United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND
HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a state prisoner incarcerated at Salinas Valley State Prison
(“SVSP”), filed this pro se civil rights
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is granted
leave to proceed in forma pauperis in a separate order. The
complaint is now before the Court for review pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A.
complaint alleges the following:
was assigned to a job as a janitor/porter at SVSP. His
supervisor was defendant correctional officer Vargas. For
several months prior to the incident at issue in the present
action, Vargas had been falsifying plaintiff's time card
such that plaintiff was being given credit for work that
Vargas was not permitting plaintiff to actually perform.
Specifically, Vargas would order working inmates out of the
building they were assigned to report to for work duty and
would send them to the exercise yard so that Vargas did not
have to supervise them. After plaintiff complained about this
practice, Vargas retaliated by setting up an altercation
between plaintiff and another inmate. Vargas conspired with
defendant correctional officers M. Garcia and M. Alverez to
stage the altercation.
April 2, 2017, plaintiff showed up to work, and Vargas once
again forced plaintiff to leave his prison-assigned
janitor/porter job and go to the exercise yard. Plaintiff sat
down in the exercise yard and began playing cards with some
other inmates. While plaintiff was playing cards, another
inmate, inmate Carr, approached plaintiff from behind without
warning and proceeded to punch plaintiff several times in the
back of plaintiff's head and on the side of his face.
Carr was known to be a violent gang member. The punches broke
plaintiff's jaw and left plaintiff unconscious. Garcia
came over and handcuffed plaintiff and place him in a holding
cage. Garcia, Vargas, and Alverez also handcuffed Carr and
placed him in a holding cage next to plaintiff's holding
cage. Plaintiff requested medical treatment, but he was
merely escorted back to his cell. Thirty minutes later,
Alverez approached plaintiff's cell and forced plaintiff
to sign a document under threat of subjecting plaintiff to
further punishment. Plaintiff was still not given medical
attention despite his obvious injuries.
following day, April 3, 2017, plaintiff was released from his
cell, and he reported to work so as not to receive a rules
violation report. Vargas once again refused to permit
plaintiff to stay inside and sent plaintiff to the exercise
yard. Plaintiff proceeded to the yard and waited to be called
to the medical clinic for treatment. While plaintiff was
waiting in the yard, Carr was again released onto the yard
and attacked plaintiff a second time. Plaintiff tried to run
away, but Carr proceeded to beat, kick, and punch plaintiff
as Garcia, Vargas, and Alvarez looked on. Other inmates broke
up the fight. When plaintiff came to, he was in an ambulance
on his way to the prison hospital. The doctor who examined
plaintiff ordered him immediately sent to the emergency room
at Natividad Medical Center. X-rays taken at the emergency
room showed jaw bone and facial fractures as well as a
hematoma from head injuries. Plaintiff received emergency
Standard of Review
courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in
which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or
officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims or
dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint “is frivolous, malicious, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, ” or
“seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.” Id. § 1915A(b).
Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed,
however. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't,
901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
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, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (citations omitted).
Although in order to state a claim a complaint “does
not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his
‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do. . . . Factual allegations
must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007) (citations
omitted). A complaint must proffer “enough facts to
state a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.” Id. at 1974.
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