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Valley v. Kernan

October 21, 2009

CHARLES EDWARD VALLEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SCOTT KERNAN, R. MANDEVILLE, A.J. MALFI, M. RUFF, DEFENDANTS.



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

SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING AMENDED COMPLAINT; NOTICE OF SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS

SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING AMENDED COMPLAINT

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Charles Edward Valley is a state prisoner proceeding pro se. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A, this court "screens" Valley's amended Complaint. The court determines that he fails to state any claims upon which relief may be granted against Mandeville, Malfi and Ruff, and thus dismisses those claims. The claims against Kernan are also dismissed, except for the retaliation claim. This case will proceed based only on the retaliation claim against Kernan, unless Valley files a second amended Complaint. Valley may file a second amended Complaint no later than November 20, 2009.

On January 16, 2008, Valley filed a 314-page Complaint naming nine Defendants, all of whom work in some manner for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Valley sought relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and asked to proceed in forma pauperis. On May 5, 2008, the court granted his request to proceed in forma pauperis, dismissed his Complaint because it failed to comply with Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and gave him leave to file an amended pleading. The court held that Valley "unduly burden[ed] the court and any opposing parties by tasking them with the need to ferret through voluminous exhibits to discern the factual predicate of a claim, if any." Valley v. Tilton, No. 08-118, 2008 WL 1946405, at *5 (E.D. Cal. May 1, 2008). The court stated that any amended complaint could not exceed 25 pages, including exhibits, and that it had to be filed within 30 days of service of the order. Id. at *9. The order was served on May 1, 2008.

On May 27, 2008, Valley filed his 26-page amended Complaint. On January 5, 2009, this case was referred to Magistrate Judge Leslie Kobayashi, but this district judge now addresses this matter.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW.

Because Valley filed the present action as a pro se prisoner, this court must screen his amended Complaint to determine whether it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A. Because Valley fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted as to Mandeville, Malfi, and Ruff, the court dismisses claims against those Defendants. Claims against Kernan are also dismissed except with respect to the retaliation claim.

In determining whether a complaint states a claim, the court takes all allegations of material fact as true and construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Fed'n of African Am. Contractors v. City of Oakland, 96 F.3d 1204, 1207 (9th Cir. 1996).

A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if a plaintiff fails to sufficiently allege the "grounds" of his "entitlement to relief." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quotation omitted); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009) (dismissing civil rights complaint). "[B]are assertions . . . amount[ing] to nothing more than a 'formulaic recitation of the elements' of a constitutional discrimination claim" are not entitled to be assumed true. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1951 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). When a complaint raises an arguable question of law that is ultimately resolved against the plaintiff, dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted is proper. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989).

III. ANALYSIS.

Valley sues four individuals "individually and in his official capacity": Scott Kernan, the ex-Warden of CSP Sacramento; R. Mandeville, the Associate Warden of CSP Sacramento; A.J. Malfi, the current Warden; and M. Ruff, the Chairperson of Law Enforcement. He claims that each Defendant acted under "color of California law." He asks the court to order his transfer to a "sensitive needs prison." He also seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

In the present action, Valley alleges that, in October 2005, the Institutional Classification Committee determined that Valley could be transferred to "CAL IV 270," which Valley alleges is a "lower security Prison." See Amend. Compl. at 5; see also Exh. B. Valley alleges that Defendants conspired to block his transfer. Valley also alleges that, from March through June 2006, Defendants misidentified him as a gang member, unjustly placed him in administrative segregation, and unfairly charged him with disciplinary violations. Valley alleges that this gang classification and administrative segregation occurred after Defendants discovered that he had filed a civil suit against Kernan, and after he had filed many grievances. The civil suit was filed in February 2005.

Although Valley has failed to state any viable claims against Mandeville, Ruff, or Malfi, the court concludes that Valley has stated one viable claim against Kernan. The claims Valley ...


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