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Corser v. Schreeder

United States District Court, N.D. California

May 4, 2017

GREG CORSER, Plaintiff,
v.
HANK SCHREEDER; MICHAEL DATZOLD; IAN H. BERNER; OFFICER WOODS; M. SPEDIACCI; JENEANE R. KUCKER, Defendants.

          ORDER OF SERVICE

          WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, an inmate at the Sonoma County Jail, filed this civil rights case under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against officers and employees of the Santa Rosa Police Department for using excessive force during the course of his arrest. He is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in a separate order. For the reasons discussed below, the complaint is ordered served upon defendants.

         ANALYSIS

         A. Standard of Review

         Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which 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. Id. at 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

         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 deprivation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

         B. Legal Claims

         Plaintiff alleges that after a chase by officers of the Santa Rosa Police Department, he got out of his truck, lay down flat on his stomach on the ground with his arms spread and told the officers he was not resisting. He alleges that defendant Officer Michael Datzold sicced a police dog on plaintiff, and the dog bit plaintiff on the arm and the side. Defendant Officer Ian H. Berner stood over him while he was being bit and told him to stop resisting. Defendants Officer Woods and Detective M. Spediacci were present and failed to intervene. When liberally construed, these allegations state a cognizable claim against defendants Datzold, Berner, Woods and Spediacci for using excessive force during plaintiff's arrest in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.

         The only allegation against defendant Hank Schreeder is that he is the Chief of Police, and the only allegation against defendant Jeneane R. Kucker is that she is a supervisor. These allegations are not sufficient to state a cognizable claim against them because supervisors are not liable for the actions of their subordinates under Section 1983. See Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989) (there is no respondeat superior liability under Section 1983).

         CONCLUSION

         For the reasons set out above, it is hereby ordered as follows:

         1. The claims against defendants Schreeder ...


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