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Kangarlou v. Locklear

United States District Court, D. Nevada

November 13, 2019

SAEID SAM KANGARLOU, Plaintiff,
v.
ALTON AL LOCKLEAR, et al., Defendants.

          SCREENING ORDER

          BRENDA WEKSLER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Pro se plaintiff Saeid Sam Kangarlou brings this lawsuit for personal injuries he suffered resulting from an alleged attack that occurred while he was playing a slot machine at The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kangarlou submitted the affidavit required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) showing an inability to prepay fees or costs or give security for them. Accordingly, the court will grant his request to proceed in forma pauperis. The court now screens Kangarlou's complaint.

         I. ANALYSIS

         A. 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, fail 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).

         B. Screening the complaint

         Kangarlou alleges that on December 5, 2016, after using the spa at the Mirage, he played a “bubble craps machine” in the casino from approximately 7:00 p.m. to 11:55 p.m. (Compl. (ECF No. 1-2) at 3.) Kangarlou did not consume any alcohol that day. (Id.) Kangarlou further alleges that at approximately 11:00 p.m., defendant Alton Al Locklear joined the game. (Id.) Locklear had a drink in his hand when he began playing and ordered several alcoholic drinks while playing the game. (Id.)

         Kangarlou states that Locklear “kept losing money and inserted more $100 bills” into the slot machine, becoming “frustrated and furious for losing.” (Id.) Locklear was using profanity, and when Kangarlou asked him to stop out of respect for the women who were present, Locklear allegedly continued cursing and made derogatory remarks to Kangarlou. (Id. at 3-4.) After a woman left the machine, Locklear allegedly became aggressive, blamed Kangarlou for his losses, and threatened to physically harm Kangarlou. (Id. at 4.) Kangarlou felt threatened and stood to look for security or a slot supervisor to intervene. (Id.) Kangarlou describes the situation that unfolded as follows:

. . . before [Kangarlou could] locat[e] a casino staff [member], Locklear walked over and without warning socked [Kangarlou] on the right side of his face close to his temple. [Kangarlou] lost control and was pushed to the floor hitting his right knee to some object. Locklear mounted [Kangarlou's] back and kept punching [Kangarlou] in the head repeatedly with intent to kill [Kangarlou]. At no time did Locklear intend to stop as Mirage patrons told him “stop, that is enough.” At one point someone stopped Locklear.

(Id.) Mirage security intervened and detained Locklear. (Id.)

         Kangarlou suffered injuries to his face, head, hands, knee, back, tooth, ribs, stomach, and chest. (Id.) His vision was blurry following the attack. (Id.) Mirage security administered first aid and summonsed paramedics. (Id.) Paramedics transported Kangarlou to the emergency room, where he was treated by an emergency room physician and diagnostic imaging was performed in the emergency room. (Id.) He was referred to an ophthalmologist and has been evaluated by several eye specialists in hope of repairing his lost vision. (Id.) Kangarlou states he currently is under the care of a neuro-ophthalmologist. (Id.) Kangarlou also does physical therapy for his back and spine and is under the care of a neurosurgeon and may need surgery. (Id. at 4-5.) Kangarlou's medical bills exceed $40, 000 and are growing. (Id. at 5.) Kangarlou also alleges the incident has caused him to suffer depression, sleep disturbances, mood swings, weight gain, and loss of self-esteem. (Id.) Kangarlou is under the treatment of a therapist for emotional distress. (Id.)

         While at the emergency room, Kangarlou was interviewed by two police officers. (Id. at 4.) According to Kangarlou, the police officers informed him that casino video surveillance corroborated Kangarlou's version of the incident. (Id.) Kangarlou states that Locklear subsequently was arrested, charged with battery, pleaded guilty, and paid a fine. (Id.)

         Locklear allegedly was in Las Vegas on the date of the incident because he was attending the 2016 National American Indian Housing Council's annual symposium that was held at the Mirage from December 5-7, 2016. (Id. at 3.) Kangarlou alleges Locklear was representing the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, which operates under several corporate entities including Lumbee Land Development, Inc. and Lumbee Tribe Holdings, Inc. (Id.) Kangarlou further alleges the tribe paid Locklear's expenses for the trip to Las Vegas. (Id. at 5.) Kangarlou states that after the incident, two representatives of the tribe contacted him seeking information about the incident and offering to assist with his medical expenses, but they were “just phishing for information and were acting in bad-faith.” ...


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