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Thompson v. Maricopa County Sheriff's Department

United States District Court, D. Arizona

March 18, 2014

Mark Anthony Thompson, Plaintiff,
Maricopa County Sheriff's Department, et al., Defendants.


DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Mark Anthony Thompson, who is confined in the Maricopa County Towers Jail, 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 grant the Application to Proceed and 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. Id. The statutory filing fee will be collected monthly in payments of 20% of the previous month's income credited to Plaintiff's trust account 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). 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) (citation omitted). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (citation omitted).

"[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (citation omitted). 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. (citation omitted). "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 (citation omitted). 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). Here, Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted in his Complaint, but it appears that the Complaint could be cured by allegations of other facts. Accordingly, Plaintiff's Complaint will be dismissed without prejudice and Plaintiff will be given an opportunity to amend.

III. Complaint

In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges three counts against the following Defendants: the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department, the Maricopa County Government, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and the State of Arizona.

In Count One, Plaintiff alleges as follows: On numerous occasions, Plaintiff requested cleaning supplies and was denied. The pod is only issued three spray bottles of sanitizer to use in the common areas and the cell areas that house forty-five pretrial detainees. There is not enough for the showers and common areas. Plaintiff shares the same "broom/mop/supplies" that everyone uses to sweep, scrub toilets, and scrub showers. There is scum on the walls that contributes to health issues. Plaintiff has a rash that comes from fungus and foot fungus and dry feet.

In Count Two, Plaintiff alleges as follows: Plaintiff is housed in a cell with two other inmates with three steel bunks six-feet high to the top bunk. While being transported to court, Plaintiff was placed in a holding cell with no seats or benches with 38-45 other inmates for hours with standing room only. There were no seats available except the floor and the inmates were cuffed together or touching due to overcrowding. Plaintiff sustained an injury to his left knee from falling to the ground and hemorrhoids.

In Count Three, Plaintiff alleges as follows: Plaintiff is served less than 2, 000 calories per day. The morning meal consists of an orange, a "kiddie pack" of ginger snaps, two tablespoons of peanut butter, and two rolls. The second meal is served in the evening on dirty trays. Inmates have found bugs, roaches, and worms. Plaintiff has asked for different food/diets, but has been denied. Plaintiff has found chunks of grease. Plaintiff suffers from malnutrition, lack of energy, loss of weight, loss of proper vitamins, post-traumatic stress disorder, headaches, weakness, back pain, and aching bones.

Plaintiff seeks monetary relief in the maximum amount pursuant to ...

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