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Ford v. Martinez

August 6, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge



A. Procedural History

Ray Byron Ford ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff initiated this action on March 22, 2005. His original complaint was screened by the Court and dismissed (for failure to state a cognizable claim) with leave to amend. Subsequent to being granted extensions of time to file, Plaintiff filed his first amended complaint on October 4, 2006.

B. Screening Requirement

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious," that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

A complaint, or portion thereof, should only be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it appears beyond doubt that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claim or claims that would entitle him to relief. See Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984), citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); see also Palmer v. Roosevelt Lake Log Owners Ass'n, 651 F.2d 1289, 1294 (9th Cir. 1981). In reviewing a complaint under this standard, the court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hospital Trustees, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969).

C. Summary of Amended Complaint

Plaintiff names as Defendants F.J. Martinez and 7 Doe Defendants, all correctional officers at Corcoran State Prison at the time the incident occurred.

Plaintiff alleges that, while a prisoner in Corcoran State Prison in cell number 250, Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment, equal protection, and "intentional negligence." Plaintiff's amended complaint alleges that: on April 1, 2004, the prison was placed on "lockdown" status and, as a result, on April 5, 2004, the prisoners' meals had to be brought to their cells; when the prison is in lock-down status, both breakfast and lunch are served in the morning, simultaneously; the cells are not equipped with food ports, so the doors must be opened in order for the meals to be given to the inmates; before the meals were supposed to be served, Plaintiff was told by correctional officer Contraras to sit on the stool in the back of the cell and Plaintiff's cell-mate was told to lay in his bunk face down; both Plaintiff and his cell-mate complied; Contraras left Plaintiff's cell and moved on to the next cell with similar instructions; moments later, a group consisting of the seven Doe Defendants, who were in charge of distributing the meals, came to Plaintiff's cell and told Plaintiff's cell-mate to move to a different position than C/O Contraras had directed; Plaintiff's cell-mate complained of the inconsistency with positional orders, but nonetheless complied; when the cell- mate complained, one of the Doe Defendants yelled, "250 refused," in order to inform the cell booth officer not to open Plaintiff's cell door; the other Doe Defendants began repeating the phrase; Plaintiff was not served breakfast and lunch despite being completely compliant; Plaintiff did not refuse his food, and in fact began to yell that he wanted his food; one of the Defendants answered, "You had your chance;" Defendant Martinez was responsible for the supervision of the seven Doe Defendants and "responsible for the operation of the prison feeding process;"*fn1 Plaintiff later explained the situation to Defendant Martinez, but was never given breakfast or lunch on this day. The Court notes that Plaintiff's amended complaint is identical to his original complaint, except for a little over one additional page of factual information wherein he claims that the lack of breakfast and lunch on April 5, 2004 caused him to suffer unnecessary hunger, unnecessary and unhealthy stress, caused him to become "reckless and hotheaded" such that he covered the cell window, which "would have ultimately led to a 'Cell-Extraction' which would have required physical force where even more injury was likely to occur."*fn2

D. Linkage Requirement

D. Plaintiff's Claims

1. Conditions of Confinement

In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that, on April 5, 2004, Defendants Martinez and Does 1 through 7 denied ...

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