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Young v. Lee

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 29, 2018

RONNIE G. YOUNG, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPUTY LEE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          CAROLYN K. DELANEY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se. Plaintiff 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. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         Plaintiff has submitted a declaration that makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Accordingly, the motion to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.

         Plaintiff is required to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for this action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a), 1915(b)(1). Plaintiff has been without funds for six months and is currently without funds. Accordingly, the court will not assess an initial partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Plaintiff is obligated for monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding month's income credited to plaintiff's prison trust account. These payments shall be collected and 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).

         I. Screening Standard

         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). A claim is legally frivolous when 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). The court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual basis. See Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1989); Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227.

         In order to avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim a complaint must contain more than “naked assertions, ” “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-557 (2007). In other words, “[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). Furthermore, a claim upon which the court can grant relief has facial plausibility. 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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. When considering whether a complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court must accept the allegations as true, Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007), and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, see Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974).

         II. Allegations in the Complaint

         While an inmate at the San Joaquin County Jail awaiting transport to state prison, plaintiff alleges that he was beaten by various deputies on January 19, 2016. Plaintiff is a hearing impaired inmate who uses hearing aids in both ears. ECF No. 1 at 28. On the date of the incident, plaintiff alleges that “a number of sheriffs/officers, came to the cell stating something I could not make out without my hearing aids[.] I flushed the toilet and was jerked off the toilet with my pants down and was brutally beaten by deputies ledesma, lee, martinez, and others[. D]eputy lee was hitting me with either a baton or flashlight delivering especially injurious blows to my head, face, neck, spine, legs, ribs, front torso and arms.” Id. Plaintiff further alleges that his immediate requests for medical attention were ignored, but plaintiff does not identify any defendant who was responsible for refusing him medical treatment. After plaintiff was transferred to a state prison, he received an x-ray indicating that two of his ribs were fractured. ECF No. 1 at 14.

         III. Analysis

         Plaintiff's complaint states a cognizable claim for the excessive use of force under the Eighth Amendment and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) against defendants Deputy Lee, Deputy Ledesma, and Deputy Martinez. If the allegations of the complaint are proven, plaintiff has a reasonable opportunity to prevail on the merits of this action.

         Since plaintiff does not identify any individual defendant responsible for the alleged denial and/or delay of medical treatment following the incident, the court finds that plaintiff has failed to allege an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim. However, the court will grant leave to amend this claim.

         Additionally, the court notes that there are no allegations against Sergeant S. Williams who is identified as a defendant in the complaint. Plaintiff must allege with at least some degree of particularity overt acts which defendant Williams engaged in that support plaintiff's claim. Jones v. Cmty. Redev. Agency, 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984). The court will grant plaintiff leave to amend his complaint with respect to defendant Sergeant S. Williams.

         IV. Deliberate Indifference to ...


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