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Oliver v. Asuncion

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

October 29, 2018

JUSTIN M. OLIVER, #A4015015, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD ASCUNCION, ACO GRIMLEY, Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT IN PART AND DIRECTING SERVICE

          JILL A. OTAKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the court is pro se Plaintiff Justin Mitchell Oliver's prisoner civil rights complaint brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 1. Oliver alleges Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) officers Richard Ascuncion and ACO Grimley violated his constitutional rights when they allegedly used excessive force against him and thereafter denied him medical care for nine days.

         The court has screened the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a) and finds that it states a claim in part. Claims against Defendants Ascuncion and Grimley in their official capacities are DISMISSED. The Complaint as thereby limited shall be served on Ascuncion and Grimley, who are required to file a response.

         I. STATUTORY SCREENING

         The court performs a pre-answer screening of Oliver's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a). Byrd v. Phoenix Police Dep't, 885 F.3d 639, 641 (9th Cir. 2018). Claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim for relief, or seek damages from defendants who are immune from suit must be dismissed. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (discussing § 1915(e)(2)); Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010) (discussing § 1915A(b)).

         A complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted); Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Under Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 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 a complaint must allege enough facts to provide both “fair notice” of the claim asserted and “the grounds upon which [that claim] rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 & n.3 (2007) (citation and quotation marks omitted); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 555.

         Pro se litigants' pleadings must be liberally construed, and all doubts should be resolved in their favor. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted). Leave to amend must be granted if it appears the plaintiff can correct the defects in the complaint. Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1130.

         II. DISCUSSION

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Additionally, a plaintiff must allege that he suffered a specific injury as a result of a particular defendant's conduct and an affirmative link between the injury and the violation of his rights. See Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72, 377 (1976).

         A. Oliver's Claims

         Oliver alleges Ascuncion and Grimley attacked him at OCCC on or about September 23, 2016. He says that he felt his ribs break during the attack, but they denied his multiple requests for medical care. After nine days in solitary confinement, Oliver was given chest x-rays, which revealed that he had three fractured ribs. Oliver names Ascuncion and Grimley in their individual and official capacities and seeks damages.

         B. Official Capacity Claims are Dismissed

         “Section 1983 provides a federal forum to remedy many deprivations of civil liberties, but it does not provide a federal forum for litigants who seek a remedy against a State for alleged deprivations of civil liberties. The Eleventh Amendment bars such suits unless the State has waived its immunity.” Will v. Mich. Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989). There are three exceptions to this general rule: (1) the State may waive its Eleventh Amendment defense; (2) “Congress may abrogate States' sovereign immunity by acting pursuant to a grant of constitutional authority”; and (3) a suit seeking prospective injunctive relief may proceed. Douglas v. Calif. Dept. of Youth Auth., 271 F.3d 812, 817 (9th Cir. 2001) (citations omitted); Aholelei v. Dep't of Pub. Safety, 488 F.3d 1144, 1147 (9th Cir. 2007) (“The Eleventh Amendment bars suits for money damages in federal court against a state, its agencies, and state officials acting in their official capacities.”). 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)).

         Oliver does not allege the State has waived its immunity, and Congress has not abrogated such immunity. Nor does Oliver allege an ongoing constitutional violation or seek prospective injunctive relief. Oliver's official ...


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