United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER REQUIRING PLAINTIFF TO EITHER FILE SECOND
AMENDED COMPLAINT OR NOTIFY COURT OF WILLINGNESS TO PROCEED
ONLY ON EXCESSIVE FORCE CLAIMS AGAINST E. GARCIA AND G. COOK
(DOC. 10) TWENTY-ONE (21) DAY DEADLINE
K. OBERTO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Randy Langley, is a prisoner in the custody of the California
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
(“CDCR”). Plaintiff is proceeding pro se
and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has stated
cognizable claims for excessive force against E. Garcia and
G. Cook and may be able to correct the deficiencies in his
pleading on other claims. As such, he may either file a
second amended complaint correcting the deficiencies, or
advise the Court that he is willing to proceed only on the
claims found cognizable herein.
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 bases, 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.
1983 “provides a cause of action for the deprivation of
any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws of the United States.” Wilder
v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990)
(quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a
source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method
for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere.
Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).
state a claim under § 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 violation was committed by a person
acting under the color of state law. See West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda
Cnty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).
Summary of the First Amended Complaint
complains of acts that occurred while he detained at the
pretrial facility in Visalia, California. Plaintiff names E.
Garcia, G. Cook, and the Tulare County Sheriff Department as
defendants in this action and seeks monetary damages.
alleges that in October of 2015, E. Garcia directed him to
step out of his cell. Plaintiff complied and was placed in
restraints. Once the restraints were on, E. Garcia and G.
Cook held Plaintiff while E. Garcia began punching Plaintiff
in the face. G. Cook then tripped Plaintiff and took
Plaintiff to the ground where E. Garcia placed his knee on
Plaintiff's neck and punched the left side of
Plaintiff's face. After the assault, Plaintiff's
request to loosen the restraints was denied. Plaintiff's
request for x-rays of his left wrist, which was in pain, was
also denied. Plaintiff was not given aspirin, or ibuprofen,
or anything for his headache and pain from the assault.
allegations state a cognizable claim for excessive force
against G. Cook and E. Garcia on which he should be allowed
to proceed. However, as discussed below, he fails to link the
Tulare County Sheriff Department to any of his allegations,
fails to show a basis for any municipal liability, and fails
to link his medical claims to any defendant. Thus, Plaintiff
may choose to proceed on excessive force claims against G.
Cook and E. Garcia, or he may attempt to cure the defects in
his pleading by filing a second amended complaint.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)
8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil
actions, with limited exceptions, ” none of which
applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema
N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a).
A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief .
. . .” Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a). “Such a statement
must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the
plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512.
of Rule 8, at both ends of the spectrum, warrant dismissal. A
violation occurs when a pleading says too little -- the
baseline threshold of factual and legal allegations required
was the central issue in the Iqbal line of cases.
See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129
S.Ct. 1937 (2009). The Rule is also violated, though, when a
pleading says too much. Cafasso, U.S. ex rel. v.
Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1058 (9th
Cir.2011) (“[W]e have never held -- and we know of no
authority supporting the proposition -- that a pleading may
be of unlimited length and opacity. Our cases instruct
otherwise.”) (citing cases); see also McHenry v.
Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1179-80 (9th Cir.1996) (affirming a
dismissal under Rule 8, and recognizing that “[p]rolix,
confusing complaints such as the ones plaintiffs filed in
this case impose unfair burdens on litigants and
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), quoting
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 that is
plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678, quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Factual
allegations are accepted as true, but ...