United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH
PREJUDICE (DOC. 17) ORDER DIRECTING CLERK'S OFFICE TO
JENNIFER L. THURSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
action, Plaintiff alleges that Officer Bradshaw violated his
right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by
neglecting to secure his wheelchair in the transport van,
which allowed Plaintiff to be injured when his wheelchair
came loose and he was thrown around the back of the van.
These allegations are not cognizable under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 as a violation of Plaintiff's federal rights which
requires the action to be DISMISSED with prejudice.
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the
prisoner has raised claims that are legally frivolous,
malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2);
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). If an action is
dismissed on one of these three basis, a strike is imposed
per 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). An inmate who has had three or
more prior actions or appeals dismissed as frivolous,
malicious, or for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted, and has not alleged imminent danger of
serious physical injury does not qualify to proceed in
forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g);
Richey v. Dahne, 807 F.3d 1201, 1208 (9th Cir.
Summary of Allegations
a double amputee, alleges that, on September 16, 2015,
Officer Bradshaw neglected his duty to properly secure his
wheelchair in the back of the transport van on his return
from Mercy Hospital. (Doc. 17, p. 4.) As a result, Plaintiff
alleges that his wheelchair came loose and he was thrown
around the back of the van and received a head injury.
allegations may state a claim for negligence under California
However, despite having been provided the legal standards for
a claim under the Eighth Amendment in the prior screening
order, (see Doc. 16), Plaintiff's allegations do
not suffice to state a cognizable claim for violation of
Plaintiff's civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
are DISMISSED with prejudice.
Plaintiff's Claim for Relief
Eighth Amendment - Safety
Plaintiff did not identify which of his civil rights he felt
were violated in this incident, the Eighth Amendment appears
most applicable. "The treatment a prisoner receives in
prison and the conditions under which he is confined are
subject to scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment."
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994) (citing
Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 31 (1993)). Prison
officials have a duty "to take reasonable measures to
guarantee the safety of inmates, which has been interpreted
to include a duty to protect prisoners." Labatad v.
Corrections Corp. of America, 714 F.3d 1155, 1160
(citing Farmer, 511 U.S. at 832-33; Hearns v.
Terhune, 413 F.3d 1036, 1040 (9th Cir. 2005)).
establish a violation of this duty, the prisoner must
"show that the officials acted with deliberate
indifference to threat of serious harm or injury to an
inmate." Labatad, at 1160 (citing Gibson v.
County of Washoe, 290 F.3d 1175, 1187 (9th Cir. 2002).
This involves both objective and subjective components.
objectively, the alleged deprivation must be
"sufficiently serious" and where a failure to
prevent harm is alleged, "the inmate must show that he
is incarcerated under conditions posing a substantial risk of
serious harm." Id. at 834, quoting Rhodes
v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 349, 101 S.Ct. 2392 (1981).
Not properly securing a wheelchair bound inmate's
wheelchair in a van during transport suffices as a
sufficiently serious situation which can pose a substantial
risk of serious harm.
Plaintiff's allegations do not meet the second,
subjective requirement of showing that Officer Bradshaw knew
“of and disregard an excessive risk” to
Plaintiff's safety. Id. at 837; Anderson v.
County of Kern, 45 F.3d 1310, 1313 (9th Cir. 1995). A
prison official must "be aware of facts from which the
inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious
harm exists, and . . . must also draw the inference."
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. Liability may follow only
if a prison official "knows that inmates face a
substantial risk of serious harm and disregards that risk by
failing to take reasonable measures to abate it."
Id. at 847.
allegations do not show that Officer Bradshaw was
deliberately indifferent to the risk of harm to Plaintiff
when he failed to properly secure Plaintiff's wheelchair
in the back of the transport van. At most, Plaintiff's
allegations of Officer Bradshaw's actions amount to
negligence. Indeed, Plaintiff admits that Officer Bradshaw
“neglected” his duty to properly secure his
wheelchair. (Doc. 17, p. 4.) Mere negligence will not support
a cause of action under the Eighth Amendment. See
Broughton v. Cutter Laboratories, 622 F.2d 458, 460 (9th
Cir.1980) (citing Estelle, 429 U.S. ...