United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDING COGNIZABLE CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANTS INGRAM,
MARTINEZ, LOPEZ AND SOLARIO FOR EXCESSIVE FORCE IN VIOLATION
OF THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT AND AN UNREASONABLE SEARCH IN
VIOLATION OF THE FOURTH AMENDMENT, AND DISMISSING ALL OTHER
CLAIMS AND DEFENDANTS (ECF NO. 22) ORDER FINDING SERVICE OF
SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT APPROPRIATE AND FORWARDING SERVICE
DOCUMENTS TO PLAINTIFF FOR COMPLETION AND RETURN WITHIN
Caruso (“Plaintiff”) is proceeding pro
se and in forma pauperis with this civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed the
Complaint commencing this action on May 22, 2015. (ECF No.
In the Complaint, Plaintiff claimed that she was subjected to
“an illegal body search” and “excessive
force.” (Id. at 3). The Court screened
Plaintiff's complaint on June 30, 2016, and dismissed the
complaint with leave to amend. (ECF No. 13).
filed a First Amended Complaint on September 12, 2016 (ECF
No. 17). The Court found that the First Amended Complaint
stated a cognizable claim for violation of the Eighth
Amendment against defendants Ingram, Martinez, Lopez and
Solario based on hand cuffing Plaintiff in the back, which
was allegedly a violation of a medical chrono. (ECF No. 18).
The Court also found that the First Amended Complaint failed
to state any other cognizable claims. (Id.). The
Court gave Plaintiff the choice of proceeding on the claim
the Court found cognizable, filing an amended complaint, or
informing that Court that she wished to stand on her First
Amended Complaint, subject to dismissal of claims and
defendants consistent with the screening order.
April 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint
(ECF No. 22), which is now before the Court for screening.
The Court finds that the Second Amended Complaint states
cognizable claims against defendants Ingram, Martinez, Lopez,
and Solario for excessive force in violation of the Eighth
Amendment and an unreasonable search in violation of the
Fourth Amendment. The Court finds no other cognizable claims
against these defendants or against any other defendants.
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
or malicious, ” that 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). “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).
complaint is required to 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.
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). The mere
possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this
plausibility standard. Id. at 679. While a
plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, courts
“are not required to indulge unwarranted
inferences.” Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,
572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted). Additionally, a plaintiff's legal
conclusions are not accepted as true. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678.
of pro se plaintiffs “must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342
(9th Cir. 2010) (holding that pro se complaints
should continue to be liberally construed after
SUMMARY OF ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT
complaint is very similar to her prior complaint, but she
does include additional factual allegations. Additionally,
instead of asserting a claim for excessive force, Plaintiff
now states an Eighth Amendment claim for “Right to
once again alleges that that she was subject to an
unconstitutional search. Plaintiff alleges that her hands
were cuffed behind her back, even though she had a medical
chrono stating that, due to a spinal cord injury, she should
only be handcuffed in front. Plaintiff alleges that on
multiple occasions during the search, Defendants handled
Plaintiff in ways that caused Plaintiff extreme pain.
Plaintiff alleges that she was strip-searched in view of
other prisoners and male correctional officers. Plaintiff
alleges that she was forced to do squats, even though she had
a medical chrono that stated no squatting. Plaintiff alleges
that, after the first time she was strip-searched, she was
left standing naked from the waist down. She asked several
times for someone to pull her underwear and shorts up.
Eventually defendant Ingram instructed defendant Lopez to
pull her shorts up, but defendant Lopez did not pull them up
all the way. Instead, defendant Lopez told Plaintiff to pull
them up, which she knew Plaintiff could not do because
Plaintiff's hands were handcuffed behind her back.
also alleges that, a few days after the search, Plaintiff
“received a copy of [her] original medical chrono
rescinding every medical limitation/restriction/instruction
[she] had for the past 9 years.” Plaintiff alleges that
she was not seen by a doctor before her limitations,
restrictions, and instructions were rescinded.
OF PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS
Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
42 U.S.C. § 1983. “[Section] 1983 ‘is not
itself a source of substantive rights, ' but merely
provides ‘a method for vindicating federal rights
elsewhere conferred.'” Graham v. Connor,
490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989) (quoting Baker v.
McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3 (1979)); see
also Chapman v. Houston Welfare Rights Org.,
441 U.S. 600, 618 (1979); Hall v. City of Los
Angeles, 697 F.3d 1059, 1068 (9th Cir. 2012);
Crowley v. Nevada, 678 F.3d 730, 734 (9th Cir.
2012); Anderson v. Warner, 451 F.3d 1063, 1067 (9th
state a claim under section 1983, a plaintiff must allege
that (1) the defendant acted under color of state law, and
(2) the defendant deprived him of rights secured by the
Constitution or federal law. Long v. County of Los
Angeles,442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006);see alsoMarsh v. Cnty. of San Diego, 680
F.3d 1148, 1158 (9th Cir. 2012) (discussing “under
color of state law”). A person deprives another of a
constitutional right, “within the meaning of §
1983, ‘if he does an affirmative act, participates
in another's affirmative act, or omits to perform an act
which he is legally required to do that causes the
deprivation of which complaint is made.'”
Preschooler II v. Clark Cnty. Sch. Bd. of Trs., 479
F.3d 1175, 1183 (9th Cir. 2007) (quoting Johnson v.
Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978)). “The
requisite causal connection may be established when an
official sets in motion a ‘series of acts by others
which the actor knows or reasonably should know would cause
others to inflict' constitutional harms.”
Preschooler II, 479 F.3d at 1183 (quoting
Johnson, 588 F.2d at ...