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Appell v. Maricopa County

United States District Court, D. Arizona

September 18, 2014

Benjamin Jacob Appell, Plaintiff,
v.
Maricopa County, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

On June 2, 2014, Plaintiff Benjamin Jacob Appell, who is confined in the Maricopa County Durango Jail, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. In a July 7, 2014 Order, the Court granted the Application to Proceed and dismissed the Complaint because Plaintiff had failed to state a claim. The Court gave Plaintiff 30 days to file an amended complaint that cured the deficiencies identified in the Order.

On August 11, 2014, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint (Doc. 7). The Court will dismiss the First Amended Complaint with leave to amend.

I. 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). "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. 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 First Amended 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....

II. First Amended Complaint

In his First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges four counts against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Maricopa County.

In Count One, Plaintiff alleges that his bunk bed is faulty, which caused it to collapse on him.

In Count Two, Plaintiff alleges as follows: "molded bread, rotten fruit, hot meal served cold, expired milk, not enough portion of food, [and] under 2, 000 calories served per day." Plaintiff alleges that he has suffered loss of weight, headaches, and diarrhea.

In Count Three, Plaintiff alleges as follows: "no fresh air, filthy filter and unclean duct work, asbestos in building ceiling, lead paint chips falling off wall circulation with air, flu and cold virus, multiple inmates always sick, [and] tuberculosis." Plaintiff alleges that he has suffered loss of sleep, body aches, headaches, and flu viruses.

In Count Four, Plaintiff alleges as follows: "asbestos in building, 64 men to 2 toilets and 2 showers, overcrowding/to[o] many inmates, nowhere to eat my meals, no sprinkler system in housing unit, housing with sick inmates, lead paint falling off walls, fire hazards, [and] black mold in bathroom." Plaintiff alleges that he has suffered body ...


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