United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTER is before the Court on the Prisoner's Civil Rights
Complaint filed by Plaintiff Lucian Moon Patchell on May 6,
2016 (“Complaint”). (Doc. 1). The Court will
dismiss Patchell's Complaint for failure to state a claim
for relief, but will grant Patchell leave to file an amended
complaint within thirty (30) days.
Standards for Failure to State a Claim
Patchell is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis
on civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court
has the discretion to dismiss an in forma pauperis
complaint sua sponte for failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted under either Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) or 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) the Court must accept all well-pled
factual allegations, but not conclusory, unsupported
allegations, and may not consider matters outside the
pleading. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007); Dunn v. White, 880 F.2d 1188, 1190
(10th Cir. 1989). The court may dismiss a
complaint under rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim if
“it is ‘patently obvious' that the plaintiff
could not prevail on the facts alleged.” Hall v.
Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1109 (10th Cir. 1991) (quoting
McKinney v. Oklahoma Dep't of Human Services,
925 F.2d 363, 365 (10th Cir. 1991)). A plaintiff must allege
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. A claim should be dismissed where it is legally or
factually insufficient to state a plausible claim for relief.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) the Court may dismiss the complaint at
any time if the Court determines the action fails to state a
claim for relief or is frivolous or malicious. 28 U.S.C.
§ 915(e)(2)(B)(2). The authority granted by § 1915
permits the court the unusual power to pierce the veil of the
complaint's factual allegations and dismiss those claims
whose factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989). See also Hall
v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d at 1109. The authority to
“pierce the veil of the complaint's factual
allegations” means that a court is not bound, as it
usually is when making a determination based solely on the
pleadings, to accept without question the truth of the
plaintiff's allegations. Denton v. Hernandez,
504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992). The Court is not required to
accept the truth of the plaintiff's allegations but,
instead, may go beyond the pleadings and consider any other
materials filed by the parties, as well as court proceedings
subject to judicial notice. Denton, 504 U.S. at
32-33. In reviewing a pro se complaint, the Court liberally
construes the factual allegations. See Northington v.
Jackson, 973 F.2d 1518, 1520-21 (10th Cir. 1992).
However, a pro se plaintiff's pleadings are judged by the
same legal standards that apply to all litigants and a pro se
plaintiff must abide by the applicable rules of court.
Ogden v. San Juan County, 32 F.3d 452, 455
(10thCir. 1994). The Court is not obligated to
craft legal theories for the plaintiff or to supply factual
allegations to support the plaintiff's claims. Nor may
the Court assume the role of advocate for the pro se
litigant. Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d at 1110.
deciding whether to dismiss the complaint, in whole or in
part, the Court is to consider whether to allow plaintiff an
opportunity to amend the complaint. Pro se plaintiffs should
be given a reasonable opportunity to remedy defects in their
pleadings. Reynoldson v. Shillinger, 907 F.2d 124,
126 (10th Cir. 1990). The opportunity to amend
should be granted unless amendment would be futile. Hall
v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d at 1109. An amendment is futile if
the amended claims would also be subject to immediate
dismissal under the rule 12(b)(6) or § 1915(e)(2)(B)
standards. Bradley v. Val-Mejias, 379 F.3d 892, 901
(10th Cir. 2004).
Claims for Relief Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must assert acts by government officials acting
under color of law that result in a deprivation of rights
secured by the United States Constitution. 42 U.S.C. §
1983; West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). There
must be a connection between official conduct and violation
of a constitutional right. Conduct that is not connected to a
constitutional violation is not actionable under Section
1983. See Trask v. Franco, 446 F.3d 1036, 1046
(10th Cir. 1998).
a civil rights action against a public official or entity may
not be based solely on a theory of respondeat superior
liability for the actions of co-workers or subordinates. A
plaintiff must plead that each government official, through
the official's own individual actions, has violated the
Constitution. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676,
129 S.Ct. 1937, 1948 (2009). Plaintiff must allege some
personal involvement by an identified official in the alleged
constitutional violation to succeed under § 1983.
Fogarty v. Gallegos, 523 F.3d 1147, 1162
(10thCir. 2008). In a Section 1983 action, it is
particularly important that a plaintiff's complaint
“make clear exactly who is alleged to have
done what to whom, to provide each individual with
fair notice as to the basis of the claim against him or
her.” Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242,
1249-50 (10th Cir. 2008) (emphasis in the
original). Generalized allegations against
“defendants” or “officers, ” without
identification of individual actors and conduct that caused
the deprivation of a constitutional right, do not state any
claim for relief. Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d at
state a claim against a supervisory official, it was not
enough for a plaintiff to make indefinite allegations that
defendant was in charge of other state actors who actually
committed the violation. Instead, the plaintiff must
establish a deliberate, intentional act by the supervisor to
violate constitutional rights. Serna v. Colorado Dept. of
Corrections, 455 F.3d 1146, 1151 (10thCir.
2006). To impose § 1983 liability the plaintiff must
establish the supervisor's subordinates violated the
Constitution and an affirmative link between the supervisor
and the violation. Id. To meet this
“affirmative link” requirement a Plaintiff must
show: (1) personal involvement by the supervisor, (2)
sufficient causal connection between the supervisor's
personal involvement and the constitutional violation, and
(3) a culpable state of mind on the part of the supervisor. A
plaintiff may establish the defendant-supervisor's
personal involvement by demonstrating his personal
participation in the constitutional violation, his actual
exercise of control or direction over the officials in the
commission of the violation, his failure to supervise, or his
knowledge of the violation and acquiescence in it. Poolaw
v. Marcantel, 565 F.3d 721, 732-33 (10th Cir.
2009); Jenkins v. Wood, 81 F.3d 988, 995 (10th
Cir.1996). A defendant supervisor's promulgation,
creation, implementation, or utilization of a policy that
caused a deprivation of plaintiff's rights also may
constitute sufficient personal involvement. See Meade v.
Grubbs, 841 F.2d 1512, 1528 (10th Cir.1988). A plaintiff
then must establish the requisite causal connection by
showing the defendant set in motion a series of events that
the defendant knew or reasonably should have known would
cause others to deprive the plaintiff of his constitutional
rights. Poolaw, 565 F.3d at 732-33; see, also,
Snell v. Tunnell, 920 F.2d 673, 700 (10th
Cir. 1990). Last, the plaintiff is required to show the
supervisor had a culpable state of mind, meaning “the
supervisor acted knowingly or with ‘deliberate
indifference' that a constitutional violation would
occur.” Serna, 455 F.3d at 1151, 1154.
Dodds v. Richardson, 614 F.3d 1185, 1194-96 (10th
Patchell's Complaint Fails to State a Claim for §
the § 1915(e)(2)(B) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) standards,
the original Complaint filed by Patchell fails to state a
claim for relief under § 1983. Patchell claims that on
June 17, 2014 at the Taos County Adult Detention Center, he
was strip-searched in the presence of female staff, had a
mace/pepper ball gun aimed at him, and was forced to sit
“in other peoples snot, spit, and
‘lewgies'” in violation of his 8th
and 14th Amendment rights. (Doc. 1 at 2-3).
Patchell does not identify any of the individual detention
facility officers actually involved in the alleged
unconstitutional acts. The Complaint does not name, and fails
to state a claim for relief against, any subordinate Taos
County Adult Detention Center official. Fogarty v.
Gallegos, 523 F.3d at 1162.
does identify “Majer Lorenzo Silva” as a
Defendant and appears to claim supervisory liability on the
part of Defendant Silva. (Doc. 1 at 1-2). Patchell alleges
that Defendant Silva is “the jail commander/chief of
operations at the Taos County Adult Correctional
Facility.” (Doc. 1 at 2). Plaintiff Patchell makes
generalized allegations that the actions he complains of were
taken “while under direct order from Mr. Silva, ”
“under Mr. Silva's direct supervision, ” and
“under direct authority and instruction of Majer
Silva.” (Doc. 1 at 2-3). Patchell fails, however, to
allege specific facts showing personal involvement in the
alleged constitutional violations by Silva, a causal
connection between Silva's personal involvement and the
constitutional violation, or a culpable state of mind on the
part of Defendant Silva. Serna, 455 F.3d at
1151-1154; Dodds, 614 F.3d at 1194-96. Plaintiff
Patchell fails to sufficiently state a plausible claim of
supervisory liability against Defendant Silva.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
Patchell also names the Taos County Adult Detention Center as
a Defendant. The Taos County Adult Detention Center is not a
“person” within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §
1983 and, therefore, there is no remedy against the Taos
County Adult Detention Center under § 1983. Therefore,
the claims against the Taos County Adult Detention Center
fail to state a claim for relief and will be dismissed.
Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S.
58, 63-64 (1989).
Patchell Will Be ...