United States District Court, N.D. California, Eureka Division
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND RE: DKT. NO.
M. ILLMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a federal prisoner, filed a pro se civil rights
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has been
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and has
consented to the jurisdiction of a Magistrate Judge (dkt. 5).
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 seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 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 defendants failed to protect him from an assault
by another inmate.
Eighth Amendment requires that prison officials take
reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of prisoners.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). In
particular, prison officials have a duty to protect prisoners
from violence at the hands of other prisoners. Id.
at 833; Cortez v. Skol, 776 F.3d 1046, 1050 (9th
Cir. 2015); Hearns v. Terhune, 413 F.3d 1036, 1040
(9th Cir. 2005). The failure of prison officials to protect
inmates from attacks by other inmates or from dangerous
conditions at the prison violates the Eighth Amendment when
two requirements are met: (1) the deprivation alleged is,
objectively, sufficiently serious; and (2) the prison
official is, subjectively, deliberately indifferent to inmate
health or safety. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. A prison
official is deliberately indifferent if she or he knows of
and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or safety
by failing to take reasonable steps to abate it. 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
argues that he was mistakenly released from federal custody
and transferred to San Quentin State Prison
(“SQSP”) while he awaited deportation by federal
authorities. Compl. (dkt. 1) at 3. At SQSP Plaintiff
was walking to his housing unit when a riot broke out on the
yard, during which he was assaulted by an unknown individual.
Id. Plaintiff states he was rendered unconscious and
suffered serious injuries, and that while he was recovering
from his injuries he was deported to Mexico. Id.
While it is unclear, it appears that this incident may have
occurred sometime between 2013 and 2015. See id. at
the Complaint is dismissed with leave to amend such that
Plaintiff can provide more information. The only Defendants
are the Warden of SQSP, the Sheriff of Santa Clara County,
and the Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
However, plaintiff fails to describe the actions of any
particular Defendant, or any individual. To state an Eighth
Amendment violation, Plaintiff must identify specific
defendants, and then describe how they were deliberately
indifferent to his safety. Simply stating that there was a
riot and plaintiff was injured is insufficient. Plaintiff
must present allegations that Defendants knew of and
disregarded a risk to his safety and failed to take
reasonable steps to protect him. That some of these
Defendants are supervisors is insufficient. Plaintiff must
describe either personal involvement in the ...