United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO
HONORABLE STEPHEN V. WILSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
September 11, 2019, plaintiff Mauricio Gonzalez, who is
currently in custody at the California Rehabilitation Center
in Norco, California, is proceeding pro se, and has
been granted leave to proceed without prepayment of filing
fees (“IFP”), filed a Civil Rights Complaint
(“Complaint” or “Comp.”) with an
exhibit (Comp. Ex.) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(“Section 1983”) against the East Los Angeles
Sheriff Department (“Department”). (Comp. at 1,
3). Plaintiff essentially complains about the circumstances
of his detention, and seeks monetary and unspecified
injunctive and declaratory relief. (Comp. at 5-6).
Complaint is deficient in multiple respects, including those
detailed below, it is dismissed with leave to amend.
liberally, the Complaint essentially alleges the following:
unspecified hot and sunny day in the Fall of 2017, between
approximately 12 and 1 p.m., plaintiff, who was with his
brother-in-law, was pulled over in a traffic stop by two
Department deputies - one male and one female - because
plaintiff had paper license plates. (Comp. at 3, 5; Comp. Ex.
¶ 20). The deputies searched and then detained the men
for no apparent reason. (Comp. at 5; Comp. Ex. ¶ 20).
The deputies placed plaintiff in the rear passenger seat of a
black and white patrol unit and kept him there for several
hours without ventilation - the windows were up and the
internal climate unit was off. (Comp. at 5; Comp. Ex. ¶
20). At some point, the heat became unbearable and plaintiff
blacked out. (Comp. at 5; Comp. Ex. ¶ 20). To his shock
and terror, plaintiff regained consciousness in a holding
cell with EKG patches on his body and pain from what an x-ray
revealed to be a dislocated right shoulder. (Comp. at 5).
Plaintiff was fingerprinted and released without further
incident. (Comp. at 5). This incident caused plaintiff
lingering emotional scars, including PTSD and night terrors,
and left him with an irrational fear of authority figures.
(Comp. at 6; Comp. Ex. ¶¶ 19, 21).
appears to claim that the foregoing conduct violated his
Fourth Amendment right to be free from seizure without a
warrant and probable cause and his Eighth Amendment right to
be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
The Screening Requirement
plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding IFP on a civil rights
complaint against governmental defendants, the Court must
screen the Complaint, and is required to dismiss the case at
any time it concludes the action is frivolous or malicious,
fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or
seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from
such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B); Byrd v. Phoenix Police
Department, 885 F.3d 639, 641 (9th Cir. 2018) (citations
screening a complaint to determine whether it states any
claim that is viable, the Court applies the same standard as
it would when evaluating a motion to dismiss under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Rosati v.
Igbinoso, 791 F.3d 1037, 1039 (9th Cir. 2015) (citation
omitted). Rule 12(b)(6), in turn, is read in conjunction with
Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Zixiang Li v. Kerry, 710 F.3d 995, 998-99 (9th Cir.
2013). Under Rule 8, each complaint filed in federal court
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). While Rule 8 does not require detailed
factual allegations, at a minimum a complaint must allege
enough specific facts to provide both “fair
notice” of the particular claim being asserted
and “the grounds upon which [that claim]
rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 & n.3 (2007) (citation and quotation marks
omitted); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (Rule 8 pleading standard “demands more than
an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation”) (citing id. at 555). In addition,
under Rule 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
complaint, among other things, must (1) state the names of
“all the parties” in the caption; (2) state a
party's claims in sequentially “numbered
paragraphs, each limited as far as practicable to a single
set of circumstances”; and (3) where “doing so
would promote clarity, ” state “each claim
founded on a separate transaction or occurrence . . . in a
separate count. . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(a), (b).
avoid dismissal on screening, a complaint must “contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Byrd, 885 F.3d at 642 (citations omitted); see
also Johnson v. City of Shelby, Mississippi, 574 U.S.
10, __, 135 S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014) (per curiam)
(Twombly and Iqbal instruct that plaintiff
“must plead facts sufficient to show that
[plaintiff's] claim has substantive plausibility”).
A claim is “plausible” when the facts alleged in
the complaint would support a reasonable inference that the
plaintiff is entitled to relief from a specific defendant for
specific misconduct. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(citation omitted); see also Keates v. Koile, 883
F.3d 1228, 1242 (9th Cir. 2018) (“[A] [Section 1983]
plaintiff must plead that each Government-official defendant,
through the official's own individual actions, has
violated the Constitution.”) (quoting id. at
676); Gauvin v. Trombatore, 682 F.Supp. 1067, 1071
(N.D. Cal. 1988) (complaint “must allege the basis of
[plaintiff's] claim against each
defendant” to satisfy Rule 8 requirements) (emphasis
added). Allegations that are “merely consistent
with” a defendant's liability, or reflect only
“the mere possibility of misconduct” do not
“show that the pleader is entitled to relief”
(as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)), and thus are
insufficient to state a claim that is “plausible on its
face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79 (citations
and quotation marks omitted).
preliminary stage, “well-pleaded factual
allegations” in a complaint are assumed true, while
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action” and “legal conclusion[s] couched as a
factual allegation” are not. Id. (citation and
quotation marks omitted); Jackson v. Barnes, 749
F.3d 755, 763 (9th Cir. 2014) (“mere legal conclusions