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Spencer v. Sherman

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 2, 2018

EDWARD B. SPENCER, Plaintiff,
v.
STU SHERMAN, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO DISMISS CASE FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (ECF NO. 10) OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN TWENTY-ONE (21) DAYS

         I. BACKGROUND

         Edward B. Spencer (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed the complaint commencing this action on August 1, 2017. (ECF No. 1). He filed a First Amended Complaint on August 14, 2017. (ECF No. 10). Plaintiff alleges that the line for the canteen improperly runs through the sports track. This disturbs the sports happening on and inside the track, and risks injury to the people in line for the canteen through things like collisions with runners on the track.

         For the reasons described below, the Court recommends finding that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for violation of his constitutional rights. The Court also recommends that the assigned district judge dismiss the complaint and close the case. Plaintiff may file objections to these findings and recommendations within 21 days from the date of service of this order.

         II. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

         The 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 or malicious, ” 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). As Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis (ECF No. 7), the Court may also screen the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. “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. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         A complaint is required to 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. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id. at 679. While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, courts “are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences.” Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Additionally, a plaintiff's legal conclusions are not accepted as true. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         Pleadings of pro se plaintiffs “must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (holding that pro se complaints should continue to be liberally construed after Iqbal).

         III. SUMMARY OF PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff is an inmate at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (“SATF”) in Corcoran, California. SATF has approximately seven prison facilities. Each facility has its own canteen for prisoners assigned to their respective yards. When the canteen is open, prisoners are required to form a line where they wait to hand their prison identification cards to canteen staff. On Facility E, prisoners are required to form a line about fifty yards from the canteen window. This is further from the window than canteens on other yards. The designated canteen line for Facility E begins at a point inside the running track and is an area designated for prisoners to play sports such as football, soccer, baseball, handball, and Frisbee. The running track is an area designated for prisoners to run. The canteen is open at the same time that prisoners are using the area inside the running track and the running track.

         Plaintiff alleges that placement of the line inside the track risks harm and serious injury. Defendants McFadden and Fletcher personally observed prisoners in the canteen line move away from prisoners engaged in sports to avoid collision and injury. Plaintiff suffers from disabilities, such as mobility and vision impairment, that make him more likely to be struck by a prisoner engaged in sports.

         Plaintiff states that he “is informed, and hereon alleges” that six named defendants and ten Doe defendants “deliberately chose to locate the prison canteen line, into an area designated for sports, so that Defendants could wager bets related to prisoner injuries inflicted upon prisoners waiting for canteen access by prisoners engaged in sports.” He also states that he “is informed, and hereon alleges, ” that the same sixteen defendants “chose to make prisoners wait in the sports designated area to further their sadistic and malicious goals of exposing prisoners, such as Edward B. Spenser, to an unnecessary risk of injury.”

         Plaintiff proposed an alternate place for the canteen line, but it was refused by Defendants.

         IV. EVALUATION OF PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

         A. ...


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