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GARAFOLO v. WALKER

United States District Court, N.D. California


April 13, 2004.

VANJILIS GARAFOLO, Plaintiff,
v.
STAN WALKER, et al., Defendants

The opinion of the court was delivered by: MAXINE CHESNEY, District Judge

ORDER OF DISMISSAL

Plaintiff, a California prisoner, filed this pro se civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. The case was thereafter transferred to the Northern District and assigned to the undersigned.

BACKGROUND

  Plaintiff alleges that in 1998 he cooperated in an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") into conditions at Pelican Bay State Prison ("PBSP"), where plaintiff was formerly housed. Plaintiff claims that in exchange for his cooperation, the FBI agreed to protect him from any retaliatory action by prison officials and other inmates. According to plaintiff, this protection was promised to him by defendant Stan Walker ("Walker"), an FBI agent, and by defendants J. Reynoso ("Reynoso"), Craig Franklin ("Franklin"), and Dan Smith ("Smith"), all officers of the Pelican Bay internal affairs division. Plaintiff subsequently was released on parole. Plaintiff alleges that his parole officer, defendant Albert Rivera ("Rivera"), treated him unfairly while plaintiff was on parole; specifically, plaintiff alleges that Rivera denied plaintiff driving privileges and required plaintiff to move from a house in Orange County into a homeless shelter in Los Angeles. Plaintiff states that Rivera made references to plaintiffs cooperation in the FBI investigation, as well as to the fact that plaintiff was living with a former PBSP correctional officer who had been fired from her prison job for having an "overfamiliar" relationship with plaintiff. Plaintiff claims that Rivera's poor treatment of plaintiff was in retaliation for both his cooperation with the FBI and his relationship with the former PBSP guard. Plaintiff alleges that he unsuccessfully attempted to have the FBI and the Pelican Bay internal investigators protect him from Rivera's "retaliatory" treatment of him. Eventually, in 2002, plaintiff was prosecuted "as a direct result of the above-described "abuses."

  DISCUSSION

 A. Standard of Review

  A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See id. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings, however, must be liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't. 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988). 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. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

 B. Legal Claims

  Plaintiff claims that Walker and the PBSP Investigators breached his contract with them by failing to honor their agreement that they would protect him from any retaliation for his cooperation with the 1998 FBI investigation. Irrespective of the merits of such claim, a breach of contract is not a violation of the Constitution or any other federal law, as is required to state a claim under § 1983. See West, 487 U.S. at 48. Breach of contract is a matter of state law and may be raised in state court. Plaintiff cites no federal law, nor is the Court aware of any such law, implicated by the actions of Walker and the PBSP investigators. Accordingly, plaintiffs claims against these defendants are dismissed for failure to state a cognizable federal claim for relief.

  Although plaintiff identifies Rivera as a "defendant," plaintiffs complaint contains no claims against Rivera nor does plaintiff seek any relief from Rivera therein. To whatever extent plaintiff seeks to bring claims against Rivera, the proper venue is the United States District Court for the Central District of California, the district in which Rivera is located and Rivera's alleged actions took place. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).

  CONCLUSION

  For the foregoing reasons, the above-titled action is hereby DISMISSED. In light of the dismissal, plaintiffs application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED and no fee is due.

  This order terminates Docket No. 3.

  Any pending motions are terminated.

  The Clerk shall close the file

  IT IS SO ORDERED.

  [EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS PAGE CONTAINS CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE]

  JUDGMENT IN A CIVIL CASE

 

[ ] Jury Verdict. This action came before the Court for a trial by jury. The issues have been tried and the jury has rendered its verdict.
[X] Decision by Court. This action came to trial or hearing before the Court. The issues have been tried or heard and a decision has been rendered.
  IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED the above-titled action is hereby DISMISSED. In light of the dismissal, plaintiff's application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED and no fee is due.

20040413

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