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Bulltail v. Yellowstone County Detention Facility

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

May 28, 2018

COLTON GERARD BULLTAIL, Plaintiff,
v.
YELLOWSTONE COUNTY DETENTION FACILITY, SHERIFF MIKE LINDER, CAPTAIN SAM BOFTO, LIEUTENANT TIMOTHY NEITER, SERGEANT RANDY NAGEL, and OFFICER DAKOTA SING, Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

          Timothy J. Cavan United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Colton Bulltail filed a Complaint alleging Defendants forced him to remain overnight in a cell with feces and urine on the floor in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and this matter should be dismissed.

         I. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         A. Parties

         Mr. Bulltail is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel and in forma pauperis. His claims arose during his incarceration at Yellowstone County Detention Facility (YCDF) in Billings, Montana. He names the following Defendants: Yellowstone County Detention Facility, Sheriff Mike Linder, Captain Sam Bofto, Lieutenant Timothy Neiter, Sergeant Randy Nagel, and Officer Dakota Sing. (Complaint, Doc. 2 at 5-7.)

         B. Allegations

         Mr. Bulltail alleges his Eighth Amendment rights were violated on November 12, 2016 when urine and feces from the cell above his cell backed up out of his toilet onto the floor. He asked Officer Jameson if he could clean the cell, but was told that since it was shift change he would have to wait until count cleared. After count cleared, Mr. Bulltail again asked if he could clean the urine and feces off the floor, but Officer Dakota Sing told him there were no clean mop heads, and he would not be let out of the cell to clean it up. Mr. Bulltail went to sleep, and when the next shift came on Officer Johnson let him out to clean the cell. (Complaint, Doc. 2 at 8.)

         II. INITIAL SCREENING

         Mr. Bulltail is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis so the Court must review his Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and § 1915A. Sections 1915A(b) and 1915(e)(2)(B) require the Court to dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis and/or by a prisoner against a governmental defendant before it is served if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. A complaint is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). "A case is malicious if it was filed with the intention or desire to harm another." Andrews v. King, 398 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2005). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if a plaintiff fails to allege the "grounds"'of his "entitlement to relief." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quotation omitted).

         Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a complaint "that states a claim for relief must contain ... a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the [plaintiff] is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). That is, a complaint must "contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations omitted). A complaint's allegations must cross "the line from conceivable to plausible." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 680.

         There is a two-step procedure to determine whether a complaint's allegations cross that line. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556; Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662. First, the Court must identify "the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679, 680. Factual allegations are not entitled to the assumption of truth if they are "merely consistent with liability," or "amount to nothing more than a 'formulaic recitation of the elements' of a constitutional" claim. Id. at 679, 681. A complaint stops short of the line between probability and the possibility of relief where the facts pled are merely consistent with a defendant's liability. Id. at 678.

         Second, the Court must determine whether the complaint states a "plausible" claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. A claim is "plausible" if the factual allegations, which are accepted as true, "allow[ ] the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 678. This inquiry is "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679 (citation omitted). If the factual allegations, which are accepted as true, "do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not "show[n]"-"that the pleader is entitled to relief." Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

         "A document filed pro se is 'to be liberally construed,' and 'a, pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Erickson v. Pardu, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); cf. Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 8(e) ("Pleadings must be construed so as to do justice").

         III. ...


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