United States District Court, W.D. Washington
ORDER DECLINING TO SERVE COMPLAINT AND GRANTING
PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO AMEND
P. DONOHUE Chief United States Magistrate Judge.
Robert Lumpkin has submitted to this Court for filing a civil
rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in which he
alleges violations of his constitutional rights arising out
of his confinement in the City of Kent Corrections Facility.
Plaintiff has also submitted two motions to amend his
complaint in which he identifies new defendants and claims
that he wishes to add to his original complaint. The Court,
having reviewed plaintiff's complaint, and his motions to
amend his complaint, hereby finds and ORDERS as follows:
Plaintiff alleges in his complaint that his federal
constitutional rights were violated when corrections officers
failed to call the medical staff to remove taser darts which
struck plaintiff after the three officers tased him for
refusing to return to his cell. According to plaintiff, the
officers removed two of the darts, but “forgot”
to remove the third dart which he discovered
“hours” later after experiencing pain in his
back. Plaintiff also alleges in his complaint that he has
been denied access to the outside yard, to a phone book, to
cleaning supplies, and to the courts. Finally, plaintiff
alleges that he has been required to take showers while
handcuffed and that he was not afforded a hearing prior to
having sanctions imposed.
first of plaintiff's two motions to amend, plaintiff
asserts that he has been denied mental health treatment at
the Kent Corrections Facility. (Dkt. 5 at 2.) Plaintiff also
complains that he is handcuffed whenever he is out of his
cell which interferes with his ability to shower, to work
out, to clean his cell, and to use the telephone.
(Id. at 2-3.) Plaintiff contends that this
constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. (See id.)
In his second motion to amend, plaintiff again complains that
he has been denied mental health treatment at the Kent
Corrections Facility. (Dkt. 6.)
Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides
that in order for a pleading to state a claim for relief it
must contain a short and plain statement of the grounds for
the court's jurisdiction, a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and
a demand for the relief sought. The statement of the claim
must be sufficient to “give the defendant fair notice
of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon
which it rests.” Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S.
41, 47 (1957). The factual allegations of a complaint must be
“enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In addition, a
complaint must allege facts to state a claim for relief that
is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
order to state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, a plaintiff must show (1) that he suffered a violation
of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal
statute, and (2) that the violation was proximately caused by
a person acting under color of state or federal law. See
Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th
Cir. 1991). To satisfy the second prong, a plaintiff must
allege facts showing how individually named defendants
caused, or personally participated in causing, the harm
alleged in the complaint. See Arnold v. IBM, 637
F.2d 1350, 1355 (9th Cir. 1981). A defendant
cannot be held liable solely on the basis of supervisory
responsibility or position. Monell v. Department of
Social Servs., of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658,
691-694 (1978). Rather, a plaintiff must allege that a
defendant's own conduct violated the plaintiff's
civil rights. City of Canton, Ohio v. Harris, 489
U.S. 378, 385-90 (1989).
Court declines to order that plaintiff's complaint be
served on defendants because his complaint is deficient in
the following respects:
(a) Plaintiff asserts that he was denied adequate medical
care when corrections officers forgot to take out one of
three taser darts which struck plaintiff during a use of
force incident. Plaintiff also asserts that he was denied
mental health treatment.
In order to establish a constitutional violation based on a
claim of inadequate medical care, a prisoner must satisfy a
two-part test containing both an objective and a subjective
component. The standard requires proof that (1) the alleged
wrongdoing was objectively “harmful enough” to
establish a constitutional violation; and (2) the prison
official acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994).
The objective component of the above standard is
“contextual and responsive to ‘contemporary
standards of decency.'” Hudson v.
McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 8 (1992) (quoting Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103 (1976)). The state of mind
requirement under the subjective component of the above
standard has been defined as “deliberate
indifference” to an inmate's health or safety.
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. Under the “deliberate
indifference” standard, a prison official cannot be
found liable for denying an inmate humane conditions of
confinement unless the official knows of and disregards an
excessive risk to inmate health or safety. Id. at
Plaintiff's claims of inadequate medical care do not meet
the standard set forth above. To the extent plaintiff
complains about the failure to timely remove the taser dart,
the facts alleged by plaintiff suggest, at most, negligent
conduct on the part of defendants. An “inadvertent [or
negligent] failure to provide adequate medical care”
alone does not state a claim under § 1983. Plaintiff
also fails to allege facts demonstrating that any harm he
suffered as a result of the alleged inadequate medical care
was sufficiently serious to implicate federal constitutional
(b) Plaintiff complains that he was denied “access to
the media, ” in the form of a phone book, which
prevented him from getting a lawyer “that I want to
have to fight my case.” Plaintiff does not complain
that he was denied access to any lawyer, only to a lawyer of
his choice. And, plaintiff doesn't explain what, if any,
harm he suffered as a result of not being able to contact a
lawyer of his choice. The facts alleged by plaintiff in
relation to his denial of access to the media claim are
insufficient to implicate federal constitutional concerns.
(c) Plaintiff asserts that he has been denied access to a law
library during the course of his incarceration at the Kent
Corrections Facility which violates his right to access the
courts. In Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817 (1977), the
Supreme Court acknowledged that inmates have a constitutional
right of meaningful access to the courts premised on the due
process clause. Id. at 821. The Supreme Court
subsequently made clear that in order to adequately allege a
cause of action for deprivation of the right of access to the
courts, an inmate must demonstrate that he suffered some
actual injury to his right of access. Lewis v.
Casey, 518 U.S. 343 (1996).
Plaintiff claims that he has pending cases and that he has
been unable to prepare a defense because of the alleged
denial of access to a law library. Plaintiff's claim is
too conclusory at this juncture to implicate federal
constitutional concerns. If plaintiff wishes to proceed with
his access to courts claim he must alleged specific, ...