United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE
P. ROSENBLUTH U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
20, 2019, Plaintiff, a state inmate proceeding pro se, filed
a civil-rights action against Defendant Chocano Christian in
his official capacity, seeking compensatory damages and
possibly “plasti[c] surgery” and
“therapy.” (Compl. at 3, 6.) He was
subsequently granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
Plaintiff's claims arise from his arrest on unspecified
charges, during which Defendant, an Inglewood Police
Department police officer, allegedly deployed a police dog
against him after he had surrendered.
screening the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2) and 1915A, the Court finds that his allegations
fail to state a claim on which relief might be granted.
Because at least some of his claims might be cured by
amendment, they are dismissed with leave to amend. See
Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130-31 (9th Cir. 2000)
(en banc) (holding that pro se litigant must be given leave
to amend complaint unless absolutely clear that deficiencies
cannot be cured). If Plaintiff desires to pursue any of his
claims, he is ORDERED to file a first amended complaint
within 28 days of the date of this order, remedying the
deficiencies discussed below.
December 7, 2017, at “approximately around 10:30/11:00
a.m., ” Defendant “attempted to detain
[Plaintiff].” (Compl. at 1; see id. at 2.)
Although Defendant “gave no direction” that he
was under arrest, he nonetheless got down on the ground with
his hands on his head. (Id. at 1.) While he was
“subdu[ed]” on the ground, Defendant allegedly
“deployed” a police dog against him.
(Id.) The dog “vi[ci]ously” bit his
right ear, left bicep, arm, and neck. (Id.) He was
then “arrest[ed].” (Id. at 5.) In the
arrest report, Defendant “false[ly]” stated that
the police dog bit Plaintiff in the leg and chest and only
after he had “kicked” and punched it and had
attempted to “evade arrest.” (Id.) He
doesn't state what crime he was arrested for but asserts
that because he wasn't charged with “assault on a
police officer” or “evad[ing” arrest,
” Defendant must be lying. (Id.)
claims that “[e]verything that transpired was . . .
premeditated through care less [sic] racism and
neglect” and that he was “harass[ed]” and
“racial[ly] profil[ed].” (Id. at 3, 6.)
He also contends that his “right to be treated
equal” under the 14th Amendment was violated, his
“22nd Amendment” right was violated through
“accessive [sic] brutal force, ” and his right to
“life liberty and property” under the Declaration
of Independence “was abused.” (Id. at
5.) He requests compensatory damages, including that his
“plasti[c] surgery bills” be paid. (Id.
complaint may be dismissed as a matter of law for failure to
state a claim “where there is no cognizable legal
theory or an absence of sufficient facts alleged to support a
cognizable legal theory.” Shroyer v. New Cingular
Wireless Servs., Inc., 622 F.3d 1035, 1041 (9th Cir.
2010) (as amended) (citation omitted); accord O'Neal
v. Price, 531 F.3d 1146, 1151 (9th Cir. 2008). In
considering whether a complaint states a claim, a court must
generally accept as true all the factual allegations in it.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009);
Hamilton v. Brown, 630 F.3d 889, 892-93 (9th Cir.
2011). The court need not accept as true, however,
“allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted
deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences.” In
re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th
Cir. 2008) (citation omitted); see also Shelton v.
Chorley, 487 Fed.Appx. 388, 389 (9th Cir. 2012) (finding
that district court properly dismissed civil-rights claim
when plaintiff's “conclusory allegations” did
not support it).
a complaint need not include detailed factual allegations, it
“must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
570 (2007)); Yagman v. Garcetti, 852 F.3d 859, 863
(9th Cir. 2017). A claim is facially plausible when it
“allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “A document filed pro
se is ‘to be liberally construed,' and ‘a pro
se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007) (per curiam) (citations omitted); Byrd v.
Phx. Police Dep't, 885 F.3d 639, 642 (9th Cir. 2018)
The Complaint Does Not State Any Official-Capacity
sues Defendant exclusively in his official capacity. (Compl.
at 3.) The Supreme Court has held that an
“official-capacity suit is, in all respects other than
name, to be treated as a suit against the entity.”
Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166 (1985);
see also Brandon v. Holt, 469 U.S. 464, 471-72
(1985). Such a suit “is not a suit against the
official personally, for the real party in interest is the
entity.” Graham, 473 U.S. at 166 (emphasis in
and local-government entities are considered
“persons” under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
therefore may be liable for causing a constitutional
deprivation. See Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs.,
436 U.S. 658, 690-91, 694 (1978); see also Long v. Cnty.
of L.A., 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006). California
police departments are independently suable public entities.
See Streit v. Cnty. of L.A., 236 F.3d 552, 565 (9th
Cir. 2001) (citing Shaw v. Cal. Dep't of Alcoholic
Beverage Control, 788 F.2d 600, 605 (9th Cir. 1986), and
Karim-Panahi v. L.A. Police Dep't, 839 F.2d 621,
624 n.2 (9th Cir. 1988)). Because no respondeat superior
liability exists under § 1983, a municipality is liable
only for injuries that arise from an official policy or
longstanding custom. Monell, 436 U.S. at 694;
City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 385-87
(1989). A plaintiff must show “that a [municipal]
employee committed the alleged constitutional violation
pursuant to a formal governmental policy or a longstanding
practice or custom which constitutes the standard operating
procedure of the local governmental entity.”
Gillette v. Delmore, 979 F.2d 1342, 1346 (9th Cir.
1992) (per curiam) (citation omitted).
addition, a plaintiff must allege facts demonstrating that
the policy was “(1) the cause in fact and (2) the
proximate cause of the constitutional deprivation.”
Trevino v. Gates, 99 F.3d 911, 918 (9th Cir. 1996).
“Liability for improper custom may not be predicated on
isolated or sporadic incidents; it must be founded upon
practices of sufficient duration, frequency and consistency
that the conduct has become a traditional method of carrying
out policy.” Id.; see also Thompson v.
City of L.A., 885 F.2d 1439, 1443-44 (9th Cir. 1989)
(“Consistent with the commonly understood meaning of
custom, proof of random acts or isolated events are [sic]
insufficient to establish custom.”), overruled on
other grounds by Bull v. City & Cnty. of S.F., 595
F.3d 964, 981 (9th Cir. 2010) (en banc). “A custom can
be shown or a policy can be inferred from widespread
practices or ...