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Sekona v. Trujillo

United States District Court, E.D. California

December 27, 2019

ETUATE SEKONA, Plaintiff,
v.
R. TRUJILLO, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION, WITH PREJUDICE, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM FOR RELIEF (ECF NO. 16)

          BARBARA A. McAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Etuate Sekona (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's first amended complaint, filed on December 16, 2019, is currently before the Court for screening. (ECF No. 16.)

         I. Screening Requirement and Standard

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b).

         A complaint 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). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, courts “are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences.” Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         II. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff is currently housed at Kern Valley State Prison (“KVSP”), where the events in the complaint are alleged to have occurred. Plaintiff names the following defendants: (1) Raquel Trujillo, Correctional Counselor; (2) L. Martinez, (3) A. Sotelo, and (4) Sillas.

         Plaintiff was moved to KVSP in November 2016. He saw the ICC committee on November 29, 2016, which let Plaintiff keep his single cell status. On his annual review, on January 25, 2018, his counselor Defendant R. Trujillo, CCII counselor, moved and recommended to ICC committee to deny Plaintiff's single cell status. Trujillo did this intentionally and with knowledge that Plaintiff's safety was at risk. Plaintiff asked Trujillo and requested of her that it was a mistake to take him off single cell because he was assaulted once in MCSP (Mule Creek State Prison) on June 24, 2014, causing great harm. Plaintiff is an ADA disability from this assault, uses a wheelchair and unable to defend himself. Plaintiff was afraid of another attack inside by his cell mate again. Trujillo said that he would have to wait for his next annual review in 2019. He told her he would be assaulted again before his next annual review. On November 17, 2018, Plaintiff was assaulted by his cell mate causing a concussion, head and face injuries, including bleeding to his brain. He was hospitalized for 2 days and continues to suffer loss of memory loss, dizziness, and headaches.

         Plaintiff alleges that the four named defendants “intentionally knowledge failure to acted to protected me from another risk or dangerous to my safety and security.” (ECF No. 16, p. 4 [text unedited].) Plaintiff alleges a conspiracy with defendant Sillas and the chair of the ICC, Defendant Martinez, which deprived him of his right to protection of single cell status.

         Plaintiff also complains about being convicted, “wrongfully convicted to C-Status, ” which added another 30-60 days to his sentence, and placed in the hole for 6 months. He was also deprived of his food, hot pot, T.V., fan. This was done in retaliation of his first amendment rights “because of my request of single cell.” (ECF No. 16, p.6.) Plaintiff claims that being placed in the hole and adding time to his sentence was violation of his 5th Amendment right against double jeopardy.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Martinez was the chairman of the ICC on January 10, 2019. He, “with intentional knowledge, ” conspired with Defendants Trujillo and Sillas to deny Plaintiff's safety and security from another assault. Plaintiff asked Defendant Sillas several times for single cell status, but Sillas retaliated against Plaintiff and refused to give him single cell status. Plaintiff was put on C-status, in the hole, in discrimination for his race and ADA disability. Plaintiff was not fighting with his cellmate and wrongly convicted. Defendant Sotelo was the hearing officer and heard his case on November 28, 2018 and again on December 29, 2018 because of fraudulent reports. There was no investigation or witnesses called in denial of due process. Sotelo was racist.

         Defendants did this conduct in their individuals and official capacities. Plaintiff seeks damages.

         III. Discussion

         A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8

         Plaintiff's complaint fails to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. Pursuant to Rule 8, a complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citation omitted). Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.; see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-557; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         As indicated above, Plaintiff's complaint is short but it is not a plain statement of his claims. It contains multiple incoherent phrases and conclusory statements. It is less clear than the original complaint. As pled, Plaintiff's complaint does not clearly and succinctly state what happened or when it happened. Absent clear factual allegations, the Court can neither ...


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