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Quach v. Appleberry

June 19, 2009

DAVID QUACH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
J. APPLEBERRY; J. EDWARDS; L. SWEIGERT; J.L. PULSIPHER; G. THUMSER; P. MANDEVILLE; AND S. HUBBARD, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Susan Oki Mollway United States District Judge

SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING AMENDED COMPLAINT SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING AMENDED COMPLAINT

I. INTRODUCTION

On March 27, 2008, pro se Plaintiff David Quach, a California prisoner incarcerated at Atascadero State Hospital in Atascadero, California, brought a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against officials at California Medical Facility, where he was formerly incarcerated. Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. This court dismissed Quach's original Complaint with leave to amend on February 20, 2009. Quach filed the present motion, titled "Leave to Amend Complaint and Memorandum," on May 19, 2009. Defendants urge this court to deny the motion as moot because Quach was previously granted leave to amend his Complaint. However, notwithstanding its title, Quach's motion is in substance an Amended Complaint, and the court treats it as such. In the Amended Complaint, Quach renews his allegations that his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when disciplinary proceedings were brought against him. Having reviewed these allegations, this court concludes that Quach fails to state a cognizable claim. Accordingly, this court DISMISSES the Amended Complaint.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND.

Quach was put into administrative segregation on April 4, 2007, pending an investigation of injuries that he, his bunkmate, and one other inmate had sustained. Defendant Sergeant J. Appleberry conducted the investigation on April 10, 2007, and recorded statements from several confidential sources. Quach claims that Appleberry fabricated the charges against him and tried to get false testimony from other inmates to support the charges. In support of this claim, Quach provides affidavits from two inmates who were interviewed by Applebery. One says that he felt pressure to implicate Quach, despite informing Appleberry on several occasions that he knew nothing about the incident. The other attests that he told Appleberry that Quach's bunkmate had injured himself by bumping his head on his bed.

The investigation led to an accusation that Quach had battered his bunkmate. Quach was held in administrative segregation for five months as the disciplinary proceedings unfolded.

At the first disciplinary hearing, Defendant L. Sweigert, the hearing officer, did not allow Quach to call witnesses. Quach says that he was given no reason for this denial. At the conclusion of the hearing, Quach was found to have battered an inmate.

Quach notified Defendant J.L. Pulsipher, the Investigative Service Unit Lieutenant, that he believed Appleberry had fabricated the charges against him. Quach then wrote to Defendant P. Mandeville, the Associate Warden, and lodged the same complaint. No immediate action was taken, but Quach was encouraged to file an appeal. Quach alleges that Pulsipher and Mandeville knew that he had been incorrectly assigned to administrative segregation but refused to respond to his concerns.

According to Quach, Defendant G. Thumpser and Defendant J. Edwards were the superintendents responsible for overseeing the department that charged Quach with battery. Neither Thumpser nor Edwards intervened in these proceedings. Quach asserts that their inaction prolonged his time in solitary confinement, in violation of his constitutional rights.

Quach appealed to the Chief of Appeals in Sacramento, alleging that his due process rights had been violated. The appeal was partially granted. Quach was granted another hearing, on December 8, 2007, at which Quach was found not to have battered an inmate. The accusation against him was dismissed.

Quach claims that, given his pre-existing mental condition, he suffered emotional damage from these allegations and his solitary confinement, amounting to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. He also asserts a violation of his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process.

III. ANALYSIS

A claim arises under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 against one "who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of ...


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