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Williams v. United States

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 21, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.




         On April 21, 2017, Plaintiff Walter Lee Williams (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against the United States of America (“Defendant” or “United States”) and eighteen named and unnamed individuals (collectively, “Individual Defendants”) for various constitutional and common-law torts, as well as a single civil RICO conspiracy claim. (Compl. ¶¶ 22-40, ECF No. 1.) On May 24, 2017, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m), the Court ordered Plaintiff to serve the Complaint and Summons on each defendant no later than August 22, 2017. (ECF No. 19.) To date, the United States is the only defendant that has been served with the Complaint and Summons. (ECF No. 23-29.)

         On November 11, 2017, the United States moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety, or, in the alternative, to quash service of process because the requisite filing fee was not paid. (Mot., ECF No. 31.) In his Opposition, Plaintiff submitted exhibits demonstrating that the requisite filing fee was paid. (Opp'n Exs. A, B; ECF No. 39.) In Reply, the United States retracted its argument that service of the Complaint should be quashed.[1] (Reply 1 n.2; ECF No. 40.) For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS the Motion to Dismiss.[2]


         Plaintiff's claims arise from two separate incidents that occurred while he was incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles (“MDCLA”). The first occurred on October 7, 2013, when Plaintiff was attacked by a fellow inmate (the “October 2013 Attack”). (Compl. ¶ 71.) The second incident occurred on January 28, 2014, when Plaintiff slipped in a puddle of water in the halls of MDCLA and sustained serious injuries (the “January 2014 Slip and Fall”). (Id. ¶¶ 84-85.)

         Regarding the October 2013 Attack, Plaintiff alleges that he was brutally attacked while in another inmate's cell and that certain defendants conspired to allow for the attack to occur. (Id. ¶¶ 71-73.) Plaintiff further alleges that certain defendants failed to provide Plaintiff with adequate medical care following the attack. (Id. ¶¶ 76- 82.) Regarding the January 2014 Slip and Fall, Plaintiff contends that, after he fell, he did not receive adequate medical treatment for his serious injuries. (Id. ¶¶ 86-89, 94, 111-12.)

         Plaintiff claims that these two incidents demonstrate the existence of a civil RICO enterprise conspiracy between a number of defendants to “willfully, maliciously, intentionally, and wantonly harass and injure Plaintiff.” (Id. ¶¶ 330-37.)

         On December 28, 2014, Plaintiff submitted a Standard Form 95 (“SF-95”) to the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”). (Verified Compl., Ex. 16, ECF No. 5.) In his SF-95, Plaintiff describes the January 2014 Slip and Fall, but makes no mention of the October 2013 Attack. (Id.) On June 25, 2015, the BOP rejected Plaintiff's administrative claim. (Id., Ex. 17.) The BOP informed Plaintiff that if he was “not satisfied with this determination, [he was] afforded six months from the date of this letter . . . to bring suit in the appropriate United States District Court.” (Id.) On August 6, 2015 Plaintiff requested an appeal of the BOP's denial of Plaintiff's administrative claim. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he never received a response to the administrative appeal. (Compl. ¶ 62.)


         A court may dismiss a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for lack of a cognizable legal theory or insufficient facts pleaded to support an otherwise cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint need only satisfy the minimal notice pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)(2)-a short and plain statement of the claim. Porter v. Jones, 319 F.3d 483, 494 (9th Cir. 2003). The factual “allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). That is, the complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         The determination of whether a complaint satisfies the plausibility standard is a “context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 679. A court is generally limited to the pleadings and must construe all “factual allegations set forth in the complaint . . . as true and . . . in the light most favorable” to the plaintiff. Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks omitted). But a court need not blindly accept conclusory allegations, unwarranted deductions of fact, and unreasonable inferences. Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001).


         A. United States' ...

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