United States District Court, D. Nevada
who is a prisoner in the custody of the Nevada Department of
Corrections (“NDOC”), has submitted a civil
rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and has
filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis.
(ECF No. 1, 1-1). The matter of the filing fee shall be
temporarily deferred. The Court now screens Plaintiff's
civil rights complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
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).
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).
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
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.
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).
SCREENING OF COMPLAINT
complaint, Plaintiff sues multiple defendants for events that
took place while Plaintiff was incarcerated in Carson City,
Nevada. (ECF No. 1-1 at 1). Plaintiff sues Defendants State
of Nevada, Carson City Sheriff's Department,
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong, Sheriff Deputy James
Surratt, and Dr. Joe (psychiatric provider). (Id. at
1-2). Plaintiff alleges one count and seeks monetary damages.
(Id. at 4, 11).
complaint alleges the following: Plaintiff served in Iraq and
Afghanistan with the U.S. Marine Corps. (Id. at 4).
After being released from inpatient post-traumatic stress
disorder (“PTSD”) treatment in Virginia and
trying to make it home to Nevada, Deputy Surratt arrested
Plaintiff after Plaintiff corrected Surratt for “being
reckless with his pistol” and “informing the
deputy of common sense weapon safety rules.”
(Id.) On November 20, 2014, Surratt
“stole” Plaintiff's legal Glock 19 and jailed
Plaintiff. (Id.) Due to the trauma involving
irresponsible weapons safety in the armed forces, Plaintiff
sustained injuries of PTSD and “had to do the right
thing and correct” Surratt. (Id.)
in the Carson City jail, Plaintiff immediately asked for help
for his PTSD and for his PTSD medication which jail officials
deprived him of. (Id.) In January 2015, Sergeant Fry
and two other deputies responded to Plaintiff by shoving
Plaintiff's face into another inmate's fecal matter
in a padded booking cell. (Id. at 5).
first time Plaintiff saw Judge Armstrong, Plaintiff asked for
PTSD help. (Id.) Plaintiff's public defender
followed through with her threat to call Plaintiff
incompetent if Plaintiff did not plea to her
“deal” with the district attorney's office.
(Id.) The public defender's plea deal required
Plaintiff to plead guilty to a crime he was innocent of.
(Id.) Judge Armstrong ordered “no bail”
until Dr. Joe could complete a competency evaluation.
(Id.) Dr. Joe told the judge that he had met with
Plaintiff even though he had not. (Id.) Dr. Joe
suggested “no bail” with a “psych
hold” and did not provide any PTSD help. (Id.)
Jail officials kept Plaintiff in custody on a “no bail
hold” without any PTSD help. (Id.)
in jail, Plaintiff had to defend himself from an inmate who
had hit him. (Id. at 6). For defending himself, the
authorities charged him with a class B felony (battery on a
prisoner in custody). (Id.) Plaintiff did receive a
competency evaluation at Lake's Crossing. (Id.)
The doctors at Lake's Crossing stated that, “at no
time did [Plaintiff] seem incompetent.” (Id.)
During his incarceration, Plaintiff repeatedly asked Judges
Armstrong and Russell to permit PTSD help. (Id.) The
only relief Plaintiff received was a “forced plea deal
to plead guilty to charges of which he was innocent” or
“risk unlimited incarceration without PTSD help.”
(Id.) After pleading to the forced deal and while on
probation, Plaintiff was accepted into the Wounded Warrior
Project's Care Network which had excellent PTSD
treatment. (Id. at 7). The director of the program
stated that Plaintiff needed a high level of care that the
State of Nevada continues to deprive Plaintiff of.
(Id.) In prison, Plaintiff is on suicide watch due
to concerns for his safety. (Id.) The State of
Nevada is neglecting Plaintiff's medical needs.
alleges claims for Eighth Amendment inadequate medical care
and Fourteenth Amendment false imprisonment. (Id. at