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Garcia v. Clark

September 20, 2010

WILLIAM P. GARCIA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KEN CLARK, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF CERTAIN CLAIMS (DOC. 12) OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

Findings And Recommendations

I. Background

A. Procedural History

Plaintiff William P. Garcia ("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 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"). Plaintiff initiated this action by filing his complaint on March 12, 2010. On May 24, 2010, Plaintiff filed his first amended complaint.

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 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Id. While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

II. Summary Of Complaint

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility ("CSATF") in Corcoran, California, where the events giving rise to this action occurred. Plaintiff names as Defendants: warden Ken Clark, captain Lais, lieutenant R. Tolson, sergeant K. Turner, correctional officer C. Palmer, free staff food supervisors C. Walters and R. Santos, sergeant D. Ibarra, correctional officer Sanez, correctional officer S. Knight, correctional officer F. Diaz, acting warden K. Allison, correctional officer Quintana, and Christian chaplain Sheron. Plaintiff alleges the following. Plaintiff is Jewish, and filed grievances regarding changes in procedure for feeding of Jewish inmates. Plaintiff alleges violations of the First Amendment, Eighth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, and the RLUIPA by various Defendants.

Plaintiff request declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and monetary damages.

III. Analysis

A. First Amendment - Retaliation

Allegations of retaliation against a prisoner's First Amendment rights to speech or to petition the government may support a § 1983 claim. Rizzo v. Dawson, 778 F.2d 527, 532 (9th Cir. 1985); see also Valandingham v. Bojorquez, 866 F.2d 1135 (9th Cir. 1989); Pratt v. Rowland, 65 F.3d 802, 807 (9th Cir. 1995). "Within the prison context, a viable claim of First Amendment retaliation entails five basic elements: (1) An assertion that a state actor took some adverse action against an inmate (2) because of (3) that prisoner's protected conduct, and that such action (4) chilled the inmate's exercise of his First Amendment rights, and (5) the action did not reasonably advance a legitimate correctional goal." Rhodes v. Robinson, 408 F.3d 559, 567-68 (9th Cir. 2005).

1. Defendant Palmer

Plaintiff filed inmate grievances against Defendant Palmer regarding denying Plaintiff days off from his job in 2008. (First Am. Compl. ("FAC") 9.) Defendant Palmer answered Plaintiff's first inmate grievance against prison policy, then conspired with Defendant Tolson to halt Plaintiff's kosher meals by denying Plaintiff and other inmates reasonable accommodations. (FAC 9.) Plaintiff's reasonable accommodations had previously included being let out early to pick up his kosher meals and take back to his cell for eating. (FAC 8.) Defendant Palmer taunted Plaintiff openly over the P.A. system. (FAC 9.) Defendant Palmer sent Plaintiff's kosher meals back to the kitchen and told the staff that Plaintiff had refused his meal. (FAC 22-23.) Defendant Palmer denied Plaintiff ...


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