United States District Court, N.D. California
April 13, 2004.
VANJILIS GARAFOLO, Plaintiff,
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.
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."
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
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).
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.
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