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Mohammad v. Clark County Detention Center

United States District Court, D. Nevada

October 23, 2014

KHALID MOHAMMAD, Plaintiff,
v.
CLARK COUNTY DETENTION CENTER et al., Defendants.

SCREENING ORDER

JAMES C. MAHAN, District Judge.

This is a pro se civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by a former pretrial detainee. Plaintiff has submitted an application to proceed in forma pauperis and a civil rights complaint. (ECF No. 1, 1-1).

I. IN FORMA PAUPERIS APPLICATION

Before the court is plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 1). Based on the information regarding plaintiff's financial status, the court grants plaintiff nonprisoner in forma pauperis status under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).

II. SCREENING STANDARD

Federal courts 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. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings, however, must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) the violation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

In addition to the screening requirements under § 1915A, pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), a federal court must dismiss a prisoner's claim, if "the allegation of poverty is untrue, " or if the action "is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted is provided for in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and the court applies the same standard under § 1915 when reviewing the adequacy of a complaint or an amended complaint. When a court dismisses a complaint under § 1915(e), the plaintiff should be given leave to amend the complaint with directions as to curing its deficiencies, unless it is clear from the face of the complaint that the deficiencies could not be cured by amendment. See Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995).

Review under Rule 12(b)(6) is essentially a ruling on a question of law. See Chappel v. Lab. Corp. of America, 232 F.3d 719, 723 (9th Cir. 2000). Dismissal for failure to state a claim is proper only if it is clear that the plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of the claim that would entitle him or her to relief. See Morley v. Walker, 175 F.3d 756, 759 (9th Cir. 1999). In making this determination, the court takes as true all allegations of material fact stated in the complaint, and the court construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Warshaw v. Xoma Corp., 74 F.3d 955, 957 (9th Cir. 1996). Allegations of a pro se complainant are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. See Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980). While the standard under Rule 12(b)(6) does not require detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff must provide more than mere labels and conclusions. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action is insufficient. Id.

Additionally, a reviewing court should "begin by identifying pleadings [allegations] that, because they are no more than mere conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). "While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported with factual allegations." Id. "When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Id. "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief... [is] a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id.

Finally, all or part of a complaint filed by a prisoner may therefore be dismissed sua sponte if the prisoner's claims lack an arguable basis either in law or in fact. This includes claims based on legal conclusions that are untenable (e.g., claims against defendants who are immune from suit or claims of infringement of a legal interest which clearly does not exist), as well as claims based on fanciful factual allegations (e.g., fantastic or delusional scenarios). See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989); see also McKeever v. Block, 932 F.2d 795, 798 (9th Cir. 1991).

III. SCREENING OF COMPLAINT

In the complaint, plaintiff sues multiple defendants for events that took place while plaintiff was incarcerated at the Clark County Detention Center ("CCDC"). (ECF No. 1-1 at 1). Plaintiff sues defendants John Doe arresting officer, John Doe district attorney, John Doe public defender, John Doe warden of CCDC, and the CCDC[1]. ( Id. at 1-2). Plaintiff alleges one count of unlawful imprisonment and seeks monetary damages and a copy of all surveillance video recordings of plaintiff's movements at the CCDC. ( Id. at 4-5).

The complaint alleges the following: defendants incarcerated plaintiff in the CCDC "without a conviction of guilty, a plea of guilty, or a verdict of guilty" from January 2012 through September 2012 for case no. C-12-279125-1 in the Eighth Judicial District Court. ( Id. at 1). In January 2012, an officer arrested plaintiff and transported plaintiff to the CCDC. ( Id. at 3). Plaintiff did not waive any of his constitutional rights to due process or a speedy trial and informed the public defender that he was actually innocent of the circumstances that resulted in his arrest. ( Id. ). The public defender never pursued a trial of plaintiff's claim of actual innocence and never moved for a speedy trial, a probable cause hearing, a release on recognizance, a bail hearing, or a motion to dismiss. ( Id. ).

CCDC staff members informed plaintiff that he had been "subjected to acts that caused [plaintiff] to lose... consciousness and received treatments for loss of... consciousness on multiple occasions throughout his imprisonment." ( Id. ). Plaintiff never received ...


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