United States District Court, Northern District of California
August 28, 2003
ROBERT D. YOUNG, PLAINTIFF(S), VS. R. CHANDLER-DACANAY, ET AL., DEFENDANT(S)
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Vaughn Walker, District Judge
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
Plaintiff, a state prisoner currently incarcerated at California State Prison, Solano, has filed a pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking relief for allegedly unconstitutional deprivation of a gold chain and medallion while at San Quentin State Prison. He also seeks $20,000 for "mental anguish."
Plaintiff seeks to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
A. Standard of Review
Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted," or "seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." Id § 1915A(b). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed, however. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir 1990). Page 2
To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
B. Legal Claims
A negligent or intentional deprivation of a state prisoners property fails to state a due process claim under § 1983 if the state has an adequate post-deprivation remedy. See Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984). California Law provides such an adequate post-deprivation remedy for deprivations of property. See Barnett v. Centoni, 31 F.3d 813, 816-17 (9th Cir 1994) (citing Cal Gov't Code §§ 810-895). Plaintiffs allegations of deprivation of property accordingly fail to state a cognizable claim under § 1983. See id at 817.*fn1
Plaintiffs request for damages for "metal anguish" also fail to state a cognizable claim because no federal civil action "may be brought by a prisoner confined in a jail, prison or other correctional facility for mental or emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior showing of physical injury." 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e). There is no indication whatsoever that plaintiff suffered any such qualifying physical injury. Accord Oliver v. Keller, 289 F.3d 623, 627-29 (9th Cir 2002) (holding that back and leg pain caused by sitting on the cement floor, undefined injuries from being assaulted by another prisoner, and a painful canker sore were de minimis injuries insufficient to satisfy physical injury requirement under 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e)). Page 3
For the foregoing reasons, plaintiffs request to proceed in forma pauperis (doc. #2) is DENIED and the complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice to seeking relief in the state courts.
The Clerk shall close the file and terminate all pending motions as moot. No fee is due.