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Dangim v. FNU LNU, USA Law Enforcement

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

August 23, 2017

CHRISTOPHER SCOTT DANGIM, Plaintiff,
v.
FNU LNU, USA Law Enforcement, FNU LNU, Rio Rancho Police, FNU LNU, Sandoval County Sheriffs, FNU LNU, Docs and Mental Health, FNU SALAZAR, Officer, Defendants.

          Christopher Scott Dangim Rio Rancho, New Mexico Plaintiff pro se.

          FNU LNU, USA Law Enforcement Defendant pro se.

          FNU LNU, Rio Rancho Police Defendant pro se.

          FNU LNU, Sandoval County Sheriffs Defendant pro se.

          FNU LNU, Docs and Mental Health Defendant pro se.

          FNU SALAZAR, Officer Defendant pro se.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF DISMISSAL

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, on: (i) the Plaintiff's Amended Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights, filed July 6, 2017 (Doc. 22)(“Amended Complaint”); (ii) the Plaintiff's Appendix/Supplement to his Amended Complaint, filed July 6, 2017 (Doc. 23)(“Appendix/Supplement”); and (iii) the Plaintiff's Letter From Christopher Scott Dangim, filed July 18, 2017 (Doc. 24)(“Motion to Appoint Counsel”). Plaintiff Christopher Scott Dangim was incarcerated at the time of filing, appears pro se, and is proceeding in forma pauperis. For the reasons explained below, the Court will dismiss Dangim's Amended Complaint and Appendix/Supplement without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, deny his Motion to Appoint Counsel as moot, and enter Final Judgment.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On July 11, 2016, Dangim filed a Prisoner's Civil Rights Complaint, filed July 11, 2016 (Doc. 1)(“Complaint”), which appears to raise multiple constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against various unidentified Defendants. See Complaint at 1. First, Dangim appears to allege that police officers employed by the City of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and the County of Sandoval, New Mexico, racially profiled him, tazed him, and falsely arrested him in 2008 and 2012. See Complaint at 2-5. Second, Dangim alleges that he was deprived of his right under the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America “to appear at the grand jury in sound state of mind.” Complaint at 4. Third, Dangim alleges that he “was jumped in prison by two guards who twisted my arm and said I was resisting and jumped and burned me.” Complaint at 4. Last, Dangim alleges that his right under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America to be free from cruel and unusual punishment was violated when he was physically assaulted in county jail and denied “outside hospital treatment, ” even though his “finger was severed at the [cuticle].” Complaint at 1. In his request for relief, Dangim requests to be exonerated of all criminal charges, released from state custody, preliminary injunctive relief “against officers [for] racist tactics, ” and compensatory damages in the amount of five million dollars. Complaint at 6.

         Attached to Dangim's Complaint is a state court complaint, which appears to raise claims under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 41-4-1, et seq. See Complaint at 8. Dangim alleges that, in November 2016, Officer FNU Salazar, a guard at the Sandoval County Detention Center, placed an unhygienic substance in his food and slammed his hand in the feed port, severing his finger at the cuticle. See Complaint at 8-9. Dangim further alleges that he was denied medical treatment, resulting in an infection in his finger and causing him to be “permanently maimed.” Complaint at 9. In his prayer for relief, Dangim requests “charges of assault” to be filed against the guard and compensatory damages in the amount of $300, 000.00. Complaint at 10.

         After certain mailings to Dangim were returned as undelivered, the Honorable Steven C. Yarbrough, United States Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, ordered Dangim to show cause why the Court should not dismiss his complaint for failure to inform the Court of his current mailing address as D.N.M. LR-Civ. 83.6 requires. See Order to Show Cause at 1-2, filed July 26, 2016 (Doc. 6). In response, Dangim explained that he was unexpectedly released from state custody and informed the Court of his new mailing address. See Response to Order to Show Cause at 1, filed August 10, 2016 (Doc. 8)(“First Response”); Response to Cure Defects at 1, filed August 10, 2016 (Doc. 9)(“Second Response”); Second Response to Order to Show Cause at 1, filed August 10, 2016 (Doc. 10)(“Third Response”), Second Response to Cure Defects at 1, filed August 10, 2016 (Doc. 11)(“Fourth Response”). Dangim also requested a change of venue to an African-American judge. See Response at 1; Second Response at 1; Third Response at 1; Fourth Response at 1.

         On August 22, 2016, Magistrate Judge Yarbrough quashed the Order To Show Cause and liberally construed Dangim's request for a change of venue as a motion to disqualify under 28 U.S.C. § 455(a). See Order Quashing Order to Show Cause Granting Leave to Proceed Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, and Denying Motion to Disqualify at 1, filed August 22, 2016 (Doc. 13)(“Quash Order”). Judge Yarbrough denied Dangim's motion because “unsupported and speculative assertions of bias or prejudice are insufficient to merit disqualification under § 455(a).” Quash Order at 3.

         On September 1, 2016, Dangim submitted 191 pages of exhibits, which include medical and mental health records as well as various documents from his state court criminal proceedings. See Sealed Notice, filed August 23, 2016 (Doc. 19)(“Medical Records”). Magistrate Judge Yarbrough determined that the information contained in these records triggered the obligation under rule 17(c)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “to inquire into the current status of [Dangim's] mental health to determine whether the appointment of a guardian ad litem, or other appropriate order, is required.” Sealed Order Requiring Supplemental Documentation Regarding Plaintiff's Mental Competency at 3, filed March 15, 2017 (Doc. 20)(“Supplemental Documentation Order”). Magistrate Judge Yarbrough ordered Dangim to submit, on or before April 14, 2017, “supplemental documentation regarding the current status of his mental health, including, but not limited to, court records, updated medical records, and statement from treating physicians or psychiatrists.” Supplemental Documentation Order at 3 (emphasis in original). Dangim did not comply or otherwise respond to Magistrate Judge Yarbrough's order.

         On June 2, 2017, the Court held, pursuant to Powell v. Symons, 680 F.3d 301 (3d Cir. 2012), that “sua sponte screening under §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A generally should precede an inquiry into a pro se litigant's mental competence under rule 17(c).” Memorandum Opinion and Order, filed June 2, 2017 (Doc. 21). The Court determined that Dangim's Complaint does not state a claim on which relief may be granted and, therefore, dismissed the Complaint pursuant to §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b). See Memorandum Opinion and Order at 14-15. First, the Court dismissed Dangim's § 1983 claims against Defendants Rio Rancho Police and Sandoval County Sheriffs, because “[t]he Rio Rancho Police Department and the Sandoval County Sheriff's Office are governmental sub-units that are not subject to suit under § 1983.” Memorandum Opinion and Order at 10. Second, the Court dismissed Dangim's § 1983 claims against “USA Law Enforcement, ” because “Bivens[v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971)(“Bivens”)][1] only applies . . . to individual federal officials” and because “Dangim's complaint does not identify any individual federal officers.” Memorandum Opinion and Order at 11. Third, the Court dismissed Dangim's § 1983 claims against Salazar, “[b]ecause it is unclear from the facts the Complaint alleges whether Salazar's conduct merely was negligent, or whether it was deliberately indifferent to ...


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