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Anderson v. Debritz

July 2, 2010

RODOLFO C. ANDERSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER DEBRITZ, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Jay C. Gandhi United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

I. PROCEEDINGS

On May 5, 2010, plaintiff Rodolfo C. Anderson ("Plaintiff"), a California prisoner incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison and proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights complaint ("Complaint") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl. at 1.) For the reasons discussed below, the Complaint merits dismissal with leave to amend.

II. ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT

Plaintiff's Complaint relates to straightforward events that occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated at California State Prison, Los Angeles County ("CSPLAC") in Lancaster, California. (Compl. at 3.) The Complaint names four defendants:

(1) Correctional Officer Debritz ("Debritz"); (2) Correctional Lieutenant Cox ("Cox"); (3) Kylie J. Thompson, a psychiatric therapist ("Thompson"); and (4) Feldman, a clinical social worker ("Feldman") (collectively "Defendants"). (Id. at 3-4.) Each defendant is sued in his or her individual capacity alone. (Id.)

Plaintiff alleges that from "June 2008 to October 21, 2008," he "authored a book titled 'Kellie White' and later re-titled 'A Moth to a Flame.'" (Compl. at 5.) He claims that the "book was a fictional book depicting a female staff member working in a men's prison." (Id.) Plaintiff does not elaborate any further on the nature of the book.

Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Thompson "was assisting [him] with editing of said book[ and] agreed to keep the book in a safe and secured location until she would return it to [him] upon [his] request, however, . . .[she has] not returned [Plaintiff's] book in almost two years." (Compl. at 8.)

Plaintiff contends that the prison security staff "must have felt that the book was describing actual events" at CSP-LAC. (Compl. at 5.) Plaintiff conspicuously makes no mention of what may have led prison security to harbor such a belief.

On or about October 21, 2008, Plaintiff was placed in administrative segregation. (Compl. at 8.) While Plaintiff was in administrative segregation, he states that Defendant Feldman "came to see [him] with a message from [Defendant Thompson], telling [him] among others, that she was alright. At that time[, Plaintiff] proceed[ed] to give the only copy of the second part of [his] book to defendant Feldman with the assurance that she will give the second part of the book to defendant Thompson[ and] . . . return[ it] to [him] later upon request." (Id. at 9.)

On or about January 9, 2009, Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Debritz confiscated his book and informed Plaintiff of an "on going investigation into overfamiliarity with staff," which is also the reason Plaintiff was placed in administrative segregation. (Compl.at 5, 8.) Plaintiff claims Defendant Debritz failed to provide Plaintiff with a "confiscation receipt." (Id.)

Thereafter, Defendant Cox interviewed Plaintiff regarding the investigation, "was in possession of [Plaintiff's] book," and "promised to return said book on completion of the investigation if [Plaintiff] were to 'help him with the investigation.'" (Compl.at 8.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Cox stated that if Plaintiff did not assist him with the investigation, "he would see to it that '[Plaintiff] regret it.'" (Id.)

Based upon the above facts, Plaintiff effectively advances two claims. First, Plaintiff asserts a due process violation of the Fourteenth Amendment for impounding his book without a "confiscation receipt" and without returning it. (Compl. at 5.) Second, Plaintiff asserts a violation of the First Amendment because Defendants Thompson and Feldman "were entrusted to secure" Plaintiff's book, but failed to return it. (Id.) Plaintiff seeks return of his book, $35,000 in ...


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