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Krzyzewski v. Arpaio

United States District Court, D. Arizona

June 10, 2014

Steve J. Krzyzewski, Jr., Plaintiff,
Joe Arpaio, et al., Defendants.


DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

On January 6, 2014, Plaintiff Steve Krzyzewski, Jr., who was formerly 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. In an Order dated January 23, 2014, the Court denied the Application to Proceed because it was incomplete and granted Plaintiff 30 days to either file a complete Application to Proceed or pay the filing fees. On March 5, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Change of Address indicating he is no longer in custody. On March 18, 2014, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause directing Plaintiff to either pay the filing fee or show good cause why he cannot pay. On March 28, 2014, Plaintiff filed a "Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and Supporting Information" (Doc. 9).

The Court will grant the Motion to Proceed and will dismiss the Complaint with leave to amend.

I. Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

In his Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, Plaintiff states that he is not employed, has no cash or money in checking or savings accounts, and has no other valuable property such as real estate, stocks, bonds, notes or automobiles. Plaintiff's Motion complies with the Order to Show Cause. The Court will, therefore, grant the Motion and will consider the claims in Plaintiff's Complaint.

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 ). Plaintiff's Complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim, but because it may possibly be amended to state a claim, the Court will dismiss it with leave to amend.

III. Complaint

Plaintiff names Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio as the only Defendant in his Complaint. He seeks damages pursuant to Graves v. Arpaio and an order that Arpaio "comply with the 1983 settlement and serve inmates 3 meals a day, increase sanitary supplies, [and] post capacity limits in holding cells."

Plaintiff asserts a threat to safety claim in Count One and alleges the following facts: Plaintiff experienced "shoulder to shoulder contact" in the Fourth Avenue court complex holding cell, the Towers Jail property holding cell, and the medical holding cell. Inmates had to sit on the floor and were required to stand for long periods of time which "leads to hostile environment due to insufficient seating." This condition was "per policy set forth by MCSO ...

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