. Plaintiff then heard Defendant German order Defendant Phillip Holguin to pepper spray Plaintiff. Phillip Holguin began spraying Plaintiff while he stood holding the steel bars, and he continued to spray Plaintiff until the canister was empty.

         Plaintiff was examined by a nurse and sustained serious injuries to his eyes and a chemical reaction to his skin.

         After this incident, Plaintiff did not talk with the prison arresting agency. Plaintiff was held inside a holding cage and there was no investigative service unit at the scene to take photographs or advise Plaintiff of his Miranda rights. Plaintiff was never asked to make a statement regarding the incident.

         Defendants Humberto German and Phillip Holguin wrote false reports claiming that Plaintiff grabbed German's wrist while inside the holding cage.

         Months later, Plaintiff awake to prison officials ordering him to get dressed for Court regarding the incident on April 23, 2011, with Humberto German and Phillip Holguin. Plaintiff was taken to Kings County Superior Court and charged with a violation of California Penal Code section 4501.5 (battery by a prisoner on non-confined person). Plaintiff was ultimately found guilty of battery and sentenced to a consecutive term of 27 years-to-life.



         A. ...

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