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Lopez v. Pugliese

March 24, 2009

RICHARD LOPEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
C. PUGLIESE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

(Doc. 8)

Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Richard Lopez ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on April 11, 2008. This Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint with leave to file an amended complaint on November 4, 2008. Plaintiff filed his first amended complaint on December 3, 2008, which is presently before the Court.

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).

"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. P. 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. P. 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. 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)).

II. Summary of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint

Plaintiff is currently housed at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Corcoran, California, where the claims at issue in this action allegedly occurred. Plaintiff names Associate Warden Wan, Mailroom Sergeant C. Pugliese, and John Doe I as defendants.

Plaintiff alleges that he filed four separate grievances from December 2006 to March 2008 regarding his legal mail being opened by mailroom staff.

Plaintiff requests that the prison system set up a special method for handling legal/confidential mail, as well as payment of all court costs.

A. Linkage Requirement and Inmate Appeals Process

The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides:

Every person who, under color of [state law] . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution . . . shall be liable to the party injured in an ...


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