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Williams v. Jurdon

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 14, 2017

PATRICK JURDON, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Akheem D. Williams proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis in this complaint brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His complaint is before the Court for screening.

         I. Screening Requirement

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court must conduct an initial review of the complaint to determine if it states a cognizable claim. The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if it determines that the action has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious, " "fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, " or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         II. Pleading Standard

         Section 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).

         To 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).

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed 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) (citing 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 to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 677-78.

         III. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff complains of acts that occurred during his encounters with law enforcement officers in Hanford, California. He names the following police officers as defendants: (1) Patrick Jurdon, (2) Lerry Leeds, (3) Jonathan Rivera, (4) Steven Sitter, (5) Adams, and (6) Martinez.

         His allegations may be summarized essentially as follows:

         On February 5, 2017, Plaintiff had an encounter with Defendants Sitter, Adams, and Martinez. Although the pleading is somewhat unclear, it appears that Defendant Sitter claimed to have seen Plaintiff driving on Holt Avenue, then stopped Plaintiff at Plaintiff's home on the pretext of inquiring about a hit-and-run accident. Sitter claimed that a witness reported seeing Plaintiff and his car involved in the accident. However, there was no hit-and-run witness; this story was used to “strong arm” Plaintiff and to frame him. Sitter could not have seen Plaintiff driving because Plaintiff was at home. (It was Super Bowl Sunday). Plaintiff was racially profiled, subjected to an unlawful search and seizure, and falsely arrested on DUI charges by Sitter, Martinez, and Adams, and his vehicle was impounded. This conduct violated Plaintiff's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and also constitutes intentional infliction of emotional distress.

         On February 21, 2017, officers were called to Holt Street on allegations by a neighbor of Plaintiff that Plaintiff had engaged in animal cruelty. Plaintiff was bitten by a pet dog and put the dog over his fence to protect himself and school children who might be passing by. Plaintiff explained these circumstances to Defendant Jurdon. Nonetheless, Plaintiff was arrested. Officers Jurdon, Rivera, and Leeds falsely claimed that the dog was injured, his legs were “missed [sic] up, ” and he almost drowned. There was however no water behind Plaintiff's house on that date. The police were wearing body cameras but did not turn them on when they examined the dog. ...

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