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Looney v. L. Gutierrez

United States District Court, N.D. California

June 28, 2017

GERREL LOONEY, Plaintiff,
v.
L. GUTIERREZ, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER OF SERVICE

          KANDIS A. WESTMORE United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Gerrel Looney, a state prisoner at the California Men's Colony, has filed a pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging the violation of his constitutional rights by Correctional Officers L. Gutierrez, M. Pastel and J. Taylor, employees at Pelican Bay State Prison, where Plaintiff was previously confined. Plaintiff has consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge over this action. Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted in a separate order. The Court now reviews Plaintiff's complaint.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Preliminary Review of Complaint

         A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks 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 that 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. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).

         Federal 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, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007).

         To 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 violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

         Liability may be imposed on an individual defendant under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 if the plaintiff can show that the defendant's actions both actually and proximately caused the deprivation of a federally protected right. Lemire v. Cal. Dept. Corrections & Rehabilitation, 756 F.3d 1062, 1074 (9th Cir. 2013); Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 634 (9th Cir. 1988). A person deprives another of a constitutional right within the meaning of section 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 the plaintiff complains. Leer, 844 F.2d at 633.

         II. Plaintiff's Claim

         The complaint alleges the following: On May 27, 2016, Plaintiff was brutally beaten by Defendants Gutierrez and Taylor while he was handcuffed. His injuries include a chipped tooth, a cut on his lip requiring stitches, a slash on his right arm and severe pain in his head and back. His prescription eyeglasses were broken. Defendant Pastel was present but did not stop Gutierrez and Taylor from beating Plaintiff.

         Liberally construed, the allegations appear to give rise to a cognizable Eighth Amendment claim for excessive force against the three Defendants.

         CONCLUSION

         Based on the foregoing, the Court orders as follows:

         1. The Clerk of the Court shall mail a Notice of Lawsuit and Request for Waiver of Service of Summons, two copies of the Waiver of Service of Summons, a copy of the complaint (docket no. 1), and all attachments thereto, a copy of this Order and a copy of the form “Consent or Declination to Magistrate Judge Jurisdiction” to Pelican Bay State Prison Correctional Officers L. Gutierrez, Badge #56660, M. Pastel, Badge #51913 and J. Taylor, Badge #64724. This form can also be found at www.cand.uscourts.gov/civilforms. The Clerk shall also ...


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