United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
CURRY J. SOTO, Plaintiff,
GARFIELD COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
CHARLES B. GOODWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Curry J. Soto, a state prisoner appearing pro se and
proceeding in forma pauperis, brings this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violation of his
constitutional rights. See Compl. (Doc. No. 1). Upon
review of Plaintiff's Complaint, the Court finds that
certain of the claims asserted by Plaintiff should be
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may
Standard of Review and the Court's Screening
Court is obliged to conduct an initial review of
Plaintiff's Complaint to identify its cognizable claims
and to dismiss the pleading, or any portion thereof, that is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A(b)(1), 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e(c). A pro se litigant's complaint must be
liberally construed. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97,
106 (1976). The broad construction of a pro se
plaintiff's allegations does not, however, “relieve
the plaintiff of the burden of alleging sufficient facts on
which a recognized legal claim could be based.”
Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir.
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted when it lacks factual allegations sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative level
on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint
are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (footnote and
citation omitted). In evaluating whether a plaintiff has
stated a valid claim, the Court “accept[s] as true all
well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint and view[s]
them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.”
Burnett v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 706
F.3d 1231, 1235 (10th Cir. 2013); see also Kay v.
Bemis, 500 F.3d 1214, 1217-18 (10th Cir. 2007) (applying
Rule 12(b)(6) standard to review of a dismissal under §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)). Bare legal conclusions in a complaint are
not entitled to the assumption of truth; “they must be
supported by factual allegations” to state a claim for
relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).
Complaint names seven Defendants: Sheriff Jerry Niles, Deputy
Chance, Deputy Bishop, Supervisor Vanessa, and Assistant Jail
Administrator Marcus (collectively, the “Individual
Defendants”); and Garfield County Detention Facility
(“GCDF”) and the Garfield County Sheriff's
Department (collectively, the “County
Defendants”). See Compl. at 1, 5-6,
Liberally construing the complaint, the undersigned has
assumed for purposes of preliminary review that the
Individual Defendants are sued in both their official and
individual capacities. Plaintiff seeks the termination of the
Individual Defendants from their employment, as well as money
damages. See Id. at 9, 10, 12.
allegations present three § 1983 claims arising from a
period when Plaintiff was housed at GCDF: (1) an
excessive-force claim based on the Eighth Amendment (Claim
1); and (2) a conditions-of-confinement claim based on the
Eighth Amendment (Claim 2); (3) a claim for deprivation of
religious materials based on the First Amendment (Claim 3).
1, asserted against the five Individual Defendants, is based
on events alleged to have occurred on or about November 11,
2016. See Id. at 8-9, 11. According to the
Complaint, Defendant Vanessa procured an order from Defendant
Marcus to have Plaintiff removed from GCDF's medical
unit, despite a previous instruction from the Jail
Administrator to “‘NOT' . . . move
[Plaintiff] out of Medical due to [p]rotective [c]ustody
issues without calling [the Jail Administrator] first.”
Id. at 9. Plaintiff alleges that, in response to the
order, Defendants Chance and Bishop arrived at the medical
unit and, “without giving any verbal commands,
immediately apprehended [Plaintiff], . . . twist[ed] his arm
behind his back [and] forc[ed] him to bend over a
table” while “repeatedly punch[ing] [Plaintiff]
in the ribs.” Id. at 11. Plaintiff further
alleges that Defendant Chance “pinned [Plaintiff]
against the table from behind by pressing his genitals
against [Plaintiff's] buttocks [and] repeatedly grinding
[and] pressing himself against [Plaintiff], ” resulting
in “bruising on [Plaintiff] in the crotch area.”
Id. Plaintiff alleges that after the attack, a GCDF
nurse submitted an incident report and that photographs were
taken of his injuries by a facility supervisor. See
2 and 3 are asserted against the two County Defendants.
See Id. at 9-10, 12. In Claim 2, Plaintiff alleges
that, from July 7, 2016, to January 8, 2017, he was
“repeatedly denied cleaning supplies while . . .
house[d] in a cell in Medical Pod that was full of blood,
used bandages, urine, [and] feces.” Id. at 10.
He also alleges that from October to December of 2016 he
“was repeatedly left in the cell with [another]
inmate's blood” and was “forced to clean up
the blood” himself without proper “cleaning
supplies and material.” Id. at 11. Plaintiff
further alleges that, when cleaning materials were ultimately
provided, they were “issued to [him] through his eating
slot (bean hole).” Id. at 11.
is predicated on the allegation that, from December 24, 2016,
to December 28, 2016, Plaintiff's “clothes,
mattress, blanket, property, [and] Bible were physically
removed from him by Garfield County Sheriff's Department
[and] [GCDF] staff . . ., subjecting [Plaintiff] to concrete
lock-down [and] denial of religious material.”
Id. at 12.
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that
he or she has been deprived of a federal right and that the
person who deprived him or her of that right was a
“person” acting under color of state law.
See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. As an initial matter, the
Court must determine whether the various Defendants are
subject to suit.
Claim 2 and 3: Claims Against ...