United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER OF SERVICE Docket No. 1
M. Chen United States District Judge
Woods, a prisoner at the California State Prison - Corcoran,
filed this pro se civil rights action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. His complaint is now before the court for
review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
complaint alleges the following about events that occurred in
May 2015 at Salinas Valley State Prison:
prison overcrowding, Salinas Valley officials were re-housing
some inmates. Officials devised a scheme to house security
threat group (STG) inmates with non-STG inmates in hopes that
one of them would object and thereby earn a trip to
April 2015, Mr. Woods was single-celled. In an effort to
thwart any effort to house him in an unfavorable situation,
he found a compatible potential cellmate and asked his
housing officer to be housed with this inmate. Staff did not
implement Mr. Woods’ request.
14, 2015, correctional officer (C/O) Marquez said Mr. Woods
was going to be housed with an inmate Mr. Woods did not know.
Mr. Woods asked about his earlier request to be housed with
the compatible potential cellmate. This inquiry irritated C/O
Marquez, who asked if Mr. Woods was refusing the ordered
move. Mr. Woods said he was not refusing but wanted a
compatible cellmate; Mr. Woods asked to speak to a
supervisor, which further irritated C/O Marquez. C/O Marquez
took Mr. Woods to a program office and made him wait outside
while C/O Marquez went inside. About 20 minutes later C/O
Marquez and C/O Cardona came out of the office. They grabbed
Mr. Woods and slammed him against a wall, yelling
“here’s your fucken rights, ” and then
dragged him into the program office where they slammed him
into a steel cage and dislocated his shoulder. Docket No. 1
at 7 (error in source). Correctional lieutenant Celaya and
C/O Correa supervised the use of force on Mr. Woods. They
also told Mr. Woods that it was the “direct result of
plaintiff not following instructions to cell up with who they
tell him to cell up with and next time plaintiff will think
twice about complying with their orders.” Id.
at 8. Lieutenant Celaya and C/O Correa declined to obtain
immediate medical attention for Mr. Woods and told him he
could get medical attention in administrative segregation.
federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any
case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental
entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
See 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 Id
. at § 1915A(b). Pro se pleadings must be
liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
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. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S.
42, 48 (1988).
unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain on a prisoner
amounts to cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the
Eight Amendment. Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312,
319 (1986). “[W]henever prison officials stand accused
of using excessive physical force in violation of the Cruel
and Unusual Punishments Clause, the core judicial inquiry is
. . . whether force was applied in a good-faith effort to
maintain or restore discipline, or maliciously and
sadistically to cause harm. Hudson v. McMillian, 503
U.S. 1, 6-7 (1992). Liberally construed, the complaint states
a cognizable claim against defendants Marquez, Cardona,
Celaya and Correa for the use of excessive force on Mr.
Woods. Although defendants Celaya and Correa are not alleged
to have personally applied force to Mr. Woods, they are
alleged to have directed and supervised the use of force, and
that allegation is sufficient to state a claim against them.
See generally Keates v. Koile, 883 F.3d 1228, 1243
(9th Cir. 2018) (claim that supervisory official “knew
of unconstitutional conditions and ‘culpable actions of
his subordinates’ but failed to act amounts to
‘acquiescence in the unconstitutional conduct of his
subordinates’ and is ‘sufficient to state a claim
of supervisory liability’”); Robins v.
Meecham, 60 F.3d 1436, 1442 (9th Cir. 1995) (prison
official’s failure to intervene to prevent 8th
Amendment violation may be basis for liability).
the prison context, a viable claim of First Amendment
retaliation entails five basic elements: (1) An assertion
that a state actor took some adverse action against an inmate
(2) because of (3) that prisoner's protected conduct, and
that such action (4) chilled the inmate's exercise of his
First Amendment rights, and (5) the action did not reasonably
advance a legitimate correctional goal. Rhodes v.
Robinson, 408 F.3d 559, 567-68 (9th Cir. 2005) (footnote
omitted). The complaint alleges that the defendants used
excessive force on Mr. Woods to retaliate against him for
questioning why he was not allowed to have his chosen
potential compatible cellmate rather than accept a cellmate
of correctional staff’s choosing. Liberally construed,
the complaint states a cognizable claim against defendants
Marquez, Cardona, Celaya and Correa for retaliation against
indifference to an inmate’s serious medical needs
violates the Eighth Amendment’s proscription against
cruel and unusual punishment. See Estelle v. Gamble,
429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); Toguchi v. Chung, 391 F.3d
1051, 1057 (9th Cir. 2004). To establish an Eighth Amendment
claim on a condition of confinement, such as medical care, a
prisoner-plaintiff must show: (1) an objectively,
sufficiently serious, deprivation, and (2) the official was,
subjectively, deliberately indifferent to the inmate’s
health or safety. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 834 (1994). Liberally construed, the complaint states a
cognizable claim against defendants Celaya and Correa for