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Jordan v. Arpaio

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

October 16, 2013

Cedric R. Jordan, Plaintiff,
v.
Joseph M. Arpaio, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

On June 12, 2013, Plaintiff Cedric R. Jordan, who is confined in the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 2). On August 5, 2013, he filed a Notice for Status (Doc. 5). On August 13, 2013, he filed a Motion to Expedite Service (Doc. 6). On September 23, 2013, he filed a First Amended Complaint (Doc. 7).

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. First Amended Complaint

In his three-count First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff sues the following Defendants: Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio, the Phoenix Police Department, Phoenix Police Chief Daniel V. Garcia and Homicide Detective Jan Butcher, St. Joseph's Hospital, Community Bridges, Correctional Health Services, Maricopa County, the Arizona Department of Corrections, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, and the United States of America.

In Count One, Plaintiff alleges that his Eighth Amendment rights have been violated. Plaintiff asserts that the "New World Order Crime Syndicate" has placed a "contract" or "hit" on Plaintiff's life "because of the Plaintiff's knowledge of their' illegal operations in Arizona."[1] Plaintiff asserts that the New World Order Crime Syndicate consists of, among others, Defendants Butcher, Garcia, and the Phoenix Police Department; a group of doctors, nurses, and other professionals at Defendant St. Joseph's Hospital; other professionals all over "the State of Arizona and beyond"; and Defendant Community Bridges. Plaintiff contends that Defendants Butcher, Garcia, Phoenix Police Department, St. Joseph's Hospital, and Community Bridges conspired to have Plaintiff murdered in Maricopa County by placing a contract on Plaintiff's life in February 2013 because he had infiltrated many of their illegal business.

Plaintiff states that he was arrested on April 18, 2013, and is housed in the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail. Plaintiff asserts that he informed a classification specialist at the jail that he needed to be "housed' in the double door[]s for safety reasons" because there was a contract on his life, but the classification specialist failed to house Plaintiff in a safe environment. Plaintiff claims he was "assaulted because of that negligence." Plaintiff claims he was housed for weeks "in harms way' with other inmate[]s who wanted to kill' the Plaintiff... so [they] could collect the money for the contract (hit'), " and that Plaintiff submitted several "tank order[]s" to Defendant Arpaio so that he would be aware of a threat to Plaintiff's safety. Plaintiff asserts that he faced imminent danger because he was housed with known members of the Aryan Brotherhood, a prison gang that is "close associates' with the New World Order."

Plaintiff also claims that a jail commander, a sergeant, two floor officers, and a tower officer conspired to have Plaintiff killed by the Aryan Brotherhood on "[razor] night." Plaintiff asserts that on the night closed-custody inmates are permitted to shave with a razor while locked in their cell, the tower officer opened Plaintiff's cell door and the cell door of a member of the Aryan Brotherhood. Plaintiff asserts that he was "almost killed'" but managed to escape from the attack. Plaintiff claims that four days later, he contacted his attorney, "informed him of the murder attempt, " and his attorney contacted the jail and had Plaintiff "moved to the safer double-door[]s." Plaintiff contends that Defendant Arpaio "failed to prevent his [rogue] jail official[]s from collaborating with the [New World Order]" and that Plaintiff was "nearly killed'" by the Aryan Brotherhood.

In Count Two, Plaintiff alleges a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. He claims it was cruel and unusual for Defendant Brewer to subject him to an organized crime syndicate that includes officials and employees of the State, County, and City. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Brewer has knowledge of the crime syndicate, condoned its existence, and condoned criminal enterprises at Defendant St. Joseph's Hospital, Defendant Community Bridges, Defendant Arizona Department of Corrections, urgent care, and other State agencies. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Arizona Department of Corrections is a named defendant because it "is in correlation with prison gang[]s that are under the [New World Order]." Plaintiff asserts that the "Maricopa County Board of Director[]s" also knew about and condoned the New World Order and that Defendant United States of America is "using the Plaintiff as bait to catch [all] the fish."

In Count Three, Plaintiff contends that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated. He claims Defendant Correctional Health Services has failed to provide him with adequate health care. Plaintiff asserts that a doctor examined Plaintiff and diagnosed him as having a ruptured eardrum, informing Plaintiff that it appeared that someone had stuck something down Plaintiff's ear. Plaintiff contends that Defendant Correctional Health Services failed to provide a surgery for the ear drum and that this was "deliberate indifference." Plaintiff also claims that during a surgery in September 2012 at Defendant St. Joseph's Hospital, a doctor maliciously and sadistically jammed an object in Plaintiff's ear.

In his Request for Relief, Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, 16 million dollars to "create safe havens for (sex-slaves) across the country, ...


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