United States District Court, E.D. California
DIRECTING CLERK'S OFFICE TO ASSIGN MATTER TO A DISTRICT
JUDGE FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO: ALLOW PLAINTIFF TO
PROCEED ON COGNIZABLE EXCESSIVE FORCE CLAIMS AGAINST
INDIVIDUAL DEFENDANTS AND DISMISS OFFICIAL CAPACITY CLAIMS
WITH PREJUDICE (ECF NO. 9) FOURTEEN (14) DAY OBJECTION
MICHAEL J. SENG, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis
in this civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. He has consented to Magistrate Judge
jurisdiction (ECF No. 7). No other parties have appeared in
September 19, 2017, this Court screened Plaintiff's
complaint and found it stated a cognizable Eighth Amendment
excessive force claim against Defendant Stewart, but no other
cognizable claims. (ECF No. 8.) Plaintiff was given the
option to either file an amended complaint or to proceed only
on the claim found to be cognizable. (Id.) Plaintiff
filed a first amended complaint (ECF No. 9), and it is before
the Court for screening.
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, ” or that 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). “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 upon
which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. §
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)).
Plaintiffs must set forth “sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678. 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. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-78.
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). To state a claim under
section 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
section 1983 the Plaintiff must demonstrate that each
defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his
rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th
Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of factual
allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret
Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). Prisoners
proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to
have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any
doubt resolved in their favor, Hebbe v. Pliler, 627
F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted), but
nevertheless, the mere possibility of misconduct falls short
of meeting the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.
is incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison, where the acts
giving rise to his complaint occurred. Plaintiff names as
Defendants (1) S. Steward, Correctional Officer (2) Castillo,
Correctional Officer, and (3) Sergeant Ventura, Correctional
allegations may be summarized essentially as follows.
September 2, 2016, Plaintiff was involved in an altercation
with two other inmates in the facility holding cell.
Defendant Stewart and non-party T. Rocha came to the doorway
of the holding cells and yelled for the inmates to get down.
Before Plaintiff could comply, Stewart pepper sprayed
Plaintiff and twice hit him in the back of the head with the
pepper spray canister. Plaintiff lost consciousness. When he
regained focus, he was being dragged into the hallway. There,
Plaintiff was on his stomach and Stewart sat on
Plaintiff's back. Defendant Castillo used his baton to
hit Plaintiff on his legs and buttocks. Plaintiff was ...