United States District Court, D. Arizona
DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.
Plaintiff James Ryan Murphy, who is confined in the Maricopa County Durango Jail, 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 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) (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.
In his three-count Complaint, Plaintiff names as Defendants: the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office; Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio; and the County of Maricopa. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief.
In Count One, Plaintiff alleges that moldy bread, expired milk, and rotten fruit are served; that there are not enough portions of food, and less than 2, 000 calories are served each day; that there is no drinking fountain or cups; that the food trays are dirty and unsanitary; that the drinking water is dirty and has a "down flow" only; and that the canteen sells expired food, and that he has to pay for donated items at the canteen. As a result, Plaintiff alleges that he has lost weight, suffers from headaches, weakness, diarrhea, and upset stomach, and is unsure of the long-term effect these alleged injuries may have on him.
In Count Two, Plaintiff alleges that the air conditioner is always on and the temperature is below 67 degrees; that there is no fresh air because the filter is not changed on a regular basis; that there is asbestos in the ductwork and ceiling, and black mold in the building; that lead paint is falling off the walls and getting into the air; that multiple inmates are sick, and that he is housed with inmates who have infectious diseases; that the air is dry and he only has one, thin blanket; and that the sinks and toilets are poorly maintained, and the clothing is unsanitary. As a result, Plaintiff alleges that he has lost sleep, suffers from body aches, headaches, colds, rashes, and allergies, has a sore throat and burning eyes, and is unsure of the long-term effect these alleged injuries may have on him.
In Count Three, Plaintiff alleges that there is asbestos in the building, and mildew in the restrooms; that there is no fire suppression system, creating a fire hazard; that there are four men to a cell; that there is no hot water in the sinks; that there are too many beds in each cell, and that they are too close together; that there are spiders and other insects in the unit; that there is only enough seating for half the inmates, and as a result he has to eat his meals on the floor; that paint is chipping off the tables and getting into the food; that the beds are rusted; that 64 inmates share two showers and two toilets; and that only dirty rags are provided for cleaning, rather than toilet brushes or cleaners. As a result, ...