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Garcia-Godoy v. Doe

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

October 3, 2013

Felix Garcia-Godoy, Plaintiff,
CCI Florence Warden John Doe, et al., Defendants.


DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Felix Garcia-Godoy, who was then-confined in the Giles W. Dalby Correctional Institution in Post, Texas, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. On April 8, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Change of Address indicating he would be transferred from Dalby Correctional Institution and deported. At that time, it appeared that Plaintiff had been released. For that reason, the Court denied his in forma pauperis application and ordered him to pay the $350.00 filing fee or show cause why he could not.[1] (Doc. 6.)

Plaintiff filed two in forma pauperis applications to show cause why he could not pay the $350.00 filing fee. Further, he submitted a letter with one of the applications in which he explained that he was then held in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles for a probation violation and that he would be held there until December 2013. He further indicated that he filed the notice of change of address so that filings from the Court would be forwarded to his daughter, who would in turn notify Plaintiff. The Court will discharge the show cause Order and grant Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff is warned that he is responsible for ensuring that he promptly and timely meets deadlines in this case and he must promptly notify the Court when and if he is released from incarceration.

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, the Court will dismiss the Complaint with leave to amend.

III. Complaint

Plaintiff alleges one count for threat to safety or denial of medical care and negligence. Plaintiff sues John Doe 1, warden of "CCI-Florence" in Florence, Arizona, and CCI-Florence. Plaintiff seeks declaratory, injunctive, compensatory, and punitive relief.

Plaintiff alleges the following in his Complaint: on November 2, 2012, Plaintiff slipped and fell in water on the floor and injured his back. Sergeant Francisca sent Plaintiff immediately to the medical department. A doctor recommended Anaprophen 220 grams. Plaintiff apparently also had x-rays taken of his back. Plaintiff was not examined by an orthopedist. He claims Defendants failed to provide appropriate medical treatment. Plaintiff asserts the warden of the ...

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