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Conev v. Snohomish County Jail

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

January 9, 2018

ANDREW CONEV, Plaintiff,
SNOHOMISH COUNTY JAIL, et al., Defendants.


          BRIAN A. TSUCHIDA United States Magistrate Judge

         On December 19, 2017, Andrew Conev, a Snohomish County Jail detainee filed letter in case number C17-1725 RSM. See Dkt. 9 (C17-1725 RSM). Because the letter asserted Mr. Conev was raising “a new claim” it was assigned the case number herein. The letter alleges on December 7, 2017, Snohomish County Jail released Mr. Conev temporarily for a psychiatric evaluation. Mr. Conev indicates he was prescribed “a couple different meds, ” and that the jail is not dispensing them as prescribed. He claims he and his lawyer “are taking this to court next week.” He also alleges he feels the medical staff is retaliating against him for making complaints about his medications.

         The Court declines to serve the complaint because it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and is subject to dismissal. It also appears Mr. Conev has not exhausted his administrative remedies. Additionally, this Court may be required to abstain from addressing the claim because as Mr. Conev alleges, he and his lawyer are taking the matter to Court. However, because Mr. Conev is proceeding pro se, the Court grants him leave to file by January 31, 2018, an amended complaint, or to show cause why the complaint should not be dismissed.


         To sustain a civil rights action under § 1983, Mr. Convev must show (1) he suffered a violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute, and (2) 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).

         A. Liability of Parties

         Mr. Conev has not named the specific defendants against which he brings his claims. If he seeks to sue Snohomish County, he must show the county itself violated his rights or that it directed its employees to do so. Bd. of County Comm'rs of Bryan County v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 404 (1994). Under this theory of liability, the focus is on the county's “policy statement, ordinance, regulation, or decision officially adopted and promulgated by that body's Officers.” City of St. Louis v. Praprotnik, 485 U.S. 112, 121 (1988) (quoting Monell, 436 U.S. at 690). The county is not liable for the acts of its employees under a respondeat superior theory of liability. See Monell v. Dept. of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978). Therefore, in order to sue Snohomish County, Mr. Conev must allege facts showing that any constitutional deprivation he suffered was the result of a custom or policy of the county.

         Is he seeks to sue a county employee who is a supervisor, Mr. Conev must allege facts showing that the individual defendant supervisor participated in or directed the alleged violation, or knew of the violation and failed to act to prevent it. See Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir.1998), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 1154 (1999); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1948 (2009) (vicarious liability is inapplicable to a § 1983 suit).

         And finally, if Mr. Conev seeks to sue an individual employee of the jail, Mr. Conev must prove that a particular defendant has caused or personally participated in causing the deprivation of a particular protected constitutional right. Arnold v. IBM, 637 F.2d 1350, 1355 (9th Cir. 1981); Sherman v. Yakahi, 549 F.2d 1287, 1290 (9th Cir. 1977). Mr. Conev must set forth specific facts showing a causal connection between each defendant's actions and the harm allegedly suffered by plaintiff. Aldabe v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980).

         The complaint does not meet these standards. Instead it alleged a denial of adequate medical care. This is not sufficient to state an Eighth Amendment violation. Mr. Conev may file an amended complaint to provide additional facts to support this claim, including the nature of his injuries and which individual or individuals knew of his injuries and failed to provide treatment.

         B. Exhaustion

         Mr. Conev should also note the The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) provides that:

No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.

42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The exhaustion requirement normally applies to any suit, brought under any federal statute, regarding conditions of imprisonment, including “all prisoners seeking redress for prison circumstances and occurrences . . . whether they involve general circumstances or particular episodes, and whether they allege excessive force or some other wrong.” Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002); Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 85 (2006) (same). Mr. Conev should ...

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