United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER OF SERVICE RE: DKT. NOS. 14, 15
ILLSTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Keith Bell, an inmate currently housed at the San Francisco
County Jail, filed this pro se prisoner's civil
rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The court
dismissed an earlier pleading with leave to amend. Bell's
second amended complaint is now before the court for review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. His motion for a default
judgment also is before the court.
second amended complaint, Bell alleges the following about
events that occurred while he was in custody at the San
Francisco County Jail # 2:
January 18, 2018, sergeant Williams told Bell that Bell was
moving to a different cell. Bell asked why and to where he
was being moved, which sergeant Williams “took . . . as
an act of refusal to move.” Docket No. 14 at 7.
Sergeant Williams left to speak to watch commander captain
Fisher. Lieutenant Deguzman came and spoke to Bell about the
move, after which Bell agreed, packed his personal
belongings, and put them on top of the bed. When sergeant
Williams returned, Bell was packed and seated on his
wheelchair with his hands up. Id. at 7-8. Sergeant
Williams called for deputies to assist in a cell extraction.
Bell told Williams that Bell did not want to get hurt and was
ready to move cells. Id. at 8. At sergeant
Williams' direction, several deputies ordered Bell out of
his wheelchair and made Bell (who has only one leg) hop to a
safety cell, “a distance that was physically
impossible.” Id. Bell “tried to reason
with sgt. Williams that he only had one leg and his body
weight was too much to hop the distance, ” but was
ordered not to talk to Williams. Id. Bell fell on
his way to the safety cell due to the difficulty of hopping
that distance, experiencing “sharp pains and extreme
physical exertion.” Id. At sergeant
Williams' direction, the deputies dragged Bell to the
safety cell, stripped him of his clothes, and left him in the
safety cell for 24 hours. Id. As the watch commander
at the jail, captain Fisher must approve all safety cell
placements. Id. at 9. There was no “justified
merit to admit Bell” to the safety cell, as he was not
posing a threat to himself or others. Id.
urges that the City and County of San Francisco and the San
Francisco Sheriff's Department should be held liable for
failure to train employees on proper procedures to transport
physically disabled inmates. Id. at 9.
City and County of San Francisco and the San Francisco
Sheriff's Department failed to provide an
“assistance device for transportation, ” which
Bell needed due to an above-the-knee leg amputation.
Id. at 2.
apparently is a longtime pretrial detainee. See
Docket No. 138 in Bell v. Lee, No. 13-cv-5820 SI
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). 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)(1), (2). Pro se complaints must be
liberally construed. See Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d
338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010).
Due Process Claims
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).
pretrial detainee challenges conditions of his confinement,
the proper inquiry is whether the conditions amount to
punishment in violation of the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment. See Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S.
520, 535 n.16 (1979). The state may detain a pretrial
detainee “to ensure his presence at trial and may
subject him to the restrictions and conditions of the
detention facility so long as those conditions and
restrictions do not amount to punishment or otherwise violate
the Constitution.” Id. at 536-37. If a
particular condition or restriction of pretrial detention is
reasonably related to a legitimate governmental objective it
does not, without more, amount to “punishment.”
See Id. at 539.
construed, the second amended complaint states a cognizable
§ 1983 claim against sergeant Williams for a due process
violation by making Bell hop on one leg a substantial
distance and then having him dragged to the safety cell when
he could hop no further (even though there was a wheelchair
immediately available to use to transport him to the safety
cell). Liberally construed, the second amended complaint
states a cognizable § 1983 claim against sergeant
Williams and captain Fisher for a ...