UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
March 3, 1997
ALEJANDRO MADRID, Plaintiff(s),
AUGUSTINE LOPEZ, et al., Defendant(s).
The opinion of the court was delivered by: HENDERSON
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
Per order filed on August 29, 1996, the court: (1) dismissed plaintiff's claims of denial of access to the courts for failure to establish actual injury pursuant to Lewis v. Casey, 135 L. Ed. 2d 606, 116 S. Ct. 2174, 2181 (1996), and (2) ordered service of plaintiff's claim that the prison's policy of not permitting talking in the law library violated the First Amendment. Defendants now move to dismiss on the ground that plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
A complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. Terracom v. Valley Nat'l Bank, 49 F.3d 555, 558 (9th Cir. 1995). A court is not required to accept legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations if those conclusions cannot reasonably be drawn from the facts alleged, however. Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754-55 (9th Cir. 1994).
Prison policies or regulations that infringe on a prisoner's First Amendment rights are valid so long as they are "reasonably related to legitimate penological interests." Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89, 96 L. Ed. 2d 64, 107 S. Ct. 2254 (1987). Defendants contend that plaintiff fails to state a claim because even a non-incarcerated citizen does not posses the right plaintiff asserts in this case, i.e., the right to talk in a library. The court agrees.
A library's "very purpose is to aid in the acquisition of knowledge through reading, writing and quiet contemplation. Thus, the exercise of other oral and interactive First Amendment activities is antithetical to the nature of the Library." Kreimer v. Bureau of Police for the Town of Morristown, 958 F.2d 1242, 1261 (3d Cir. 1992). The library is a "limited public forum" in which "'constitutional protection is afforded only to expressive activity of a genre similar to those that government has admitted to the limited forum.'" Id. (quoting Travis v. Owego-Apalachin Sch. Dist., 927 F.2d 688, 692 (2d Cir. 1991) (emphasis and footnote omitted). Restrictions that do not limit the activities specifically permitted in this limited public forum need only be "'reasonable and not an effort to suppress expression simply because public officials oppose the speaker's view.'" 958 F.2d at 1262 (quoting United States v. Kokinda, 497 U.S. 720, 730, 111 L. Ed. 2d 571, 110 S. Ct. 3115 (1990)). A rule or policy prohibiting talking or other disruptive behavior "is perhaps the clearest and most direct way to achieve maximum library use" and therefore is "fundamentally reasonable." Id. at 1263 (footnote omitted).
Because restrictions on talking and other disruptive behavior in a library are fundamentally reasonable, plaintiff cannot maintain a claim that the prison's policy of not permitting talking in the law library violates the First Amendment. Defendants' motion to dismiss accordingly is GRANTED.
The Clerk shall close the file.
THELTON E. HENDERSON
United States District Judge