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Beltran-Ojeda v. Officer Cs 906

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

October 11, 2013

Saul Beltran-Ojeda, Plaintiff,
v.
Officer CS 906, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Saul Beltran-Ojeda, who is confined in the Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. In a June 26, 2013 Order, the Court granted the Application to Proceed and dismissed the Complaint with leave to amend.

On July 25, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Extension of Time (Doc. 9) and a First Amended Complaint (Doc. 10). Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint was filed within the 30-day filing deadline and the Court will therefore deny the Motion for Extension of Time as moot. The Court will dismiss the First Amended Complaint with leave to amend.

I. 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 First Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim, but because the First Amended Complaint may possibly be saved by amendment, will dismiss the First Amended Complaint with leave to amend.

II. First Amended Complaint

Plaintiff names Maricopa County Correctional Health Services Nurses CS 096 and CS 565, and Sergeant Montejano as Defendants in the First Amended Complaint.

Plaintiff raises three grounds for relief. In Count One, Plaintiff alleges Defendants CS 096 and CS 565 violated his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights when they failed to follow grievance procedures and in so doing prevented Plaintiff from receiving hepatitis C treatment. Plaintiff claims that Defendant CS 096 "commit[t]ed fraud on [his] legal grievance paper work by signing off on grievances that were supposed to be signed off by MCSO [Sergeants] and MCSO jail commanders... by her doing this messed up [his] grievance process and kept [him] from receiving the correct or any medical treatment for [his] hep C." Plaintiff also claims that the nurses retaliated against him because he "kept pushing the issue of... not getting treatment."

In Count Two, Plaintiff claims his Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when his grievances were not properly processed. Plaintiff claims that his inmate grievance and institutional grievance appeal forms were often responded to by the same jail official, even though appeals were supposed to go to the jail commander.

In Count Three, Plaintiff claims his Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when Defendant Montejano failed to follow grievance procedures in processing ...


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