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Rogstad v. Overgaard

United States District Court, D. Idaho

August 23, 2019

JESSE RYAN ROGSTAD, Plaintiff,
v.
LIEUTENANT OVERGAARD, Defendant.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER BY SCREENING JUDGE

          B. LYNN WINMILL U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         The Clerk of Court conditionally filed Plaintiff Jesse Ryan Rogstad's Complaint as a result of Plaintiff's status as an inmate and in forma pauperis request. The Court now reviews the Complaint to determine whether it or any of the claims contained therein should be summarily dismissed under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A. Having reviewed the record, and otherwise being fully informed, the Court enters the following Order.

         1. Screening Requirement

         The Court must review complaints filed by persons who cannot pay the filing fee and prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a governmental entity to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate. The Court must dismiss a complaint or any portion thereof that states a frivolous or malicious claim, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) & 1915A(b).

         2. Pleading Standard

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A complaint fails to state a claim for relief under Rule 8 if the factual assertions in the complaint, taken as true, are insufficient for the reviewing court plausibly “to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         To state a plausible civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege a violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute proximately caused by conduct of a person acting under color of state law. Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991).

         3. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff is a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction. He alleges that, in the spring of 2018, Lieutenant Overgaard came into his cell at 3:00 a.m. and slid his mattress back by the bunk. Plaintiff told Overgaard to get out of his cell. Overgaard then pushed Plaintiff against the wall and bed, cracking his head and leaving a huge scar on the back of his head. (Dkt. 3, p. 2.) Plaintiff asserts that these acts violated his federal constitutional and state law rights.

         4. Substantive Standards of Law

         Unconstitutionally excessive force occurs when a government actor subjects a prisoner to gratuitous or disproportionate force that has no object but to inflict pain. Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 320-21 (1986). Under the Eighth Amendment, force is deemed legitimate in a custodial setting as long as it is applied “in a good faith effort to maintain or restore discipline [and not] maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.” Id.

         To determine if an application of force was applied maliciously and sadistically to cause harm, a variety of factors are considered including: “the need for the application of force, the relationship between that need and the amount of force used, the threat reasonably perceived by the responsible officials, and any efforts made to temper the severity of a forceful response.” Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 7-8 (1992); see also Whitley, 475 U.S. at 321; Harris v. Chapman, 97 F.3d 499, 505 (11th Cir. 1996). From consideration of such factors, “inferences may be drawn as to whether the use of force could plausibly have been thought necessary, or instead evinced such wantonness with respect to the unjustified infliction of harm as is tantamount to a knowing willingness that it occur.” Whitley, 475 U.S. at 321.

         A state law claim of civil battery consists of an intentional, unpermitted contact upon the person of another which is unlawful, harmful or offensive. White v. University of Idaho, 118 Idaho 400, 797 P.2d 108 (1990). The intent necessary for battery is the intent to commit the act, not the intent to cause harm. Id.

         5. ...


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