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Lees v. Singsong

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 24, 2019

SINGSONG, et al., Defendants.




         Plaintiff, an inmate at Pelican Bay State Prison, filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 regarding events that took place at Salinas Valley State Prison (“SVSP”). His amended complaint (Dkt. No. 15) is now before the Court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.


         A. Standard of Review

         A federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity, or from an officer or an employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the Court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) (1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

         Federal 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citations omitted). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570.

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated; and (2) that the violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

         B. Complaint

         The complaint makes the following allegations.

         Plaintiff is a chronic-care patient in that he suffers from chronic lower back pain and has a diagnosed disc disease and left side nerve damage. Per his chrono, he is entitled to special cuffing. Plaintiff has also been diagnosed with claustrophobia. ECF No. 15 at 3, 8-10, 18.

         On April 2, 2017, while incarcerated at SVSP, Plaintiff suffered injuries from being attacked and beaten. Plaintiff was handcuffed by defendant Officer Mariscal behind the back despite his special cuffing chrono, exacerbating Plaintiff's pain. Plaintiff requested medical attention. Plaintiff was forcefully snatched off the floor, causing him excruciating pain, and he was made to walk to medical despite severe cramping in his legs. Approximately thirty to forty yards from medical, Plaintiff's back spasmed and he fell to the floor and fainted. Plaintiff was carried into B-Facility Medical where LVN Singsong was. Plaintiff alleges that defendant LVN Singsong was negligent and deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's medical needs because defendant Singsong failed to respond to the “all-code-calls alarms” and did not rush to provide immediate medical attention. When Plaintiff regained consciousness, he was surrounded by Defendant Singsong, Defendant Mariscal and defendant Officer Ponce. Someone yelled that Plaintiff was faking and threw Plaintiff into a wheelchair. Plaintiff begged for medical assistance but instead he was restrained in the wheelchair and taken to a holding cage in the B-Facility gym. Plaintiff was ordered to enter the cage, even though he was suffering from overwhelmingly painful back spasms and leg cramps and even though he suffered from claustrophobia. Defendant Officer Hogeland ordered Defendant Singsong to leave the gym. Defendant Hogeland snatched Plaintiff from the wheelchair and proceeded to beat, pummel and kick Plaintiff. Plaintiff passed out from the beating. Plaintiff was then transferred to CTC Medical for emergency treatment. Defendants Singsong, Ponce, Mariscal, and Hogeland falsified statements regarding the beating suffered by Plaintiff in the gym. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants were required to step in and stop the use of excessive or unnecessary force, verbally report such use of force, and then document such use of force. Dkt. No. 15 at 4-6.

         C. ...

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