United States District Court, E.D. California
M. COTA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court
is plaintiff's complaint (ECF No. 1).
court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint or
portion thereof if it: (1) is frivolous or malicious; (2)
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; or
(3) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2).
Moreover, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that
complaints contain a “. . . short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This means that claims
must be stated simply, concisely, and directly. See
McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177 (9th Cir. 1996)
(referring to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e)(1)). These rules are
satisfied if the complaint gives the defendant fair notice of
the plaintiff's claim and the grounds upon which it
rests. See Kimes v. Stone, 84 F.3d 1121, 1129 (9th
Cir. 1996). Because plaintiff must allege with at least some
degree of particularity overt acts by specific defendants
which support the claims, vague and conclusory allegations
fail to satisfy this standard. Additionally, it is impossible
for the court to conduct the screening required by law when
the allegations are vague and conclusory.
names the following as defendants: (1) the Sacramento County
Sheriff's Department; and (2) Deputy Morgan. See
ECF No. 1, pg. 2. Plaintiff's complaint concerns the
conditions of his confinement at the Sacrament County Jail
between December 2018 and February 2019. See id. at
3-5. Plaintiff raises three claims - an Eighth Amendment
claim related to his housing, an Eighth Amendment excessive
force claim, and a due process claim related to a
disciplinary proceeding. See id.
- Plaintiff, who says he is disabled and entitled to
accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), alleges that between December 20, 2018, and January
17, 2019, he was housed in a cell with a cellmate who is also
disabled and has a chrono for a lower bunk. See id.
at 3. As a result, plaintiff says he was forced to sleep on
the floor with his head just inches away from the toilet.
See id. According to plaintiff: “I have argued
the fact that I need to be better accomadated [sic] for my
disability but to no avail.” Id. Plaintiff
does not state to whom he “argued.”
Force - Plaintiff alleges that defendant Morgan, a
deputy at the Sacramento County Jail, “forcefully
slammed” plaintiff to the ground during a cell move on
February 13, 2019. Id. at 4. Plaintiff states he
sustained physical injuries as a result. See id.
Hearing - Plaintiff states he received a “write-up
hearing” on February 15, 2019, and was found guilty
without being provided an opportunity to be heard. See
id. at 5. According to plaintiff: “my statement
was manipulated” and he was sent to segregation.
court finds plaintiff's complaint alleges a cognizable
Eighth Amendment excessive force claim against defendant
Morgan. Otherwise, as discussed below, plaintiff does not
allege sufficient facts to sustain an Eighth Amendment claim
related to his housing or a due process claim arising from
the disciplinary hearing.
Eighth Amendment Claims
treatment a prisoner receives in prison and the conditions
under which the prisoner is confined are subject to scrutiny
under the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual
punishment. See Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 31
(1993); Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994).
The Eighth Amendment “. . . embodies broad and
idealistic concepts of dignity, civilized standards,
humanity, and decency.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 102 (1976). Conditions of confinement may, however,
be harsh and restrictive. See Rhodes v. Chapman, 452
U.S. 337, 347 (1981). Nonetheless, prison officials must
provide prisoners with “food, clothing, shelter,
sanitation, medical care, and personal safety.”
Toussaint v. McCarthy, 801 F.2d 1080, 1107 (9th Cir.
1986). A prison official violates the Eighth Amendment only
when two requirements are met: (1) objectively, the
official's act or omission must be so serious such that
it results in the denial of the minimal civilized measure of
life's necessities; and (2) subjectively, the prison
official must have acted unnecessarily and wantonly for the
purpose of inflicting harm. See Farmer, 511 U.S. at
834. Thus, to violate the Eighth Amendment, a prison official
must have a “sufficiently culpable mind.” See
plaintiff alleges constitutionally deficient housing
conditions, specifically that his disability was not
accommodated and, as a result, he was forced to sleep on the
floor with his head inches from the toilet. While plaintiff
has arguably alleged facts sufficient to show deficient
living conditions, plaintiff has not linked those facts to
any named defendant. He does not claim ...