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Deno A. Jones v. A Claim John Doe

January 5, 2011


(Doc. 1)


I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Deno A. Jones ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently pending before the Court is the complaint, filed July 30, 2009. (Doc. 1.)

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 "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted," or that "seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C § 1915(e)(2)(B).

In determining whether a complaint states a claim, the Court looks to the pleading standard 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. 554, 555 (2007)).

Under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949-50; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). "[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.'" Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (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. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. "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. Complaint Allegations

Plaintiff is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and is incarcerated at California State Prison, Corcoran ("CSPC"). Plaintiff was placed into administrative segregation on April 30, 2007, for the act of indecent exposure. Due to continued misconduct, his placement was extended until October 25, 2008. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6, 21.) On March 14, 2008, Plaintiff was transported to the Security Housing Unit ("SHU") at CSPC. Approximately one week later, Plaintiff was moved into a sensitive needs unit. (Id., § IV.) When Plaintiff's property was brought to him he saw that his compact disc player, compact discs, address book, and some other items were missing. After he filed an appeal, his address book was replaced with a blank address book. (Id., p. 8.) Three months later his compact disc player was returned. (Id., p. 9.)

Plaintiff appeared before a classification committee and five unnamed committee members recommended that he have a cellmate. Plaintiff brought up his missing property and was told to file an appeal. (Id., p. 6.) On June 11, 2008, Plaintiff filed an appeal. The first level appeal was denied by an unnamed supervisor and the associate warden. (Id.) Plaintiff's Central File and the offender base information system were reviewed by an unnamed appeals coordinator who denied his second level appeal. (Id., pp. 6-7.) The third level appeal was denied by the warden. The director's level appeal was denied by the appeals coordinator. On February 7, 2009, Plaintiff filed a writ of habeas corpus in Kings County Superior Court. (Id., p. 7.)

Plaintiff names as Defendants twenty three Does alleging violations of his constitutional rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments and professional malpractice, negligence, personal injury, intentional tort, and property damage under state law. Plaintiff is seeking a declaratory relief that his constitutional rights and the laws of the United State have been violated, injunctive relief that Defendants maintain accurate Central File information, and compensatory and punitive damages. (Id., § V.)

For the reasons set forth below Plaintiff has failed to state a cognizable claim for relief. Plaintiff shall be given the opportunity to file an amended complaint curing the deficiencies described by the Court in this order. In the paragraphs that follow, the Court will provide Plaintiff with the legal standards that appear to apply to his claims. Plaintiff should carefully review the standards and amend only those claims that he believes, in good faith, are cognizable.

III. Discussion

A. Eighth Amendment

Liability under section 1983 exists where a defendant "acting under the color of law" has deprived the plaintiff "of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States." Jensen v. Lane County, 222 F.3d 570, 574 (9th Cir. 2000). To prove a violation of the Eighth Amendment the plaintiff must "objectively show that he was deprived of something 'sufficiently serious,' and make a subjective showing that the deprivation occurred with deliberate indifference to the inmate's health or safety." Thomas v. Ponder, 611 F.3d 1144, 1150 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted). Deliberate indifference requires a showing that "prison officials were aware of a "substantial risk of serious harm" to an inmates health or safety and that there was no "reasonable ...

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