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Alarcon v. Pinal County Jail

United States District Court, D. Arizona

May 9, 2014

Javier V. Alarcon, Plaintiff,
Pinal County Jail, et al., Defendants.


SATEPHEN M. McNAMEE, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff Javier V. Alarcon, who is confined in the Pinal County Adult Detention Center, has 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 order Defendant Aguire to answer Count One of the Complaint and will dismiss Count Two and Defendant Pinal County Jail 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 $39.82. The remainder of the 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) (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 )).

III. Complaint

In his two-count Complaint, Plaintiff names as Defendants the Pinal County Jail and Detention Officer Aguire.

In Count One, Plaintiff alleges that he was subjected to excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff asserts that while he was in the morning medication line, Defendant Aguire made obscene gestures and sexual remarks to a "deaf-mute" inmate, other inmates told Defendant Aguire to leave the inmate alone, and Defendant Aguire became upset and began cursing at the inmates and calling them "sex offenders." Plaintiff claims that Defendant Aguire "suddenly turned his anger toward[] [Plaintiff]" and began yelling at Plaintiff and calling him names. Plaintiff states that when he requested that Defendant Aguire stop disrespecting him, Defendant Aguire got angry and told Plaintiff to "cuff up." Plaintiff alleges that he complied with Defendant Aguire's request.

Plaintiff asserts that after he was restrained, Defendant Aguire said, "Do you want to see what I do to people like you, " and then proceeded to slam Plaintiff, face-first, into a metal door, then into a wall, and then into the glass window of the control room. Plaintiff claims Defendant Aguire kept Plaintiff pinned to the window for 10-15 minutes, during which time he used "excessive force to the back of [Plaintiff's] neck" and smashed Plaintiff's face into the window. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Aguire threatened Plaintiff with additional harm, told Plaintiff what time Defendant ...

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