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Dollar v. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

United States District Court, D. Nevada

February 7, 2017




         Presently before the court is pro se Plaintiff George Dollar's Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 1), filed on April 17, 2015. Also before the court is Plaintiff's civil rights complaint filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl. (ECF No. 1-1).)


         Plaintiff has submitted the declaration required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) showing an inability to prepay fees and costs or give security for them. Accordingly, Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.


          A. Background

         Plaintiff alleges that on July 24, 2014, two Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (“LVMPD”) officers sought to arrest him on false charges and when they were unable to do so, they arrested him for possessing a box cutter in violation of Nevada Revised Statutes § 202.350.[1](Compl. (ECF No. 1-1) at 2-3.) Plaintiff alleges that the arrest was racially motivated. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff further alleges that as a result of the arrest, he spent 34 days in jail, which resulted in him losing work and his apartment. (Id. at 3-4.)

         Plaintiff contends that he fought the issue in Justice Court and that the district attorney attempted to force him into making an erroneous plea deal to cover up the LVMPD officers' bad actions. (Id. at 3.) According to Plaintiff, the charges were dismissed based on proof of racial profiling by the LVMPD officers and “abuse of badge.” (Id.) Plaintiff also contends that the LVMPD Sheriff and the Mayor of Las Vegas allowed the LVMPD officers to violate his civil rights. (Id. at 2-3.)

         Plaintiff now brings claims for violation of the Fourth Amendment (claim one) and Fourteenth Amendment (claim two) against Defendants John Doe LVMPD Officer #1, John Doe LVMPD Officer #2, LVMPD Sheriff, the Clark County District Attorney, and the Mayor of Las Vegas. (Id. at 2-5.) Specifically, in count one, Plaintiff alleges that “[b]y abusing its powers, LVMPD caused me to spend 34 days in jail, thus making me lose property, liberty and employment.” (Id. at 4.) In count two, Plaintiff alleges that “defendants, via its police arm (LVMPD) so violated my right to liberty and property.” (Id. at 5.) Based on these allegations, the court understands Plaintiff to be alleging Fourth Amendment unlawful arrest and Fourteenth Amendment due process violation claims.

         B. Screening Standard

         Upon granting a request to proceed in forma pauperis, a court must screen the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). In screening the complaint, a court must identify cognizable claims and dismiss claims that are frivolous, malicious, file to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Dismissal for failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2) incorporates the standard for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012). To survive § 1915 review, a complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The court liberally construes pro se complaints and may only dismiss them “if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” Nordstrom v. Ryan, 762 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).

         In considering whether the complaint is sufficient to state a claim, all allegations of material fact are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Wyler Summit P'ship v. Turner Broad. Sys. Inc., 135 F.3d 658, 661 (9th Cir. 1998) (citation omitted). Although 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. Unless it is clear the complaint's deficiencies could not be cured through amendment, a pro se plaintiff should be given leave to amend the complaint with notice regarding the complaint's deficiencies. Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995).

         C. Analysis

         Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides that “[e]very person who, under color of [law], subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law . . . .” Section 1983 does not create any substantive rights, but provides a method for enforcing rights contained in the Constitution or federal statutes. Crowley v. Nev. ex. rel. Nev. Sec'y of State, 678 F.3d 730, 734 (9th Cir. 2012). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege “(1) the defendants acting under color ...

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