United States District Court, E.D. California
ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a state prisoner proceeding pro se, seeks relief pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and has requested leave to proceed in
forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. He has also
filed motions for preliminary injunction and default
judgment. ECF Nos. 2, 9.
Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
has submitted a declaration that makes the showing required
by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). ECF Nos. 8, 11. Accordingly, the
request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.
is required to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for
this action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a), 1915(b)(1). By
this order, plaintiff will be assessed an initial partial
filing fee in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1). By separate order, the court will direct
the appropriate agency to collect the initial partial filing
fee from plaintiff's trust account and forward it to the
Clerk of the Court. Thereafter, plaintiff will be obligated
for monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding
month's income credited to plaintiff's prison trust
account. These payments will be forwarded by the appropriate
agency to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in
plaintiff's account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee
is paid in full. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints
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 “frivolous,
malicious, or 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).
“is [legally] frivolous where it lacks an arguable
basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v.
Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984).
“[A] judge may dismiss . . . claims which are based on
indisputably meritless legal theories or whose factual
contentions are clearly baseless.” Jackson v.
Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1989) (citation and
internal quotations omitted), superseded by statute on
other grounds as stated in Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d
1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000); Neitzke, 490 U.S. at
327. The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim,
however inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual
basis. Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227-28 (citations
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, ' in order to ‘give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (alteration in
original) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47
(1957)). However, in order to survive dismissal for failure
to state a claim, a complaint must contain more than “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action;” it must contain factual allegations sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. (citations omitted).
“‘[T]he pleading must contain something more . .
. than . . . a statement of facts that merely creates a
suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of
action.'” Id. (alteration in original)
(quoting 5 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller,
Federal Practice and Procedure ' 1216 (3d ed.
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) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). In reviewing a complaint
under this standard, the court must accept as true the
allegations of the complaint in question, Hosp. Bldg. Co.
v. Trs. of the Rex Hosp., 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), as
well as construe the pleading in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff and resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's
favor, Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421
(1969) (citations omitted).
complaint alleges that defendants Martel, Dix, and Gonzales
violated plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights by failing
to protect him from a dangerous living
condition. ECF No. 1. Specifically, plaintiff alleges
that the cell doors at California Health Care Facility (CHCF)
are unsafe because they open outward and do not have any
latches or handles that allow inmates to safely close the
doors themselves when they are inside their cells.
Id. at 5. According to prison policy, after an
inmate returns to his cell, prison staff are responsible for
ensuring that the cell door is securely closed before heading
to the next cell. Id. at 3, 5. However, on November
9, 2016, defendants Dix and Gonzales were returning inmates
to their cells and releasing other inmates when Dix violated
policy by not waiting to close plaintiff's cell door
after he returned to his cell. Id. Instead, he
opened the door and immediately left to let other inmates
out. Id. at 5. Plaintiff then tried to close the
cell door himself by grabbing the side of the cell door and
pulling hard. Id. However, he did not get his hands
out of the way fast enough and his right thumb got caught in
the door and partially amputated. Id. He began
yelling “man down” and Dix and Gonzales
immediately came running and sounded an alarm. Id.
at 5-6. Plaintiff was rushed out to the hospital where they
tried to save his thumb. Id. at 6. He now has
permanent nerve damage and disfiguration. Id.
Defendant Martel is the warden at CHCF. Id. at 7.
Failure to State a Claim