United States District Court, D. Nevada
HOFFMAN, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the court is plaintiff Leonard Woods' application
to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 1), filed on
July 14, 2017. Also before the court is Woods' civil
rights complaint filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl.
(ECF No. 1-1).) Plaintiff is a pro se inmate in the custody
of the Clark County Detention Center (“CCDC”).
Woods submitted the declaration required by 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a) showing an inability to prepay fees and costs or give
security for them. Wood's request to proceed in forma
pauperis therefore will be granted. The court now
screens Wood's complaint (ECF No. 1-1) as required by 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.
Screening Standard for Pro Se Prisoner Claims
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). In addition to the screening
requirements under § 1915A, the Prison Litigation Reform
Act requires a federal court to dismiss a prisoner's
claim if it “fails to state a claim on which relief may
be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2);
accord Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6). To state a claim
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege
“(1) the defendants acting under color of state law (2)
deprived plaintiffs of rights secured by the Constitution or
federal statutes.” Williams v. California, 764
F.3d 1002, 1009 (9th Cir. 2014) (quotation omitted).
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).
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).
Screening the Complaint
sues Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
(“LVMPD”) officers and detectives, L. Reyes, T.
Striegel, H. Haynes, T. Swartz, R. Wilson, and B. Embrey for
allegedly withholding evidence favorable to his defense.
Plaintiff also sues CCDC's Correctional Officers and
Kitchen Staff. Plaintiff seeks $200, 000 in damages from the
LVMPD officers, and $500, 000 in compensatory damages from
first claim alleges that LVMPD officers withheld evidence
favorable to his defense, and that they failed to properly
investigate allegations prior to plaintiff's arrest.
Specifically, plaintiff alleges that on July 17, 2015,
officers L. Reyes and T. Striegel viewed D. Leal's
cellular phone and saw sexually explicit material, but failed
to report their findings.Plaintiff further claims that officers
failed to properly investigate, because such an investigation
would prove that Leal's statements were false, that
plaintiff was not transient, and that there was an
outstanding arrest warrant for J. Jones. Plaintiff also
alleges that officers V. Haynes and T. Swartz on August 5,
2015, failed to provide an official police report, and
withheld information pertaining to plaintiff's request
for counsel. Plaintiff further alleges that Swartz and Haynes
falsely reported that plaintiff was involved in an incident,
despite body and dash camera footage proving otherwise.
Lastly, plaintiff alleges that on August 6, 2015, LVMPD
detectives B. Embry and R. Wilson withheld that plaintiff
requested a lawyer and did not wish to continue speaking with
them. Plaintiff further alleges that Embry and Wilson
provided forged and altered statements in their report.
Plaintiff also alleges that Embry and Wilson failed to
preserve evidence and failed to fully investigate.
complaint does not include any other factual allegations
regarding the arrest or the status of LVMPD's
investigation. The court is unable to determine whether there
is an ongoing criminal proceeding or whether the
circumstances described resulted in plaintiff's
conviction. Even liberally construing the complaint, the
court cannot evaluate whether plaintiff's complaint
states a cognizable claim for which he may be entitled to
relief, absent additional factual allegations regarding the
underlying case. The court will therefore dismiss
plaintiff's complaint without prejudice for the plaintiff
to file an amended complaint.
second claim, plaintiff alleges that CCDC's correctional
officers and kitchen staff expose him to sexual degradation,
humiliation, illness and disease. Specifically, plaintiff
alleges that correctional officers unnecessarily and
frequently subject him to cavity searches. Plaintiff further
alleges that he suffers daily exposure to hepatitis,
botulism, and other diseases from the dirty dishwater on meal
trays. He further alleges that he, on multiple occasions,
found pieces of metal, plastic, teeth, fingernails and hair
in meals. Lastly, plaintiff claims that he has experienced