United States District Court, E.D. California
SCREENING ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS LEAVE TO EITHER
FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT OR NOTICE OF INTENT TO PROCEED ON
CLAIM FOUND TO BE COGNIZABLE (ECF NO. 1)
Ray Brown and Lafrance Ray Brown (collectively
“Plaintiffs”) filed this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court
is Plaintiffs' complaint, filed April 10, 2019. (ECF No.
any filing fee, the court shall dismiss a case if at any time
the Court determines that the complaint “(i) is
frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against
a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2); see Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d
1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000) (section 1915(e) applies to all in
forma pauperis complaints, not just those filed by
prisoners); Calhoun v. Stahl, 254 F.3d 845 (9th Cir.
2001) (dismissal required of in forma pauperis proceedings
which seek monetary relief from immune defendants); Cato
v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995)
(district court has discretion to dismiss in forma pauperis
complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)); Barren v.
Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193 (9th Cir. 1998) (affirming sua
sponte dismissal for failure to state a claim). The Court
exercises its discretion to screen Plaintiffs' complaint
in this action to determine if it “(i) is frivolous or
malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant
who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §
determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim, the
Court uses the same pleading standard used under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 8(a). A complaint must 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)).
reviewing the pro se complaint, the Court is to liberally
construe the pleadings and accept as true all factual
allegations contained in the complaint. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Although a court must
accept as true all factual allegations contained in a
complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal
conclusions as true. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
“[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that are
‘merely consistent with' a defendant's
liability . . . ‘stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of entitlement to
relief.'” Id. (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 557). Therefore, the complaint must contain
sufficient factual content for the court to draw the
reasonable conclusion that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Court accepts Plaintiffs' allegations in the complaint as
true only for the purpose of the sua sponte screening
requirement under 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
are brothers and are African-American. They went to
Martin's Bar or the Saddleback Club on January 12,
2018. Lafrance parked the car in the back parking lot and
then went to the back of the line to enter the bar. A
security guard at the bar created a line in which individuals
could pay $20.00 and not have to wait to enter the bar.
Lafrance went to the front of that line. Rayquan came from
the rear of the building and walked up to the front of the
line. A security guard asked Rayquan if he was trying to
enter the bar from the back door. The security guard told
Rayquan that he would not be allowed to enter the building
and to leave and come back the following weekend.
and the security guard began arguing and at that time the
other security guard noticed a Clovis police officer driving
down Clovis Avenue. The security officer ran into the street
to flag down the officer to help with Rayquan. Lafrance was
still waiting in line and Rayquan began to walk away from the
bar. Sgt. Weibert got out of his car and rushed toward the
parties. Lafrance put his hands up in the air and yelled
repeatedly “it's not me, it's not me.”
Sgt. Weibert rushed toward Lafrance and attacked him,
twisting his left arm. Officer Dronek also rushed up and
attacked Lafrance, grabbing his right arm. Lafrance was
slammed against a wall and the officers yelled for him to
stop resisting and twisted his arms even harder, even though
Lafrance was not resisting.
was walking away because he figured the security guards would
inform the officers that it was not Lafrance who had been
involved in the incident. Lafrance was placed in handcuffs
and put in the back of the patrol car. The officers left
Lafrance in the patrol car for at least twenty minutes.
Lafrance asked Officer Droneck why he was being arrested and
Officer Dronek stated he did not know. Lafrance saw the
security guards talking to the officers pointing to Rayquan
who had been involved in the incident. As he was in the
patrol car, Lafrance saw the officers arrest Rayquan and a
man named Green who had been in line with Lafrance waiting to
enter the bar.
Lafrance waited in the patrol car, the officers and security
guard went into the bar and removed all the other people that
Rayquan came with and made them leave the bar. The security
guard followed Rayquan off the property and when the officers
caught up with him Rayquan was grabbed by the back of the
neck and thrown to the ground. The security guard started
choking Rayquan and told the officer to “get him before
I hurt him.” Rayquan was charged. At his preliminary
hearing, the Clovis Police Department admitted that there was
body cam footage that had been deleted and they did not know
how it had been deleted. The District Attorney dismissed the
charges against Lafrance stating that he did nothing wrong
and Rayquan pled guilty to a misdemeanor.
bring this action against Sgt. Weibert, Officer N. Mason,
Officer C. Taliaferro, Corporal S. Borsch, Officer M.
Bradford, Officer E. Roehlk, Officer E. Taifane, Officer A.
French who are employed by the Clovis Police Department and
Officer Droneck who was the arresting officer. Plaintiffs
allege that they were subjected to an unreasonable search and
seizure in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments
and that they were falsely arrested and other defendants
failed to intervene and did not arrest the security guard for
the threat he made in the officer's presence.
allege that the City of Clovis is aware that a disturbing
number of their police officers use excessive force,
unlawfully search and seize citizens, bring charges against
citizens for with no basis, perjure themselves in charging
instruments and testimony, and fail to intervene in and
report obviously illegal activity by their fellow officers
through lawsuits, notices of complaints, complaints filed
with the Civil Complaint Review Board, and judicial rulings
suppressing evidence and finding officers incredible as a
matter of law.
allege that the defendants had an agreement to attempt to
coverup the assault committed against other officers and
conspired to cover up threats that were made by the security
guard toward Rayquan. In the recording which was played in
court it could be heard that the security guard stated,
“you better get him before I hurt him, ” but part
of the video got mysteriously deleted. Plaintiffs allege that
the officers tried to cover up what really happened by
deleting the body cam footage.
alleged that the City of Clovis was negligent in the hiring
and retention of officers. The City knew or should have known
that the officers were potentially dangerous and had
previously falsely arrested civilians without probable cause.
Plaintiffs seek monetary damages.
1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of a
plaintiff's constitutional or other federal rights by
persons acting under color of state law. Nurre v.
Whitehead, 580 F.3d 1087, 1092 (9th Cir 2009); Long
v. County of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir.
2006); Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th
Cir. 2002). To state a claim under section 1983, a plaintiff
is required to show that (1) each defendant acted under color
of state law and (2) each defendant deprived him of rights
secured by the Constitution or federal law. Long,
442 F.3d at 1185. There is no respondeat superior
liability under section 1983, and therefore, each defendant
is only liable for his or her own misconduct. Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 677. To state a claim against a defendant, the
plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant personally
participated in the deprivation of his rights.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677; Simmons v. Navajo
County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-21 (9th Cir. 2010);
Ewing v. City of Stockton, 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th
Cir. 2009); Jones, 297 F.3d at 934. In other words,
the plaintiff must link named defendant to the conduct that
is alleged to violate the plaintiff's federal rights.
a local government unit may not be held responsible for the
acts of its employees under a respondeat superior
theory of liability. Monell v. Department of Social
Services, 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978). Rather, a local
government unit may only be held liable if it inflicts the
injury complained of through a policy or custom. Waggy v.
Spokane County Washington, 594 F.3d 707, 713 (9th Cir.
bring this action against Officers N. Mason, C. Taliaferro,
M. Bradford, E. Roehlk, E. Taifane, and A. French, and
Corporal S. Borsch; however, the complaint is devoid of
factual allegations that any of these officers were involved
in the incident alleged. Plaintiffs allegations that these
individuals worked for the City of Clovis as police officers
is insufficient to state a claim. Plaintiffs have failed to
state a cognizable claim against Officers Mason, Taliaferro,
Bradford, Roehlk, Taifane, French or Corporal Borsch.
First Cause of Action
first cause of action alleges an unreasonable search and
seizure under the Fourth Amendment and violations of ...