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Brooks v. Corrections Corporation of America

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

August 28, 2013

Donimic T. Brooks, Plaintiff,
v.
Corrections Corporation of America, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

ROBERT C. BROOMFIELD, Senior District Judge.

On February 1, 2013, Plaintiff Donimic T. Brooks, who is confined in the Corrections Corporation of America's Saguaro Correctional Center (CCA-SCC) in Eloy, Arizona, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1), a Declaration in Support, a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 3), and a Declaration in Support of Request to Proceed Without Paying Filing Fee ("First Application to Proceed"). On February 13, 2013, he filed a Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis ("Second Application to Proceed"). On February 26, 2013, Plaintiff filed an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis by a Prisoner ("Third Application to Proceed") and a Motion for Appointment of Counsel (Doc. 8).

In an April 25, 2013 Order, the Court denied the three deficient Applications to Proceed and gave Plaintiff 30 days to pay the filing fee or file a complete Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. On May 17, 2013, Plaintiff filed another Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 10).

I. May 17 Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and Filing Fee

Plaintiff's May 17 Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis will be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Plaintiff must pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $4.12. The remainder of the fee will be collected monthly in payments of 20% of the previous month's income each time the amount in the account exceeds $10.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The Court will enter a separate Order requiring the appropriate government agency to collect and forward the fees according to the statutory formula.

II. Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or an employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if a plaintiff has raised claims that are legally frivolous or malicious, that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2).

A pleading 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) (emphasis added). While Rule 8 does not demand detailed factual allegations, "it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id.

"[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is]... a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679. Thus, although a plaintiff's specific factual allegations may be consistent with a constitutional claim, a court must assess whether there are other "more likely explanations" for a defendant's conduct. Id. at 681.

But as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has instructed, courts must "continue to construe pro se filings liberally." Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). A "complaint [filed by a pro se prisoner] must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Id. (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) ( per curiam )).

If the Court determines that a pleading could be cured by the allegation of other facts, a pro se litigant is entitled to an opportunity to amend a complaint before dismissal of the action. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127-29 (9th Cir. 2000) ( en banc ). The Court should not, however, advise the litigant how to cure the defects. This type of advice "would undermine district judges' role as impartial decisionmakers." Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231 (2004); see also Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1131 n.13 (declining to decide whether the court was required to inform a litigant of deficiencies). The Court will dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to state a claim, but because the Complaint may possibly be saved by amendment, will dismiss the Complaint with leave to amend.

III. Complaint

In his one-count Complaint, Plaintiff sues the following Defendants: Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), Saguaro Correctional Center Medical Branch, Medical Unit Manager Patti Sells, and Head Warden Todd Thomas.

Plaintiff alleges that "all" of CCA-SCC's "medical or regular[] staff in part or by liability" violated his First, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights regarding his medical care. He claims the he submitted a request for medical services on July 31, 2011, but he did not receive any medical services until September 1, 2011. He alleges that a medical staff member wrote on his request that, "[w]hen you can be appropriate and courteous, I will respond." Plaintiff alleges that there was "deliberate indifference" and that ...


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