Sanchez v. Andruss et al

Filing 29

ORDER OF PARTIAL DISMISSAL; CONTINUING CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE. The claims against Jacquez are dismissed with leave to amend. Sanchez's Third Amended Complaint, if any, shall be filed no later than February 10, 2012. The Case Management Co nference currently scheduled for February 10, 2012 is continued to April 20, 2012. The parties shall file a joint case management statement no later than April 13, 2012. Signed by Judge Maxine M. Chesney on January 23, 2012. (mmclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/23/2012)

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1 2 3 4 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 JULIO CESAR SANCHEZ 8 Plaintiff, 9 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 11 No. C 10-3213 MMC ORDER OF PARTIAL DISMISSAL; CONTINUING CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE v. DALLAS ANDRUSS, SHERRI KINNEY, J. VANDERHOOVEN, LT. G.A. KELLEY, ET AL. 12 Defendant. 13 / 14 On June 7, 2011, plaintiff Julio Cesar Sanchez (“Sanchez”) filed his First Amended 15 Complaint (“FAC”), alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On August 5, 2011, the Court 16 held Sanchez had (1) stated a claim under § 1983 against defendants Dallas Andruss, 17 Sherri Kinney, J. Vanderhooven, and G.A. Kelley (“correctional officer defendants”) for a 18 failure to protect him from physical harm in violation of his constitutional rights, (2) failed to 19 state a claim for supervisory liability under § 1983 against defendant Francisco Jacquez 20 (“Jacquez”), and (3) failed to state a claim based on conspiracy or Monell liability. 21 Sanchez’s claims against Jacquez were dismissed with leave to amend; his conspiracy and 22 Monell claims were dismissed without leave to amend. (See Order of Partial Dismissal and 23 Service, filed August 5, 2011 (“Order”).) Now before the Court is Sanchez’s Second 24 Amended Complaint (“SAC”). 25 26 27 28 DISCUSSION A. Standard of Review A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 1 See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and 2 dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may 3 be granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 4 id. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential 5 6 elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was 7 violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the 8 color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). 9 B. 10 Sanchez’s Claims In the SAC, Sanchez alleges that, on July 23, 2008, he was attacked by a fellow 11 inmate and rival gang member, referred to as “Aguilar,” while both were incarcerated at 12 Pelican Bay State Prison (“PBSP”). In particular, the SAC alleges Aguilar was brought to 13 Sanchez’s cell by two correctional officers, although Aguilar was not Sanchez’s cell mate, 14 that Sanchez was handcuffed while the cell door was opened and Aguilar was allowed to 15 enter, that Aguilar immediately attacked and severely injured Sanchez, and that prison 16 officials either acquiesced in or failed to stop the attack. (See SAC ¶¶ 31-38.) On the basis 17 of these allegations, the FAC asserts two theories of liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983: (1) 18 failure to protect, in violation of Sanchez’s Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, 19 against the correctional officer defendants and (2) supervisory liability against Jacquez. 20 (See SAC ¶¶ 74-75). 21 1. Doe Defendants 22 In addition to the named defendants, Sanchez asserts his claims against “ten 23 unknown named defendants.” (See SAC at 1.) As the Court noted in its prior order, the 24 use of Doe defendants is not favored in the Ninth Circuit. (See Order at 2:16-18 (citing 25 Gillespie v. Civiletti, 629 F.2d 637, 642 (9th Cir. 1980).) Consequently, the Doe defendants 26 will, again, be dismissed without prejudice. Should Sanchez succeed in identifying the 27 unknown defendants, he may, upon a proper showing, move to amend to add them to his 28 complaint. See id. 2 1 2. Failure to Protect 2 Sanchez’s First Claim for Relief alleges the correctional officer defendants violated 3 his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments by failing to protect him from an 4 attack by another inmate. (See SAC ¶ 74). The Court previously held Sanchez’s 5 allegations sufficient to state a claim against the correctional officer defendants, finding 6 Sanchez had alleged that “each such officer either directly participated in bringing Aguilar 7 to Sanchez’s cell or failed to intervene once Aguilar began attacking Sanchez, and that 8 each defendant did so with knowledge that Sanchez and Aguilar were rival gang members 9 and with knowledge and in disregard of the risks attendant to placing such rival gang 10 members in the same cell.” (See Order at 3:11-15.) The Court finds Sanchez’s allegations 11 against said defendants again state a cognizable claim for failure to protect.1 12 3. Supervisory Liability 13 Sanchez’s Second Claim for Relief alleges a claim against Jacquez for supervisory 14 liability. A supervisor may be held individually liable under § 1983 “based upon the 15 supervisor’s knowledge of and acquiescence in unconstitutional conduct by his or her 16 subordinates.” See Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1207 (9th Cir. 2011); see also, e.g., 17 Ramirez v. Giurbino, No. 10cv1292-WHQ (MDD), 2011 WL 2669484, at *6 (S.D. Cal. May 18 24, 2011) (holding supervisor may be found liable for failure to train subordinates where 19 “failure to train resulted from the defendant’s ‘deliberate’ or ‘conscious’ act” (citing Canell v. 20 Lightner, 143 F.3d 1210, 1213 (9th Cir. 1998)). The Court previously held Sanchez failed 21 to state a claim against Jacquez, finding the conclusory allegation that Jacquez “failed to 22 assure that defendants Kelley, Andruss, Kinney, and Vanderhooven were properly trained 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 The Court notes, however, the SAC contains potentially inconsistent allegations. (Compare SAC ¶ 21 (alleging correctional officer defendants “failed to verify the gang affiliation status of either Plaintiff or inmate Aguilar prior to placing Aguilar in Plaintiff’s cell”) with SAC ¶ 42 (alleging correctional officer defendants “knew that plaintiff had been labeled a ‘Sureno’ and that the inmate who was placed into plaintiff’s cell on July 23, 2008, who attacked plaintiff, was a ‘Norteno’”) and SAC ¶ 51 (alleging correctional officer defendants “each disregarded the known excessive risk to the Plaintiff’s safety . . . because each defendant knew that the Plaintiff was a designated Sureno and that Aguilar was a known Norteno”).) 3 1 to avoid placing inmates from rival prison gang factions in close proximity to each other” 2 (see FAC ¶ 51) was insufficient to support an inference of a deliberate or conscious act 3 (see Order at 3:22-25). 4 Sanchez now alleges Jacquez: “promulgated or otherwise implemented a policy that 5 resulted in the failure to train CDCR [California Department of Corrections and 6 Rehabilitation] employees . . . and otherwise failed to supervise their conduct such that 7 inmate gang affiliation would be ‘reviewed and considered’ prior to housing two inmates in a 8 single cell” (see SAC ¶ 23); “ignored the failure of the CDCR/PBSP training regimen(s) to 9 train correctional officers” (see SAC ¶ 25); “set in motion a series of events that led to the 10 malicious and sadistic beating of plaintiff . . . by deliberately failing to institute a training 11 program to train correctional officers how to manage inmates from rival prison gangs in 12 administrative segregation” (see SAC ¶ 26); and “adopted and ratified the conduct of [the 13 correctional officer defendants]” by “approving of the decisions” and “the bases for the 14 decisions” they made and “failing to investigate” the attack on Sanchez (see SAC ¶ 27). 15 Absent further factual elaboration, such additional conclusory allegations fail to state a 16 claim for supervisory liability. See, e.g., Starr, 652 F.3d at 1216 (finding complaint against 17 supervisor sufficient where plaintiff “ma[de] detailed factual allegations” that “[went] well 18 beyond reciting the elements of a claim of deliberate indifference”; noting complaint 19 included allegations of “numerous incidents in which inmates . . . [had] been killed or 20 injured because of the culpable actions of the subordinates of [defendant],” and defendant 21 “was given notice, in several reports, of systematic problems in the county jails under his 22 supervision that [had] resulted in these deaths and injuries”). 23 24 The Court will, however, again afford Sanchez leave to amend to cure, if he can do so, the deficiencies noted in his claim against Jacquez. CONCLUSION 25 26 For the reasons stated above, the Court orders as follows: 27 1. The claims against all Doe defendants are hereby DISMISSED. 28 2. The claims against Jacquez are hereby DISMISSED with leave to amend to 4 1 2 3 4 cure the deficiencies noted. 3. Sanchez’s Third Amended Complaint, if any, shall be filed no later than February 10, 2012. 4. The Case Management Conference currently scheduled for February 10, 5 2012 is hereby CONTINUED to April 20, 2012. The parties shall file a joint case 6 management statement no later than April 13, 2012. 7 8 9 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: January 23, 2012 MAXINE M. CHESNEY United States District Judge 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

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