Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Cruz v. Knowles

December 16, 2008

OSCAR CRUZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KNOWLES, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RE DISMISSAL OF CERTAIN CLAIMS (Doc. 1)

I. Findings and Recommendation

Oscar Cruz ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On February 19, 2008, Plaintiff filed his complaint, which is presently before the Court for screening.

A. 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).

B. Summary of Plaintiff's Complaint

Plaintiff is a state prisoner at Kern Valley State Prison("KVSP") in Delano, California, where the acts he complains of occurred. Plaintiff names as defendants: Warden Mike Knowles; acting Warden Chris Chrones; and captain S. Fraunheim.

Plaintiff alleges that he arrived at KVSP classified as a general population inmate, and was housed in Building 5, Facility D. KVSP, pursuant to its administrative policy, labeled Plaintiff as Southern Hispanic to assist cell mate assignments and inmate yard release. On May 31, 2006, several inmates attacked staff during the evening meal. All inmates in buildings 1 through 8, regardless of race or ethnicity, were placed on lockdown. A Program Status Report ("PSR") was released on June 5, 2006. All inmates were to be interviewed regarding the incident. Meanwhile, all inmates were to be cell fed, and were not allowed visiting, dayroom, yard access, canteen, packages, phone calls, religious service, work/educational programs, and other privileges normally given. These program changes were prepared by defendant Fraunheim and approved by defendant Chrones or Knowles. Subsequent PSRs were released which gave back privileges to other inmates, but not to those labeled as Southern Hispanic or Mexican Nationals, because the alleged culprits of the attack were of such background. Plaintiff was placed on "Modified Program," which permitted normal visitation, but none of the other privileges of Normal Program. This continued until October 4, 2006, when Plaintiff and other Southern Hispanic inmates slowly received their privileges back. Plaintiff did not receive a full return to the Normal Program until November 8, 2006. Plaintiff during this time suffered from lower back pain as a result of deprivation of physical activity. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-11.) Plaintiff brings action under the Equal Protection Clause, the Eighth Amendment, and the Due Process Clause. (Doc. 1, p. 12.) Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.

C. Pleading Requirements

1. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)

"Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions," none of which applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a). Pursuant to Rule 8(a), a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a). "Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. A court may dismiss a complaint only if it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations. Id. at 514. "'The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims. Indeed it may appear on the face of the pleadings that a recovery is very remote and unlikely but that is not the test.'" Jackson v. Carey, 353 F.3d 750, 755 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)); see also Austin v. Terhune, 367 F.3d 1167, 1171 (9th Cir. 2004) ("'Pleadings need suffice only to put the opposing party on notice of the claim . . . .'" (quoting Fontana v. Haskin, 262 F.3d 871, 977 (9th Cir. 2001))). However, "the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations." Neitze v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). "[A] liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled." Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)).

2. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a)

"The controlling principle appears in Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a) 'A party asserting a claim to relief as an original claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, may join, either as independent or as alternate claims, as many claims, legal, equitable, or maritime, as the party has against an opposing party.' Thus multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2. Unrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits, not only to prevent the sort of morass [a multiple claim, multiple defendant] suit produce[s], but also to ensure that prisoners pay the required filing fees-for the Prison Litigation Reform Act limits to 3 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.