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Menefield v. Cate

December 1, 2009

JAMES FREDERICK MENEFIELD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MATTHEW CATE, 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 FEDERAL CLAIMS OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

(Doc. 31)

Findings and Recommendations Following Screening of Complaint

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff James Menefield, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on August 24, 2009. On October 8, 2009, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint.

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 (2007)), and courts "are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences," Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusion are not. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

Under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002) (emphasis added). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal at 1949-50; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal at 1949-50; Moss at 969.

II. Plaintiff's Claims

Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at California State Prison - Corcoran ("CSP-Corcoran") brings this action against the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") Matthew Cate, Deputy Director W. A. Duncan, Associate Warden Ron Davis, Correctional Captain K. Daveiga, Correctional Counselor G. Rangel, Correctional Counselor T. Scott, and Classification Staff Representatives R. Hernandez and V. Garcia.

The events giving rise to this action commenced at Kern Valley State Prison ("KVSP"), where Plaintiff was formerly housed. On August 9, 2008, Plaintiff was placed in Administrative Segregation for threatening a peace officer. On September 16, 2008, Plaintiff was found guilty of a rules violation at the prison disciplinary hearing, and referred to the KVSP Institution Classification Committee ("ICC") for placement in the Security Housing Unit ("SHU").

On October 23, 2008, Plaintiff appeared before the ICC and was assessed a nine-month SHU term. The decision was then referred to a Classification Staff Representative ("CSR") for approval of the SHU term and transfer to a designated SHU facility.

On November 26, 2008, Defendant Garcia approved the assessment and gave Plaintiff a minimum eligible release date ("MERD") of March 2, 2009. Defendant Garcia further instructed that at Plaintiff's upcoming pre-MERD review, Plaintiff's case be assessed for a possible indeterminate SHU term.

Plaintiff was transferred to the CSP-Corcoran SHU on December 16, 2008. On January 21, 2009, Plaintiff appeared before the CSP-Corcoran ICC for his pre-MERD review. Committee members included Defendants Davis, Daveiga, Rangel and Scott, who recommended that Plaintiff be retained in the SHU on indeterminate status upon the expiration of his MERD. The decision was based on Plaintiff's disciplinary history, which Defendants alleged demonstrated that Plaintiff would pose a threat to himself and others, as well as to the security of the institution. On February 9, 2009, Defendant Hernandez approved the ...


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