United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT IN PART AND STAYING
Derrick K. Watson United States District Judge.
the court is pro se Plaintiff Dayson James Eblacas' first
amended complaint (FAC). ECF No. 6. Eblacas is awaiting trial
in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, State of Hawaii
(circuit court), for Terroristic Threatening in the First
Degree (HRS 707-716(1)(e); Unauthorized Control of a
Propelled Vehicle (HRS 708-836); and Criminal Property Damage
(HRS 708-821(1)(b)). See State v. Eblacas, CR No.
16-1-001936 (Haw. 1st Cir. Dec. 1, 2016), avail. at:
www.courts.state.hi.us. (last visited Nov. 28,
alleges that Defendants Honolulu Police Department
(“HPD”) and HPD Officer Gerald Agbulos violated
his civil rights and HPD policies or regulations when Agbulos
allegedly used excessive force against him during his arrest.
See FAC, ECF No. 5, PageID #31.
claims against HPD and Officer Agbulos in his official
capacity are DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a). Eblacas' claim for excessive
force against Agbulos individually states a claim. Because
Eblacas is awaiting trial regarding the incidents alleged in
this suit that resulted in his arrest, and the circumstances
of that shooting will be at issue in that trial, the court
STAYS this action pursuant to Younger v. Harris, 401
U.S. 37 (1971).
Court must conduct a pre-answer screening of the FAC 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 §
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).
“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Id. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
8(a)(2) requires a complaint to contain a “short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” 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 678 (stating Rule 8
“demands more than an unadorned,
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 to state a
claim. Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1130.
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege that: (1) a right secured by the Constitution or laws
of the United States was violated, and (2) 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). A plaintiff must also allege that he suffered a
specific injury as a result of the 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).
Eblacas' Fourth Amendment Claims
December 1, 2016, Eblacas was in the drive-in lane at the
Mililani Burger King when he noticed someone, later
identified as Officer Agbulos, approaching his truck from
behind with a gun drawn. Because Agbulos and his partner were
in plain clothes, Eblacas says that he did not recognize them
as police officers. Fearing for his safety, Eblacas stepped
on the gas to flee. Agbulos, who was allegedly located at the
back, passenger side of Eblacas' truck, opened fire and
struck Eblacas in the back, paralyzing him from the chest
down. Agbulos ordered Eblacas to exit the truck. When Eblacas
told Agbulos that he could not move, he says that Agbulos
punched him in the face and dragged him through the
truck's window to the ground.
claims that, because he posed no threat to Agbulos or others,
Agbulos violated his constitutional rights and HPD policy
when he opened fire without warning. Agbulos disputes this,
however, and claims that he opened fire because Eblacas tried
to run him over. See FAC, ECF #6, PageID #31. Trial
is scheduled to begin in the circuit court on or about
December 17, 2018.
alleging the use of excessive force during an arrest are
“analyzed under the Fourth Amendment's
‘objective reasonableness standard.'”
Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 204 (2001) (citing
Graham v. Conner, 490 U.S. 386, 388 (1989)). The
“reasonableness” of an officer's actions
“must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable
officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of
hindsight.” Graham, 490 U.S. at 396.
“[T]he question is whether the officers' actions
are ‘objectively reasonable' in light of the facts
and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their
underlying intent or motivation.” Id. at 397.
“[T]he most important factor under Grah ...