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Williams v. Sampson

December 14, 2009


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


I. Findings and Recommendations Following Screening

Plaintiff Steven Williams ("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 initiated this action by filing his complaint on March 24, 2009. (Doc. 1.) The Court screened Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and found that it states a cognizable claim against Defendant Zanchi for retaliation, but failed to state any other claims against any other defendants. (Doc. 10.) Plaintiff was ordered to file a first amended complaint or notify the Court of his willingness to proceed only against Defendant Zanchi. On December 11, 2009, Plaintiff filed his notice of intent to proceed only against Defendant Zanchi. (Doc. 11.) The Court thus issues the following Findings and Recommendations.

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 Atl. 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 conclusions are not. Id.

II. Summary of Complaint

Plaintiff was previously incarcerated at California Correctional Institution ("CCI") in Tehachapi, California, where the events giving rise to this action allegedly occurred. Plaintiff names as defendants: appeals coordinator K. Sampson, Warden W. J. Sullivan, Lieutenant D. Crounse, Chief Appeals Director N. Grannis, Captain D. Zanchi, assistant warden M. Carrasco, C.D.N. Warden L. L. Schulties, acting warden F. Gonzales, sergeant Slanker, and seven unknown officers. Plaintiff also names lieutenant Peterson as a defendant in the body of his complaint.

Plaintiff alleges violations of the Equal Protection Clause, the First Amendment, and the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Sampson denied process on Plaintiff's inmate appeals, including his food allergy appeals and sexual harassment allegations. Plaintiff alleges defendant W. J. Sullivan has responsibility over the safety of his prisoners. Plaintiff alleges that defendant N. Grannis has a pattern of disregard in answering Plaintiff's appeals. Plaintiff alleges retaliation at CCI by unknown officers. Plaintiff alleges violations of the Eighth Amendment and Equal Protection against defendant Gonzales for failure to establish a religious program for Muslim prisoners. Plaintiff alleges defendant Gonzales falsified documents, which amounted to conjecture. Plaintiff alleges that defendant M. Carrasco lied to Plaintiff during an institutional classification committee hearing. Plaintiff alleges that M. Carrasco told Plaintiff he would be afforded his religious rights, but Plaintiff has not been afforded his religious freedom. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Schulties as chief deputy warden did deny and continued to deny Plaintiff's rights.

Plaintiff alleges that defendant D. Zanchi moved Plaintiff to a management cell. Plaintiff remained there for 44 days, and complained of a dirty mattress, toilet, sink, and walls, freezing air in the cell, and cold food. Plaintiff alleges that defendant D. Zanchi did this in retaliation for Plaintiff filing an inmate appeal. Defendant Peterson denied Plaintiff his due process by denying him access to a library and case law.

Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.

III. Discussion

1. Linkage Requirement

To state a claim under section 1983, a plaintiff must allege that (1) the defendant acted under color of state law and (2) the defendant deprived him of rights secured by the Constitution or federal law. Long v. County of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006). Plaintiff names defendants Crounse and Slanker in his complaint, but fails to link Crounse or Slanker to any act or omission that would ...

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