Blanco v. Maguire Correction Facility

Filing 6

ORDER OF DISMISSAL. Signed by Judge Nathanael Cousins on 3/21/2017. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(lmh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/21/2017)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 MICHAEL EDMUNDO BLANCO, United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Case No. 16-cv-05898 NC (PR) Plaintiff, 12 ORDER OF DISMISSAL v. 13 MAGUIRE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, et al., 14 15 Defendants. 16 Plaintiff, a California prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed an amended civil rights 17 18 19 complaint, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.1 For the reasons that follow, the court dismisses the amended complaint. 20 BACKGROUND 21 22 I. 23 Standard of Review A federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any case in which a 24 1 25 26 27 28 Plaintiff previously consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction. Dkt. No. 1 at 4. Case No. 16-cv-05898 NC (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL 1 1 prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a 2 governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any 3 cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a 4 claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is 5 6 7 immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). 8 9 To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated and (2) 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 that the violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West 12 v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). 13 II. 14 Plaintiff’s Claims In the original complaint, Plaintiff claimed that on October 21, 2015, at Maguire 15 16 Correctional Facility in San Mateo, Plaintiff was housed in a unit with two other groups of 17 inmates who had a history of violence between them. While Plaintiff was out during 18 recreation time with one group of inmates, an unnamed staff member unlocked all the 19 doors in the housing unit, allowing the other group of inmates to run out and attack those 20 21 who were already out at recreation time. Plaintiff argues that although he defended 22 himself, he and others were overpowered. He alleges that his safety and security were 23 ignored by the Maguire Correctional Facility, and that the facility did not take proper 24 precautions to avoid the attack. 25 26 27 28 Case No. 16-cv-05898 NC (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL 2 1 This Court dismissed Plaintiff’s complaint with leave to amend. It informed 2 Plaintiff that in order to state a cognizable claim that Defendant was deliberately 3 indifferent to Plaintiff’s safety, Plaintiff must provide facts sufficient to infer that 4 Defendant knew of and disregarded an excessive risk to inmate health or safety by failing 5 6 to take reasonable steps to abate it. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). 7 The Court found that, liberally construed, at best, Plaintiff’s facts suggested that Defendant 8 acted with negligence, but not with deliberate indifference. See Farmer, 511 U.S. at 835- 9 36 & n.4 (recognizing that neither negligence nor gross negligence will constitute 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 deliberate indifference). In addition, the Court informed Plaintiff that Defendant Maguire 12 Correctional Facility was a municipal entity. As such, to impose municipal liability under 13 Section 1983 for a violation of constitutional rights resulting from governmental inaction 14 or omission, a plaintiff must show: (1) that the plaintiff possessed a constitutional right of 15 16 which he or she was deprived; (2) that the municipality had a policy; (3) that this policy 17 amounts to deliberate indifference to the plaintiff’s constitutional rights; and (4) that the 18 policy was the moving force behind the constitutional violation. See Plumeau v. School 19 20 21 22 23 24 Dist. #40 County of Yamhill, 130 F.3d 432, 438 (9th Cir. 1997). Plaintiff had not alleged any facts to show that Defendant’s action or inaction was a result of any policy. The Court directed Plaintiff to file an amended complaint if he could correct the deficiencies. In the amended complaint, Plaintiff named as Defendants Maguire Correctional Facility, San Mateo County, and San Mateo County’s Sheriff’s Department. Plaintiff 25 26 27 28 Case No. 16-cv-05898 NC (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL 3 1 alleged that prison officials allowed a civilian contractor to train the staff on operation of 2 “the new door system.” During the training, “facility staff failed to adhere to the 3 segregation protocol . . . and ran an unsecured training while a group was out and the 4 training contractor unlocked all the doors in the unit.” Am. Compl. at 3. This resulted in 5 6 7 the two groups engaging in physical violence. As the Court previously informed Plaintiff, a prisoner may state a Section 1983 8 claim under the Eighth Amendment against prison officials only where the officials acted 9 with “deliberate indifference” to the threat of serious harm or injury to an inmate by 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 another prisoner. See Berg v. Kincheloe, 794 F.2d 457, 459 (9th Cir. 1986). Here, again, 12 liberally construed, Plaintiff’s facts show that the opening of the door by an unnamed 13 person was a mistake, which is insufficient to make a claim of deliberate indifference. In 14 addition, all Defendants are a part of San Mateo County, which is a municipality. 15 16 Despite having been informed of the factors needed to plead a cognizable claim for 17 municipal liability, Plaintiff has not set forth any facts suggesting that San Mateo County 18 had a relevant policy, much less a policy that amounted to deliberate indifference, or a 19 20 21 policy that was the moving force behind the constitutional violation. In fact, Plaintiff’s allegations demonstrate that there was a “segregation protocol” or policy in place, but 22 unnamed staff members failed to abide by it. Case law is clear that random acts or isolated 23 incidents of unconstitutional action by a non-policymaking employee are insufficient to 24 establish the existence of a municipal policy or custom. See Rivera v. County of Los 25 26 27 28 Case No. 16-cv-05898 NC (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL 4 1 2 3 4 Angeles, 745 F.3d 384, 398 (9th Cir. 2014). Accordingly, Plaintiff has not stated a cognizable claim for relief against Defendants. The amended complaint is DISMISSED. Because the Court has previously warned Plaintiff about the deficiencies of his original complaint, and Plaintiff has not 5 6 7 cured either deficiency in his amended complaint, the Court finds that further leave to amend would be futile. 8 9 CONCLUSION The amended complaint is DISMISSED for failure to state a claim. The Clerk shall 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 terminate all motions and close the file. IT IS SO ORDERED. 13 14 DATED: March 21, 2017 NATHANAEL M. COUSINS United States Magistrate Judge 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Case No. 16-cv-05898 NC (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL 5

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?