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Cabrera v. State

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

September 22, 2017

FRED CABRERA, #A0114810, Plaintiff,
STATE OF HAWAII, et al., Defendants.


          Derrick K. Watson United States District Judge

         Before the court is pro se Plaintiff Fred Cabrera's amended prisoner civil rights Complaint. Am. Compl., ECF No. 7. Cabrera complains that Defendants the State of Hawaii and Oahu Community Correctional Center (“OCCC”) officers Sergeant Malia Anderson and Manny Tavares violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment during an incident that allegedly occurred at OCCC on or about June 22, 2017.

         For the following reasons, the State of Hawaii and the claims against Anderson and Tavares in their official capacities are DISMISSED. Cabrera is DIRECTED to effect service on Defendants Malia Anderson and Manny Tavares by mailing a copy of the amended Complaint and completed service documents to the United States Marshal. After service is completed, Anderson and Tavares (in their individual capacities) are directed to respond to the amended Complaint.

         I. SCREENING

         Federal courts must screen all cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee, or seek to proceed without prepayment of the civil filing fees. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(b)(2) and 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims and dismiss those claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. at §§ 1915(b)(2) and 1915A(b).

         A complaint 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). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Moreover, a plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002).

         Pro se prisoners' pleadings must be liberally construed and given the benefit of any doubt. Blaisdell v. Frappiea, 729 F.3d 1237, 1241 (9th Cir. 2013); Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). Leave to amend should be granted if it appears possible that the plaintiff can correct the complaint's defects. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000).

         II. DISCUSSION[1]

Cabrera alleges that Anderson and Tavares ordered him to help move an allegedly mentally ill inmate from one cell to another on June 22, 2017. He claims that this inmate struck him several times during this cell movement causing him pain, while Tavares and Anderson stood nearby but failed to intervene. Cabrera alleges that Defendants violated the Eighth Amendment when they failed to protect him from this alleged assault. He seeks $100, 000 in damages.

         A. Eleventh Amendment

         “The Eleventh Amendment bars suits for money damages in federal court against a state, its agencies, and state officials acting in their official capacities.” Aholelei v. Dep't of Pub. Safety, 488 F.3d 1144, 1147 (9th Cir. 2007). Defendants named in their official capacities are subject to suit under § 1983 only “for prospective declaratory and injunctive relief . . . to enjoin an alleged ongoing violation of federal law.” Oyama v. Univ. of Haw., 2013 WL 1767710, at *7 (D. Haw. Apr. 23, 2013) (quoting Wilbur v. Locke, 423 F.3d 1101, 1111 (9th Cir. 2005), abrogated on other grounds by Levin v. Commerce Energy Inc., 560 U.S. 413 (2010)); see also Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 70-71 (1989) (“[A] suit against a state official in his or her official capacity is not a suit against the official but rather is a suit against the official's office.”); Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908).

         Cabrera's damages claims against the State of Hawaii, and against Anderson and Tavares in their official capacities, are DISMISSED.

         B. Eighth Amendment - Failure to Protect

         “[P]rison officials have a duty . . . to protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other prisoners.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 833 (1994) (citations and quotations omitted). “Being violently assaulted in prison is simply not ‘part of the penalty that criminal offenders pay for their offenses against society.'” Id. at 834 (citation omitted). To establish a prison official's violation of this duty, a prisoner must first establish that the deprivation alleged is ‘objectively, sufficiently serious.” Id. at 834; Hearns v. Terhune, 413 F.3d 1036, 1040 (9th Cir. 2005). This is a question of fact that ...

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