United States District Court, D. New Mexico
Christopher Scott Dangim Rio Rancho, New Mexico Plaintiff pro
LNU, USA Law Enforcement Defendant pro se.
LNU, Rio Rancho Police Defendant pro se.
LNU, Sandoval County Sheriffs Defendant pro se.
LNU, Docs and Mental Health Defendant pro se.
SALAZAR, Officer Defendant pro se.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF DISMISSAL
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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”)] 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 ...