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Jackson v. Robinson

April 9, 2009

FATEEN L. JACKSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
M. ROBINSON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO FILE LODGED THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT (Doc. 14)

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING THAT ACTION BE DISMISSED FOR FAILURE TO STATE ANY FEDERAL CLAIMS UPON WHICH RELIEF MAY BE GRANTED (Doc. 15)

Findings and Recommendations Following Screening of Third Amended Complaint

I. Order Granting Motion to Amend Complaint

Plaintiff Fateen Jackson ("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 November 26, 2007.

On February 25, 2009, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a third amended complaint. (Doc. 14). Under Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a party may amend the party's pleading once as a matter of course at any time before a responsive pleading is served. Otherwise, a party may amend only by leave of the court or by written consent of the adverse party, and leave shall be freely given when justice so requires. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). "Rule 15(a) is very liberal and leave to amend 'shall be freely given when justice so requires.'" AmerisourceBergen Corp. v. Dialysis West, Inc., 445 F.3d 1132, 1136 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)). However, courts "need not grant leave to amend where the amendment: (1) prejudices the opposing party; (2) is sought in bad faith; (3) produces an undue delay in the litigation; or (4) is futile." Id. The factor of "'[u]ndue delay by itself . . . is insufficient to justify denying a motion to amend.'" Owens v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., 244 F.3d 708, 712,13 (9th Cir. 2001) (quoting Bowles v. Reade, 198 F.3d 752, 757-58 (9th Cir. 1999)).

Plaintiff motion for leave to file a third amended complaint is granted, and the Clerk of the Court is directed to file Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint, lodged February 25, 2009. (Doc. 15).

II. 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).

"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)).

III. Summary of Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint

Plaintiff is currently housed at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, California. The events giving rise to the claims at issue in this action allegedly occurred at California Correctional Institution ("CCI") in Tehachapi. Plaintiff alleges a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause, a conspiracy to violate civil rights, and a violation of state law. Plaintiff alleges that his stereo was confiscated during a cell search because it did not conform with regulations. Plaintiff contends that he was entitled to keep his stereo per Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations, section 3006(d) and that defendants intentionally misinterpreted or misapplied the regulations. Plaintiff names seven defendants, and seeks money damages and declaratory relief.

A. Fifth Amendment Claim

Plaintiff alleges a violation of the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause arising from the confiscation of his stereo, which he believes was subsequently donated to charity or to CCI. The Takings Clause provides that "private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation" and "limits the government's ability to confiscate property without paying for it," and "is designed to bar Government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole." U.S. Const. Amend. V; Vance v. Barrett, 345 F.3d 1083, 1089 (9th Cir. 2003) (internal quotations and citation omitted). Plaintiff alleges that defendants improperly deemed his stereo contraband and therefore confiscated his property. He has not alleged any facts to support a claim that ...


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