United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER OF SERVICE; INSTRUCTIONS TO CLERK
William Alsup, United States District Judge.
an inmate at North Kern State Prison, filed this civil rights
case under 42 U.S.C. 1983 alleging that he fell down stairs
while housed at the Monterey County Jail due to
defendants' failure provide him adequate medical care and
to take adequate safety precautions. 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 James H. Bass and Dr. Eliud Garcia. The claims
against Monterey County Jail are dismissed.
Standard of Review
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
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.
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).
liberally construed, plaintiff's allegations state
cognizable claims that defendants Captain James H. Bass and
Dr. Eliud Garcia were deliberately indifferent to
plaintiff's safety and medical needs by failing to
provide him adequate treatment for his low blood pressure,
provide safety railings on the stairs to the bathroom or room
on the stairs for his walker, in violation of his federal
also names the Monterey County Jail as a defendant. The
Monterey County Jail is a building, not a municipal entity.
It would appear that plaintiff means to sue Monterey County,
and if that is the case, he must allege that his injuries
were caused by a policy or custom at the jail. See Monell
v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978);
see also Board of Cty. Comm'rs. of Bryan Cty. v.
Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403 (1997) (county may not be held
vicariously liable for the unconstitutional acts of its
employees under the theory of respondeat superior). To allege
a claim against the County of Monterey, plaintiff has to file
an amended complaint in which he alleges that: (1) his fall
down the stairs violated his constitutional rights; (2)
Monterey County had a policy; (3) this policy amounts to
deliberate indifference to plaintiff's constitutional
rights; and (4) this policy is the moving force behind
plaintiff's fall down the stairs. See Plumeau v.
School Dist. #40 County of Yamhill, 130 F.3d 432, 438
(9th Cir. 1997).
reasons set out above, it is ...