United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTER is before the Court sua sponte under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) on
the Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights
(“Complaint”) filed by Plaintiff Walter Benson.
(Doc. 1). The Complaint fails to state a claim on which
relief can be granted under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and will be
Walter Benson is a prisoner proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis. (Doc. 4). Plaintiff Benson filed his
Complaint on November 3, 2016. (Doc. 1). Benson's
Complaint alleges violation of his civil rights under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1 at 3). In his Complaint, Benson
“February 5th 2016 about 8:45 am I sliped in
the shower and broke my left ankle . . .I was coming out of
the shower and by the floor was still wet, and by them not
having any safety floor mats, I sliped and broke my left
ankle in three places. . .This grievos injury was due to not
having the right safety mats or grab bars on the walls at
that time in that shower.”
(Doc. 1 at 3, 5). The sole Defendant named by Plaintiff
Benson is Central New Mexico Correctional Facility. (Doc. 1
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).
“Every person who, under
color of any statue, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage,
of any State, Territory or the District of Columbia,
subjects or causes to be subjected,
any citizen of the United States or other person within the
jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights,
privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and
laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at
law . . .”
42 U.S.C. § 1983 (emphasis added). To 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).
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
(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 1249-50.
only named Defendant in this action is the Central New Mexico
Correctional Facility. Central New Mexico Correctional
Facility is part of the New Mexico Department of Corrections,
a state agency. As such, the claims against it are claims
against the State of New Mexico. The State is not a
“person” within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §
1983 and, therefore, there is no remedy against the State
under § 1983. The claims against the Central New Mexico
Correctional Facility will be dismissed for failure to state
a claim for relief. Will v. Michigan Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 63-64 (1989).
Benson does not name any individual official as a defendant,
nor does he allege any individual conduct that deprived him
of any right in violation of the Constitution. He indicates
that Correctional Officer Harrell witnessed his slip and fall
and that the Unit Manager, Mr. Rigdins, was informed. (Doc. 1
at 5, 7). However, he does not allege any personal
involvement by them or any actions by them that caused a
constitutional violation. The Complaint fails to state any
§ 1983 claim for relief against any individual official.
Fogarty v. Gallegos, 523 F.3d at 1162; Robbins
v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d at 1249-50.
although Benson does not allege violation of any
constitutional provision, his Complaint asserts claims
arising out of prison conditions. Civil rights claims based
on prison conditions generally proceed under the Eighth
Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
To state an Eighth Amendment claim, an inmate must allege
facts showing that prison officials displayed deliberate
indifference to the health or safety of inmates. Hope v.
Pelzer,536 U.S. 730, 738 (2002). Ordinary negligence is
insufficient to establish a violation of the Eighth
Amendment. Whitley v. Albers,475 U.S. 312, 322
(1986); see also Farmer ...