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Bosse v. Blades

United States District Court, D. Idaho

October 30, 2019




         Plaintiff Michael Earl Bosse, a prisoner in custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC), filed a civil rights action and a request to proceed in forma pauperis. (Dkts. 2, 1.) The Court is required to review prisoner and pauper complaints seeking relief against a government entity or official to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915. The Court must dismiss a complaint 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).

         After reviewing the Complaint, the Court has determined that Plaintiff will be required to file an amended complaint if he desires to proceed.


         1. Standard of Law

         Plaintiffs are required to state facts, and not just legal theories, in a complaint. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). In Iqbal, the Court made clear that “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. at 678. In other words, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). If the facts pleaded are “merely consistent with a defendant's liability, ” the complaint has not stated a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Plaintiff brings his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the civil rights statute. To state a § 1983 claim, 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).

         The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects convicted felons against cruel and unusual punishment in prison. To state a claim under the Eighth Amendment, Plaintiff must state facts showing that he is “incarcerated under conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm, ” or that he has been deprived of “the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities” as a result of Defendants' actions. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Plaintiff must also allege facts showing that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his needs. “[D]eliberate indifference entails something more than mere negligence, [but] is satisfied by something less than acts or omissions for the very purpose of causing harm or with knowledge that harm will result.” Id. at 835. To exhibit deliberate indifference, a prison official “must both be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the inference.” Id. at 837. Prison officials who act with deliberate indifference “to the threat of serious harm or injury” by one prisoner against another are subject to liability under § 1983. Berg v. Kincheloe, 794 F.2d 457, 459 (9th Cir. 1986).

         A plaintiff must allege facts showing how each defendant personally violated his constitutional rights. Vague and conclusory allegations of official participation in civil rights violations are not sufficient. See Ivey v. Board of Regents of Univ. of Alaska, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982). Rather, “[l]iability under section 1983 arises only upon a showing of personal participation by the defendant.” Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989).

         There is no respondeat superior liability under §1983, meaning a supervisor cannot be sued simply because he or she is a supervisor. Id. Rather, a plaintiff must allege facts showing that a supervisor participated in an alleged constitutional violation by: (1) “setting in motion a series of acts by others”; (2) “knowingly refus[ing] to terminate a series of acts by others, which [the supervisor] knew or reasonably should have known would cause others to inflict a constitutional injury”; (3) failing to act or improperly acting in “the training, supervision, or control of his subordinates”; (4) “acquiesc[ing] in the constitutional deprivation”; or (5) engaging in “conduct that showed a reckless or callous indifference to the rights of others.” Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1205-09 (9th Cir. 2011) (internal quotations and punctuation omitted).

         A plaintiff cannot simply restate these standards of law in a complaint; instead, a plaintiff must provide specific facts supporting the elements of such a claim. He must allege facts showing a causal link between the Defendant and the injury or damage. Alleging “the mere possibility of misconduct” is not enough. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

         2. Factual Allegations

         Before or upon arriving at the IDOC Receiving and Diagnostic Unit (RDU), Plaintiff, a 60-year-old prisoner, warned unidentified prison officials that he was going to be beaten up by other prisoners. He conveyed his warnings both verbally and in a written “kite” (Offender Concern Form). However, on or near January 8, 2017, within eighteen hours of having arrived, he was attacked by an unknown prisoner and beaten until he was unconscious. Plaintiff suffered serious injuries. He asserts that the assailant was able to attack Plaintiff because Defendants purposely left his cell door open, ...

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