United States District Court, D. Arizona
ROBERT C. BROOMFIELD, District Judge.
Plaintiff Ramon Manuel Rivera, who is confined in the Maricopa County Lower Buckeye Jail, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In a September 26, 2013 Order, the Court directed Plaintiff to pay the $400.00 administrative and filing fees or file an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. On October 18, 2013, Plaintiff filed an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 4). The Court will order Defendant Brennan to answer Count One of the Complaint and will dismiss the remaining claim and Defendant without prejudice.
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 assess an initial partial filing fee of $15.22. 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 )).
Plaintiff names Maricopa County Detention Officers Brennan and #2124 as Defendants in the Complaint. Plaintiff raises two claims for relief.
In Count One, Plaintiff claims his Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when Defendant Brennan failed to protect him from an attack by another inmate. Plaintiff claims he is in protective custody because he is elderly and in a wheelchair. On January 6, 2013, Plaintiff was placed in the recreation yard for his "hour out" and notified Defendant Brennan that another inmate, who was also in the yard at the same time, had threatened Plaintiff's life and appeared to be intoxicated and was displaying volatile behavior. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Brennan disregarded the warning and Plaintiff was subsequently assaulted. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Brennan also used mace on Plaintiff, rather than Plaintiff's attacker.
In Count Two, Plaintiff claims his Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when Defendant #2124 failed "to control the traffic between a violent subject and a vulnerable target, subjecting [Plaintiff] to risk of serious harm by an unreasonable protected observation." Plaintiff alleges that Defendant #2124 allowed ...