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Eldridge v. Schroeder

United States District Court, D. Arizona

November 25, 2014

Joseph Eldridge, Plaintiff,
v.
CO II J.D. Schroeder, Defendant.

ORDER

DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

On June 13, 2014, Plaintiff Joseph Eldridge, who is confined in the Arizona State Prison Complex-Eyman in Florence, Arizona, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1) and two deficient Applications to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. In a June 19, 2014 Order, the Court denied the deficient Applications to Proceed and gave Plaintiff 30 days to either pay the filing and administrative fees or file a complete Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis.

On June 26, 2014, Plaintiff filed a third Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. On July 3, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Protective Order. In an October 3, 2014 Order, the Court denied the deficient Application to Proceed and the Motion for Protective Order and gave Plaintiff 30 days to either pay the filing and administrative fees or file a complete Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis.

On October 15, 2014, Plaintiff filed a fourth Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 11). The Court will grant the fourth Application to Proceed and will order Defendant Schroeder to answer the Complaint.

I. Fourth Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and Filing Fee

Plaintiff's fourth 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 )).

III. Complaint

In his one-count Complaint, Plaintiff sues Defendant Correctional Officer II J.D. Schroeder. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages.

Plaintiff asserts that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated because Defendant Schroeder engaged in excessive force. Plaintiff contends that he was in his cell, doing legal work and getting ready to go out for recreation, when Defendant Schroeder came to Plaintiff's cell door. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Schroeder asked Plaintiff if he wanted "to talk that shit' [Plaintiff] was talking in the Mental Health Watch Pod."[1] Plaintiff contends that Defendant Schroeder had the control room operator open the cell door and then Defendant Schroeder entered the cell; pushed Plaintiff onto his bed; hit Plaintiff several times in the face, upper body, and upper legs and arms; dumped the contents of Plaintiff's legal and property boxes on the ...


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