United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH
PREJUDICE (DOC. 7) ORDER DIRECTING CLERK'S OFFICE TO
JENNIFER L. THURSTON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action, Plaintiff, a general population inmate, complains of
an incident during which Officer Renteria placed him in a
holding cage with sensitive needs inmates, who attacked him.
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
alleges that when he was taken to see his doctor for a
“follow up on” Plaintiff's leg, Officer R.
Renteria placed him in a holding cage with sensitive needs
inmates. (Doc. 7, p. 3.) The other inmates assaulted
Plaintiff because he is a general population inmate.
(Id.) Despite having been provided the legal
standards for a claim under the Eighth Amendment in the prior
screening order, (see Doc. 6, pp. 5-6), these are
Plaintiff's only factual allegations in the
First Amended Complaint. While Plaintiff may be able to state
a claim for negligence under California law,  his allegations
are insufficient to state a cognizable claim for violation of
his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff's Claim for Relief
Eighth Amendment -- Safety
Plaintiff again 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, 114 S.Ct. 1970 (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
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).
Placing a general population inmate in a holding cage with a
group of sensitive needs inmates suffices as a sufficiently
serious situation that poses a substantial risk of serious
Plaintiff's allegations still do not meet the second,
subjective requirement of showing that Officer Renteria 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, 114 S.Ct. 1970. 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, 114 S.Ct. 1970.
allegations do not show that Officer Renteria was
deliberately indifferent to the risk of harm to Plaintiff
when he placed Plaintiff in the holding cage with the
sensitive needs inmates. At most, Plaintiff's allegations
of Officer Renteria's actions may amount to negligence.
However, 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. at 105-06); Toguchi v.
Chung, 391 F.3d 1051, 1060 (9th Cir.2004).
Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint does not state a
cognizable claim against Officer Renteria.