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Angulo v. Harvey

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

September 9, 2013

Servando Reynaldo Angulo, Plaintiff,
Unknown Harvey, et al., Defendants.


ROBERT C. BROOMFIELD, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff Servando Reynaldo Angulo, who is confined in the Lower Buckeye Jail in Phoenix, Arizona, has filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1) and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 2). The Court will dismiss the Complaint with leave to amend.

I. Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and Filing Fee

Plaintiff's 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 not assess an initial partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The statutory 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 three-count complaint, Plaintiff sues Mesa Police Department Detective Harvey #10145, Sergeant Scantlebury #10036, Officer Ingram #13539 and unknown "doctor(s) psychologist" at the Lower Buckeye Jail. Plaintiff seeks to have his felony case dismissed, to be released from custody, to be placed back on certain psychiatric medications, and to be compensated $10, 000.00.

In Count I, Plaintiff alleges that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when he was "fals[e]ly incarcerated for traf[f]icking stolen property." Plaintiff states that on or about June 21, 2012, he purchased a beer at a Safeway store. Afterwards, he left his bike parked by the front of the store and went to smoke a spice joint and drink his beer. Plaintiff, who was heavily intoxicated and not on his psychiatric medications, returned to the store and got on the wrong bike, which was unlocked. Sergeant Scantlebury, who was in civilian clothes, approached Plaintiff and asked Plaintiff if he would sell the bike. Plaintiff told Scantlebury that he was not selling the bike.

In Count II, Plaintiff states that his Eighth Amendment right to constitutionally adequate medical care has been violated because he has not received the proper mental health care. Plaintiff alleges that for approximately five months the doctors at the jail "acted with d[e]liberate indifference in the medical treatment for psychiatric medication. And intentionally [i]nterferes and denies medication." He states that he has not been prescribed the "same medication as prescribed at DOC."

In Count III, which he denotes as violating the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments, Plaintiff alleges that his public defender, Amanda Marten, has denied him "the right to receive full discovery report due to the fact that [he] was on Rule 11.2 at the time."

The electronic docket for Maricopa County Superior Court shows that Plaintiff is currently in custody and awaiting trial, scheduled for October 7, 2013, in case #CR XXXX-XXXXXX.[1] Plaintiff has ...

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