United States District Court, E.D. California
Reagan Plaintiff pro se.
ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This proceeding was
referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints
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. §
“is [legally] frivolous where it lacks an arguable
basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v.
Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984).
“[A] judge may dismiss [in forma pauperis] claims which
are based on indisputably meritless legal theories or whose
factual contentions are clearly baseless.” Jackson
v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1989) (citation
and internal quotations omitted), superseded by statute
on other grounds as stated in Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d
1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000); Neitzke, 490 U.S. at
327. The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim,
however inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual
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, ' in order to ‘give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (alteration in
original) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47
(1957)). However, in order to survive dismissal for failure
to state a claim, a complaint must contain more than “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action;” it must contain factual allegations sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. (citations omitted). “[T]he
pleading must contain something more . . . than . . . a
statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a
legally cognizable right of action.” Id.
(alteration in original) (quoting 5 Charles Alan Wright &
Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure
§ 1216 (3d ed. 2004)).
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S.
at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 556). In reviewing a
complaint under this standard, the court must accept as true
the allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital
Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hosp. Trs., 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976),
as well as construe the pleading in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff and resolve all doubts in the
plaintiff's favor, Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395
U.S. 411, 421 (1969).
First Amended Complaint
first amended complaint, plaintiff alleges that around 2:40
p.m. on December 26, 2014, defendant Rivera unexpectedly
opened his cell door. ECF No. 17 at 4. Plaintiff asserts that
at the time Rivera opened the door, plaintiff's hands
were on the window frame and clearly visible to Rivera from
the control tower, which directly faces the cell doors.
Id. As Rivera opened the door, plaintiff's left
index finger became jammed on a metal strip installed along
the door frame, causing the tip of his finger to be severed.
Id. Plaintiff alleges that Rivera knowingly
disregarded a risk to plaintiff's health and safety by
opening the door without notice, which caused injury to his
finger in violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition
against cruel and unusual punishment. Id. at 5-6.
further alleges that the metal strip had previously been
installed as a security measure when the housing unit was
used for administrative segregation. Id. at 3.
Although the unit was housing general population inmates at
the time of the incident, the metal strips had not been
removed. Id. He claims that the metal strips were a
hazard to general population inmates because, unlike inmates
in administrative segregation, they are not handcuffed and
therefore warned every time the door is opened. Id.
Plaintiff asserts that defendant Warden Peery failed to
provide any warnings about the risk of injury posed by the
metal strips, and this failure to warn and protect plaintiff
from harm violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from
cruel and unusual punishment. Id. at 5.
Failure to State a Claim
can be no liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 unless there
is some affirmative link or connection between a
defendant's actions and the claimed deprivation.
Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371 (1976); May v.
Enomoto, 633 F.2d 164, 167 (9th Cir. 1980). “Vague
and conclusory allegations of official participation in civil
rights violations are not ...