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Jordan v. Grannis

July 15, 2010

JAMES JORDAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
N. GRANNIS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (Doc. 36)

Plaintiff James Jordan ("Plaintiff") is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On November 2, 2009, Defendants B. Davis and W. Brumbaugh filed a motion to dismiss. (Doc. #36.) Defendants argue that they are entitled to dismissal on the ground that Plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Section 1983. On December 2, 2009, Plaintiff filed an opposition to Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Doc. #43.) On December 7, 2009, Plaintiff filed an amended opposition. (Doc. #44.) Defendants filed a reply to Plaintiff's opposition on December 11, 2009. (Doc. #49.) All parties have consented to jurisdiction by U.S. Magistrate Judge. (Docs. #38, 40.)

I. Background

A. Plaintiff's Complaint

This action proceeds on Plaintiff's complaint filed on April 15, 2009 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Plaintiff was paroled at the time he filed his complaint but his complaint concerns events that occurred while he was incarcerated at Pleasant Valley State Prison ("PVSP"). Plaintiff names R. Roman-Marin, B. Davis, W. Brumbaugh, and N. Grannis as Defendants.*fn1 Plaintiff alleges that on September 18, 2007, he gave Defendants*fn2 an "original reconsideration-habeas corpus petition, case No. S150878, as legal mail, to be processed and mailed to the California Supreme Court's[sic], in response to the court's denial order on August 29, 2007." (Compl. 5.) Plaintiff claims that on August 29, 2007, Defendants retaliated against Plaintiff "by denying Plaintiff access to court, and only pretended to mail,[sic] Plaintiff[sic] legal mail. Because Plaintiff had earlyer[sic] submmitted[sic] several grievances, against the Defendants. . . ." (Compl. 5.)

Plaintiff's complaint also makes numerous allegations regarding the filing of false reports and placement in administrative segregation.*fn3 Plaintiff claims Defendant Roman-Marin directed several correctional officers to write false incident reports against Plaintiff in retaliation for Plaintiff's grievances against Roman-Marin. (Compl. 6.) Plaintiff claims that he handed his "reconsideration-habeas corpus petition" to Roman-Marin's subordinates, the third watch correctional officers in delta-gym, who failed to mail it to the court. (Compl. 7.)

Plaintiff claims that Defendant Grannis received numerous appeals from Plaintiff complaining about false reports and confinement in administrative segregation. (Compl. 8.) Plaintiff claims that Grannis failed to conduct an internal affairs investigation against prison officials at PVSP, did not inform the warden or the director of corrections about the incidents, or move Plaintiff to another yard in response to Plaintiff's appeals. (Compl. 8.) Plaintiff concludes that Grannis thereby "enabled" Roman-Marin's misconduct. (Compl. 8.) Plaintiff also alleges that Grannis informed Roman-Marin about Plaintiff's efforts to initiate an investigation into Roman-Marin's misconduct. (Compl. 8.)

B. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

Defendants move for dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on the ground that Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Section 1983. Defendants argue that Plaintiff's complaint fails to state an access to courts claim because Plaintiff has failed to plead actual prejudice with respect to a non-frivolous legal claim. (Defs.' Notice of Mot. and Mot. to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(6); Supporting Mem. of P. & A. 3:5-8.) Defendants argue that Plaintiff has alleged that Defendants have interfered with Plaintiff's ability to seek reconsideration of the California Supreme Court's denial of Plaintiff's habeas petition. (Mot. to Dismiss 2:25-28.) Defendants contend that Plaintiff has failed to plead prejudice with respect to a non-frivolous legal claim because the California Supreme Court does not entertain requests for "reconsideration" of a final decision and Plaintiff's habeas petition was "final" when it was denied. (Mot. to Dismiss 3:2-6.) In essence, Defendants argue that the document that Plaintiff was attempting to file was meaningless under the California Supreme Court's procedural rules and Defendants' alleged interference had no bearing on the outcome of Plaintiff's habeas corpus proceedings.

C. Plaintiff's Opposition

Plaintiff sets forth numerous arguments in his motion to dismiss.

First, Plaintiff argues that Defendants "abandoned" their "28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2) Screening motion" by failing to renew their motion after the Northern District of California declined to address it. (Pl's Response in Opp'n to Defs.[sic] Notice of Mot. to Dismiss Under 12(b)(6); and Supporting Mem. of P. & A. 2:1-8.) Plaintiff argues that the Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners and dismiss complaints that fail to state a claim. (Opp'n 4:10-16.) Plaintiff argues that the Court directed the U.S. Marshal to serve Defendants with a summons and the complaint and would not have done so if the claims were not cognizable. (Opp'n 4:16-19.)

Plaintiff also asserts that Defendants "allege[d] in dismissal motion that Plaintiff only had one habeas corpus petition however[sic] defendants are incorrect and their errored[sic] motion should be denied because it is factually incorrect." (Opp'n 5:20-22.) Plaintiff claims that he has filed multiple habeas corpus petitions.

Plaintiff also argues that he was following the advice of his appellate counsel when he filed his "reconsideration habeas corpus petition" and that his petition was necessary to exhaust his habeas issues prior to pursuing them in federal court. (Opp'n 6:2-5.) Plaintiff claims that he raised habeas issues in federal court in "petitions S129407 and S129497," which concerned exhausted issues, and was ...


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