United States District Court, D. Arizona
Douglas L. Rayes United States District Judge
On April 9, 2015, Plaintiff Derrick Ray Lee, who is confined in the Maricopa County Lower Buckeye Jail (“Jail” or “Lower Buckeye 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 (Doc. 2). In his Complaint, Plaintiff asserted claims for violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments against Defendants Officer Friday, Lieutenant Perks, Lieutenant A4796, Sergeant A4729, and Sergeant A4617. On May 28, 2015, the Court granted Plaintiff’s Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and, after screening, ordered Defendant Friday to answer Count One and dismissed the remaining claims and Defendants without prejudice. (Doc. 5.)
On August 14, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend, and lodged his proposed First Amended Complaint. (Doc. 8.) For the reasons below, the Court will grant Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend, order the Clerk of Court to file Plaintiff’s proposed First Amended Complaint, order Defendant Friday to answer Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment claim, and dismiss the remaining claims and Defendants.
I. Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend
Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that “[a] party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within: (A) 21 days after serving it, or (B) . . . 21 days after service of a responsive pleading.” Further, Rule 15.1(b) of the Local Rules of Civil Procedure provides the following:
If a party files an amended pleading as a matter of course or with the opposing party’s written consent, the amending party must file a separate notice of filing the amended pleading. The notice must attach a copy of the amended pleading that indicates in what respect it differs from the pleading which it amends, by bracketing or striking through the text that was deleted and underlining the text that was added. The amended pleading must not incorporate by reference any part of the preceding pleading, including exhibits. If an amended pleading is filed with the opposing party’s written consent, the notice must so certify.
Here, Plaintiff filed his Motion to Amend on August 14, 2015, before Defendant Friday filed his Answer to Plaintiff’s initial Complaint. (Docs. 8, 9.) Further, Plaintiff’s proposed First Amended Complaint complies with the requirements of Rule 15.1 of the Local Rules of Civil Procedure. Accordingly, the Court will grant Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend and instruct the Clerk of Court to file Plaintiff’s proposed First Amended Complaint lodged at Doc. 8-1.
II. Screening of IFP 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 ...