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Coleman v. CDCR

June 28, 2010


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


Order Following Screening Of Third Amended Complaint

I. Background

A. Procedural History

Plaintiff Robert E. Coleman ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. Plaintiff initiated this action by filing his complaint on February 4, 2009. On May 8, 2009, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint with leave to amend. On June 2, 2009, Plaintiff filed his first amended complaint. On November 2, 2009, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's first amended complaint with leave to file a second amended complaint. On November 17, 2009, Plaintiff filed his second amended complaint. On May 3, 2010, Plaintiff then filed a third amended complaint, which is the operative pleading in this action. (Third Am. Compl., ECF No. 20.)

B. 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 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 Third Amended Complaint

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at California State Prison at Corcoran ("CSP-Cor"), where the events giving rise to this action occurred. Plaintiff names as Defendants: the CDCR, the Director of CDCR, Darrell G. Adams, R. Lopez, R. Fisher, D. White, R. Broomfield, A. Diaz, M. Lopez, W. S. Nickless, S. Rousseau, P. Maldonado, and K. Pacheco. Plaintiff alleges violations of California Government Code section 11340.5, the First Amendment, the Eighth Amendment, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Fifth Amendment. Plaintiff requests as relief compensatory and punitive damages, declaratory relief, injunctive relief in the form of adequate mental health care, single cell status, ceasing of retaliatory and discriminatory acts, and appointment of counsel.*fn1

Plaintiff alleges the following. Plaintiff is an inmate at CSP-Cor and is assigned to a program for inmates with severe mental disorders called the Correctional Clinic Case Management System ("CCMS"). (Third Am. Compl. ("TAC") ¶ 4.) Plaintiff arrived at CSP-Cor in November 2007, and a correctional officer falsely accused him of indecent exposure in the shower. (TAC ¶ 6.) Plaintiff was placed in administrative segregation ("ad seg"), and was denied access to his property and legal material, even though he showed Defendants M. Lopez and A. Diaz his court deadlines. (TAC ¶ 7.) Plaintiff filed inmate appeals with Defendant Warden Adams and to the appeals coordinator. (TAC ¶ 8.)

Plaintiff's property was issued to him on February 18, 2008, but then confiscated on March 5, 2008 on the charge of refusing a cellmate. (TAC ¶ 9.) Plaintiff contends this was done by correctional officer S. Vela and orchestrated by Defendants Maldonado, Diaz, and M. Lopez. (TAC ¶ 9.) Plaintiff was placed in ad seg, on six-month property restriction, and stripped down to 1 pair of boxers, 1 shirt, 1 pair of socks, 1 sheet, no towel, hygiene products, legal or writing material, confiscation of prescription eye glasses, and prescription tennis shoes. (TAC ¶ 9.) Plaintiff filed a "class action" prison grievance against ad seg officials regarding a memorandum which detailed the ad seg unit's policy. (TAC ¶ 10.) After the filing of the grievance, Plaintiff was moved to a cell in another section without working lights in retaliation by ad seg defendants (Defendants Maldonado, M. Lopez, and Diaz). (TAC ¶ 11.)

On May 2008, Plaintiff filed another grievance against Defendant Diaz because he was not an impartial decision maker. (TAC ¶ 12.) Defendant Maldonado placed a brown paper bag on the outside of Plaintiff's cell window, and later placed a yellow envelope, with the initials IEX for "indecent exposure." (TAC ¶ 14.) Defendant Diaz created a hostile environment of inmates detained for indecent exposure, by denying outdoor recreation and having their cells "excessively" searched. (TAC ¶ 15.)

In April 2008, Plaintiff filed an ADA complaint about the retaliation and discrimination he was experiencing, and not receiving adequate mental health care treatment for his exhibitionism disorder. (TAC ¶ 17.) CSP-Cor Institutional Classification Committee ("ICC") members, Defendants R. Lopez, Fisher, White, and Broomfield, assessed Plaintiff with multiple Security Housing Unit ("SHU") detentions, and did not assign him any "exhibitionism" treatment. (TAC ¶ 18.) Plaintiff was released from ad seg in August 2008. (TAC ¶ 18.)

In September 2008, Plaintiff was again falsely accused of indecent exposure while taking a shower. (TAC ¶ 19.) CSP-Cor ICC member defendants assessed Plaintiff another nine-month SHU term. (TAC ¶ 20.) Plaintiff was then issued an indeterminate SHU detention by the ICC defendants. (TAC ¶ 21.)

Plaintiff was placed in CSP-Cor SHU in March 2009. (TAC ¶ 21.) He was endorsed for exhibitionism treatment in May 2009. (TAC ¶ 21.) However, Plaintiff refused to sign CDC 7448, "Informed Consent For Mental Health Care" and "Exhibitionism Pre-Treatment Group Contract." (TAC ¶ 21.) Signing the forms would have allowed CDCR clinicians to discuss inmate health issues with custody staff, nursing staff, and other staff, to accept that confidentiality is limited, and to sign any release of information required regarding an inmate's past offenses and related behavior. (TAC ¶ 21.)

In July 2009, CSP-Cor ICC member defendants assigned Plaintiff an R suffix, labeling him a sex offender. (TAC ¶ 22.) Plaintiff also filed an inmate grievance regarding an inadequate law library system. (TAC ¶ 25.)

III. Analysis

A. First Amendment ...

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