United States District Court, N.D. California, Eureka Division
LEWIS W. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
PATRICIA HERNANDEZ, et al., Defendants.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND RE: DKT. NO.
M. ILLMAN United States Magistrate Judge
a state prisoner, filed a pro se civil rights complaint under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. He has been granted leave to proceed
in forma pauperis.
courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in
which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or
officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). In the course of this 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 those which seek monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See
id. at 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).
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.” While specific facts are not
necessary, the statement should impart fair notice of the
nature of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007). While it
is true that a complaint “does not need detailed
factual allegations . . . 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 . . . [the] [f]actual 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
therefore proffer “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at
570. The “plausible on its face” standard of
Twombly has been explained as such: “[w]hile
legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint,
they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are
well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their
veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise
to an entitlement to relief.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by
the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated;
and, (2) that the alleged deprivation was committed by a
person acting under the color of state law. West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
alleges that he tripped and fell at his prison job severely
Constitution does not mandate comfortable prisons, but
neither does it permit inhumane ones. See Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). The treatment a
prisoner receives in prison and the conditions under which he
is confined are subject to scrutiny under the Eighth
Amendment. See Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 31
(1993). In its prohibition of “cruel and unusual
punishment, ” the Eighth Amendment places restraints on
prison officials, who may not, for example, use excessive
force against prisoners. See Hudson v. McMillian,
503 U.S. 1, 6-7 (1992). The Amendment also imposes duties on
these officials, who must provide all prisoners with the
basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, shelter,
sanitation, medical care and personal safety. See
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 832. A prison official violates the
Eighth Amendment when two requirements are met: (1) the
deprivation alleged must be, objectively, sufficiently
serious, Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834 (citing Wilson
v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991)), and (2) the prison
official possesses a sufficiently culpable state of mind,
id. (citing Wilson, 501 U.S. at 297).
negligence nor gross negligence will constitute deliberate
indifference. See Farmer at 835-37 & n.4. A
prison official cannot be held liable under the Eighth
Amendment for denying a prisoner humane conditions of
confinement unless the standard for criminal recklessness is
met, that is, the official knows of and disregards an
excessive risk to inmate health or safety. See id.
a § 1983 or a Bivens action - where masters do
not answer for the torts of their servants - the term
‘supervisory liability' is a misnomer. Absent
vicarious liability, each Government official, his or her
title notwithstanding, is only liable for his or her own
misconduct.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677 (finding
under Twombly, 550 U.S. at 544, and Rule 8 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, that complainant-detainee
in a Bivens action failed to plead sufficient facts
“plausibly showing” that top federal officials
“purposely adopted a policy of classifying
post-September-11 detainees as ‘of high interest'
because of their race, religion, or national origin”
over more likely and non-discriminatory explanations).
supervisor may be liable under section 1983 upon a showing of
(1) personal involvement in the constitutional deprivation or
(2) a sufficient causal connection between the
supervisor's wrongful conduct and the constitutional
violation. Henry A. v. Willden, 678 F.3d 991,
1003-04 (9th Cir. 2012). Even if a supervisory official is
not directly involved in the allegedly unconstitutional
conduct, “[a] supervisor can be liable in this
individual capacity for his own culpable action or inaction
in the training, supervision, or control of his subordinates;
for his acquiescence in the constitutional deprivation; or
for conduct that showed a reckless or callous indifference to
the rights of others.” Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d
1202, 1208 (9th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). The claim that
a 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.'” Keates v.
Koile, 883 F.3d 1228, 1243 (9th Cir. 2018) (quoting
Starr, 652 F.3d at 1208) (finding that conclusory
allegations that supervisor promulgated unconstitutional
policies and procedures which authorized unconstitutional
conduct of subordinates do not suffice to state a claim of
states that while working at his job at a warehouse in the
prison, he tripped over a hazard and suffered a severe
injury. Compl. (dkt. 1) at 3. Plaintiff adds that
Defendants failed to provide a safe work environment, and
neglected to identify and repair an unspecified tripping
hazard. Id. While Plaintiff identities three
Defendants on the coversheet of the Complaint, Plaintiff
fails to describe their individual actions or omissions in
the body of the Complaint. To proceed with a civil rights
action, Plaintiff must identify the specific actions of each
individual defendant and describe how they violated his
constitutional rights. If a defendant is a supervisor,
Plaintiff must describe that person's involvement.
Plaintiff must also provide more information regarding the
hazard that caused him to fall. Plaintiff is also ...