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Casillas v. Westerfield

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

January 13, 2020

ANTHONY CASILLAS, Plaintiff,
v.
JARED WESTERFIELD, SGT. JUSTIN DELONG, C/O DAVID MONTOYA, C/O ANTONIO PEREZ, C/O JUAN SANDOVAL, C/O FREDERICK PICKERING, SGT. DANNY EVANS, LT. ANTONIO CHAVARIA, LT. MISTY GARLEY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         THIS MATTER is before the Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B), and Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) on the Prisoner's Civil Rights Complaint filed by Plaintiff, Anthony Casillas (Doc. 1). The Court will dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted, but will grant Plaintiff Casillas leave to file an amended complaint.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiff, Anthony Casillas is a prisoner serving two life sentences for First Degree Murder at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility. (Doc. 1 at 1; State v. Casillas, No. D-905-CR-2008-00661). Plaintiff Casillas is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. (Doc. 6). Plaintiff brings prisoner civil rights claims in this Court under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1343. (Doc. 1 at 1-3).

         In his Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint, Casillas alleges that prison officials violated state law and prison procedures, “assaulted” him, and did not provide him with needed medical care. (Doc. 1 at 3-5). Plaintiff Casillas names, as Defendants, Sgt. Jared Westerfield, Sgt. Justin Delong, C/O David Montoya, C/O Antonio Perez, C/O Juan Sandoval, C/O Frederick Pickering, Sgt. Danny Evans, Lt. Antonio Chavaria, and Lt. Misty Garley. (Doc. 1 at 1-2). Casillas claims:

“Officers mentioned herein conducted themselves in an unappropriate (sic) manner, (I) Inmate Anthony Casillas #71798 was assaulted by all above, their behavior led to serious bodily harm, I was injured and required medical attention. Physically assaulted with closed first, kicked and choked . . . Rights were violated, laws were broke and policy procedure was not followed by these officers.”

(Doc. 1 at 2). In his prayer for relief, Plaintiff Casillas requests:

“Immediate transffer (sic) to another facility, disciplinary action to all staff involved, dismiss restitution for staff uniforms damaged during assault, compensation for physical injuries and mental anguish caused by these officers.”

(Doc. 1 at 6). Plaintiff's Complaint does not specify a date or dates on which any of the events occurred, nor does it identify what officials, if any, were involved in the claimed failure to provide medical attention.

         II. The Law Regarding Dismissal for Failure to State a Claim

         Plaintiff Casillas is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. 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. Id.

         Under § 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. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). 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 (10th Cir. 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.

         III. Analysis of Plaintiff ...


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