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Farlough v. Dawson

July 15, 2010

DEXTER S.C. FARLOUGH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NICHOLAS DAWSON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF CLAIMS, WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND (Doc. 25)

OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN 30 DAYS

Plaintiff Dexter S.C. Farlough ("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 is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") and is incarcerated at Pleasant Valley State Prison ("PVSP") in Coalinga, California. Plaintiff is suing under Section 1983 for the violation of his rights under the First Amendment. Plaintiff names more than 50 individuals as defendants.*fn1 For the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that Plaintiff's complaint be dismissed without leave to amend.

I. 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).

In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim, the Court uses the same pleading standard used under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Under Rule 8(a), 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). "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability . . . 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, although a court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Id. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

II. Background

A. Procedural Background

Plaintiff filed the original complaint in this action on July 30, 2007. (Doc. #1.) On July 7, 2008, the Court screened Plaintiff's original complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court found that Plaintiff's original complaint failed to state any cognizable claims and granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint. Plaintiff filed his first amended complaint on August 11, 2008. (Doc. #11.) On October 6, 2009, the Court screened Plaintiff's first amended complaint. (Doc. #22.) The Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint again and granted Plaintiff leave to file a second amended complaint. Plaintiff filed his second amended complaint on October 23, 2009. (Doc. #25.) This action proceeds on Plaintiff's second amended complaint.

B. Factual Background

Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated his constitutional rights by denying Plaintiff access to the courts. Plaintiff contends that prison officials have a constitutional duty to provide Plaintiff with access to the law library, as well as access to adequate "paging services," current law books, up-to-date materials, and photocopying machines.

Plaintiff's claims center around the inadequacy of his access to the law library and legal materials. Plaintiff complains that he is not given sufficient time in the law library, does not have access to persons trained in the law, and does not have adequate access to the prison's "paging services." The "paging services" refer to the prison's system of providing books to prisoners when they request them. It is unclear whether Plaintiff is alleging that the paging services are inherently inadequate, or whether Plaintiff is not receiving the necessary accommodations to make meaningful use of the paging services. Plaintiff appears to argue that the system itself is inadequate because Plaintiff needs:

. . . meaningful chan[c]e to explore the legal remedies that he might have. Legal research often requires browsing through various materials in search of inspiration; tentative theories may have to be abandoned in the course of research in the face of unfamiliar adverse precedent. New theories may occur as a result of a chance for discovery of an obscure or forgotten case. . . . It is unrealistic to expect a prisoner to know in advance exactly what materials he is going to need to consult.

(Second Am. Compl. 15, ECF No. 25.) Plaintiff also claims that the denial of physical access to the law library and the failure "to make reasonable accommodations that would enable plaintiff to use the paging system" is an ...


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