Goodlett v. Delgado, 19-cv-1922-AJB-AGS

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
Writing for the CourtHon. Andrew G. Schopler, United States Magistrate Judge.
PartiesRandall GOODLETT, Plaintiff, v. Ramiro DELGADO, et al., Defendants.
Decision Date15 November 2021
Docket Number19-cv-1922-AJB-AGS

Randall GOODLETT, Plaintiff,

Ramiro DELGADO, et al., Defendants.

No. 19-cv-1922-AJB-AGS

United States District Court, S.D. California

November 15, 2021


Hon. Andrew G. Schopler, United States Magistrate Judge.

Earlier in this case, the Court dismissed three of plaintiff's claims. But one defendant had not been served at the time. Now that he has, he requests dismissal of those same claims on the same bases, which plaintiff does not oppose. So, for the same reasons as previously given, this Court recommends defendant Delgado's motion to dismiss be granted.


While incarcerated at R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility, plaintiff Randall Goodlett alleges that a prison guard knocked him unconscious without provocation and that other officers failed to intervene or report the misconduct. (ECF 1, at 3-5.) After transferring to a new prison, Goodlett filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against those guards. (Id. at 1.) In January 2020, all four of the defendants moved to dismiss three portions of Goodlett's complaint: (1) the Fourteenth Amendment substantive-due-process claim; (2) the request for money damages against defendants in their official capacities; and (3) the injunctive relief claim. (ECF 9.) That motion to dismiss was granted on September 11, 2020, based on this Court's recommendation. (ECF 13; ECF 12.) But one defendant-Delgado-had


not yet been served at the time the January 2020 motion to dismiss was filed. (ECF 27, at 3.)

Delgado, now served, filed the present motion out “of an abundance of caution and to facilitate a clear and procedurally appropriate record.” (Id.) This motion seeks to dismiss the same three claims against Delgado that the September 11, 2020 Order dismissed against the other defendants. (Id. at 2.) Delgado seeks the partial dismissal on the “precise same legal grounds.”[1] (Id. at 6.) Goodlett was served a copy of this motion on June 1, 2021, but did not respond. Delgado filed a notice of a failure to oppose on July 15, 2021, and the motion to dismiss remains unopposed by Goodlett. (ECF 30.)


This court may dismiss a case for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). When deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court's “inquiry is limited to the allegations in the complaint, which are accepted as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Lazy Y Ranch LTD v. Behrens, 546 F.3d 580, 588 (9th Cir. 2008). If a plaintiff proceeds without an attorney, like Goodlett here, the Court has an obligation to “construe the pleadings liberally” and afford plaintiff the “benefit of any doubt.” Martinez v. Barr, 941 F.3d 907, 916 (9th Cir. 2019).


A. Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Claim

Delgado moves to dismiss Goodlett's Fourteenth Amendment due-process claim, arguing that it is duplicative of his allegations of “excessive force and failure to intervene under the Eighth Amendment.”[2] (ECF 27, at 8.) When a specific constitutional Amendment “provides an explicit textual source of constitutional protection against a particular sort of government behavior, that Amendment, not the more generalized notion of ‘substantive due process,' must be the guide for analyzing these claims.” Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 273 (1994) (plurality) (quotation marks omitted). Thus, any “protection that ‘substantive due process' affords convicted prisoners against excessive force is . . . at best redundant of that provided by the Eighth Amendment.” Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 395 n.10 (1986).

Goodlett alleges that Delgado used excessive force against him “by slamming [him] to the ground, knocking [him] unconscious.” (ECF 1, at 4.) Like the failure-to-intervene and improper-transportation allegations levied against the other three defendants (id.), such a claim falls squarely within the Eighth Amendment's explicit protections: that Amendment “is specifically concerned with the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain in penal institutions.” Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 327 (1986). As a result, Goodlett's due-process “claim is preempted by the Eighth...

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