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Salcedo v. King

United States District Court, D. Maine

April 11, 2018

FRANKLIN J. SALCEDO, Plaintiff
v.
WILLIAM KING, et al., Defendants

          RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER SCREENING COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e), 1915a

          John C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge

         In this action, Plaintiff Franklin Salcedo, an inmate at the York County Jail, alleges that he was injured during a prisoner transport as the result of negligent conduct on the part of York County sheriff deputies or corrections officers.

         Plaintiff filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 3), which application the Court granted. (ECF No. 5.) In accordance with the in forma pauperis statute, a preliminary review of Plaintiff's complaint is appropriate. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Additionally, Plaintiff's complaint is subject to screening “before docketing, if feasible or … as soon as practicable after docketing, ” because he is “a prisoner seek[ing] redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).

         Following a review of Plaintiff's complaint, I recommend the Court dismiss Plaintiff's complaint without prejudice.

         Standard of Review

         The federal in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, is designed to ensure meaningful access to the federal courts for those persons unable to pay the costs of bringing an action. When a party is proceeding in forma pauperis, however, “the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines, ” inter alia, that the action is “frivolous or malicious” or “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). “Dismissals [under § 1915] are often made sua sponte prior to the issuance of process, so as to spare prospective defendants the inconvenience and expense of answering such complaints.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989).

         In addition to the review contemplated by § 1915, Plaintiff's complaint is subject to screening under the Prison Litigation Reform Act because Plaintiff currently is incarcerated and seeks redress from governmental entities and officers. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), (c). The § 1915A screening requires courts to “identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint (1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         When considering whether a complaint states a claim for which relief may be granted, courts must assume the truth of all well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all reasonable inferences therefrom. Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

         Although a pro se plaintiff's complaint is subject to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), this is “not to say that pro se plaintiffs are not required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a claim, ” Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir. 1980). To allege a civil action in federal court, it is not enough for a plaintiff merely to allege that a defendant acted unlawfully; a plaintiff must affirmatively allege facts that identify the manner by which the defendant subjected the plaintiff to a harm for which the law affords a remedy. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         Factual Background

         According to Plaintiff's filings, on January 26, 2018, York County officers transported several prisoners, including Plaintiff, in a van that did not contain enough seats for all of the prisoners. The officers directed another prisoner to sit on Plaintiff's lap. During the transport, the officer who was driving the van applied the brakes during a turn and Plaintiff, who was handcuffed and shackled, was injured. (Complaint at 3, ECF No. 1; Additional Narrative, ECF No. 2-7.) Plaintiff alleges he suffered injuries to his neck and back. (ECF No. 2-5, 2-6.) Following the incident, Plaintiff received medical attention. (Grievance Exhibits, ECF Nos. 2-5, 2-6.)

         Plaintiff was subsequently transferred to the Cumberland County Jail. Plaintiff alleges that when he asked as to the reason for the transfer, a corrections officer replied: “You immigrants are causing too many problems from filing complaints.” (ECF No. 2-9.)

         Discussion

         The federal civil rights statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, permits a plaintiff to file an action in federal court against any person who has acted under color of state law to deprive the plaintiff of a federal right. Estades-Negroni v. CPC Hosp. San Juan Capestrano, 412 F.3d 1, 4 (1st Cir. 2005). The defendants identified in Plaintiff's complaint qualify as state actors subject to suit under section 1983. The issue is ...


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