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Amaro v. Arpaio

United States District Court, D. Arizona

April 27, 2015

Oscar Amaro, Plaintiff,
v.
Joseph M. Arpaio, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

On October 16, 2014, Plaintiff Oscar Amaro, who is confined in the Arizona State Prison Complex ("ASPC")-Lewis, 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 a November 7, 2014 Order, the Court denied the deficient Application to Proceed and gave Plaintiff 30 days to pay the required fees or file a complete Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. On November 19, 2014, Plaintiff filed a second Application to Proceed. In a January 28, 2015 Order, the Court denied the deficient Application to Proceed and gave Plaintiff 30 days to pay the required fees or file a complete Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis.

On March 5, 2015, Plaintiff filed a third Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 11). The Court will grant the Application to Proceed and 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 assess an initial partial filing fee of $7.62. 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 )).

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

In his two-count Complaint, Plaintiff sues the following Defendants: Joseph M. Arpaio, Maricopa County Sheriff; Jane Doe, Classification Detention Officer at the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail; Unknown Graham, Detention Officer at the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail; and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office ("MCSO"). Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages.

In Count One, Plaintiff asserts a claim for threat to safety or failure to protect. He alleges the following facts: On August 13, 2013, Plaintiff was transported from the ASPC-Lewis Barchey Unit, a protective segregation unit, to the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail to attend court. Plaintiff met with Defendant Jane Doe when he arrived at the Fourth Avenue Jail and requested protective segregation housing because there is a "hit" on his life by the New Mexican Mafia. Plaintiff told Defendant Doe that there had been multiple attempts to kill him in the past. Defendant Doe told Plaintiff that, per her supervisor, she could not house Plaintiff in the protective segregation unit due to his history of violence. Plaintiff was housed at the Fourth Avenue Jail in "3C-100" and "2-C 200-26, " where he was "constantly under stress [and] in a state of extreme panic and worry." Plaintiff had anxiety attacks and nausea due to the stress and panic. He lost a lot of weight due to a loss of appetite. On December 25, 2013, when Plaintiff was out for recreation time, an officer allegedly "accidentally" let a cell out to recreation time that was not supposed to be out for recreation time at the same time as Plaintiff. Plaintiff was "viciously assaulted" by two inmates. Due to this assault, Plaintiff required medical treatment. Plaintiff alleges that he suffers from nightmares and "aches and pains" from the assault.

In Count Two, Plaintiff asserts a claim for "negl[i]gent training and/or hiring." Plaintiff claims that the MCSO has a policy or custom "as to the negl[i]gence and deliberate indifference they blatantly show[] in regards to [his] safety and welfare." It appears he is further claiming that Defendants MCSO, Arpaio, Graham, and Doe, and the reclassification supervisor, failed to investigate and disclose facts regarding MCSO's involvement in injuries and deaths. Plaintiff contends that Defendants "should be held responsible [for] not protecting the health and personal safety ...


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