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Nieves v. Patrick

August 19, 2009

SANDI NIEVES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DEBORAH PATRICK, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION FOR FAILURE TO STATE ANY CLAIMS UPON WHICH RELIEF MAY BE GRANTED (Doc. 26) OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

Recommendation of Dismissal Following Screening of Second Amended Complaint

I. Procedural History

Plaintiff Sandi Nieves, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on December 13, 2007. On February 9, 2009, the Court issued an order dismissing Plaintiff's original complaint for failure to state a claim, with leave to amend. (Doc. 23.) Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint on March 2, 2009. (Doc. 24.) On July 7, 2009, the Court issued an order dismissing Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim, with leave to amend. (Doc. 25.) Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, filed August 5, 2009, is now pending before the Court.

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).

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)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusion are not. Id. at 1949.

III. Plaintiff's Claims

The events at issue in this action allegedly occurred at Central California Women's Facility ("C.C.W.F.") in Chowchilla, California. Plaintiff names Warden Deborah Patrick, Associate Director Wendy Stills, Secretary James E. Tilton, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("C.D.C.R") as defendants.

Plaintiff alleges that defendants knowingly and willingly caged human beings. Plaintiff alleges that defendants have caused her mental and physical anguish. Plaintiff seeks to be reintegrated into general population, or sent to another women's prison. Plaintiff alleges that she has also been denied her right to practice her religion. Plaintiff alleges a violation of her First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Plaintiff seeks equitable relief.

1. Defendant California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

As Plaintiff was previously informed, she may not bring suit against C.D.C.R. in federal court because it is a state agency and is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. Aholelei v. Dept. of Public Safety, 488 F.3d 1144, 1147 (9th Cir. 2007). Plaintiff's claims against C.D.C.R. fail as a matter of law.

2. First Amendment Religion Claim

"Inmates . . . retain protections afforded by the First Amendment, including its directive that no law shall prohibit the free exercise of religion." O'Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 348 (1987) (internal quotations and citations omitted). The protections of the Free Exercise Clause are triggered when prison officials substantially burden the practice of an inmate's religion by preventing him from engaging in conduct which he sincerely believes is consistent with his faith. Shakur v. Schriro, 514 F.3d ...


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