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Brian Keith Stafford v. James Hartley

February 7, 2011

BRIAN KEITH STAFFORD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES HARTLEY, ET AL., (DOC. 8) DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING AMENDED COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT, LIMITED TO EQUAL PROTECTION CLAIM THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE

Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Brian Keith Stafford ("Plaintiff"), a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on November 20, 2009. Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's amended complaint, filed on December 10, 2009.*fn1 *fn2

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, __ U.S. __, __, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007)), and courts "are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences," Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

Under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendantpersonally 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). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II. Plaintiff's Claims

A. Allegations

Plaintiff, an inmate incarcerated at Avenal State Prison, is attempting to pursue claims arising from the policy or regulation allowing appeals coordinators to screen out inmate appeals if they are not filed within fifteen days of the event being appealed, and the policy or rule precluding inmates serving life sentences from holding certain jobs. Plaintiff contends that he is being discriminated against by the "underground policy" pertaining to inmates with life terms and employment, and that the policy or rule violates sections 3004 and 3022 of Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations.*fn3

Plaintiff names Warden James Hartley; Appeals Coordinators N. Lopez, H. R. Allison, andJ. Hill; Lieutenant Estrada; and Associate Warden R. Ndoh as defendants, and Plaintiff is seeking damages and injunctive relief.

B. Rejection of Inmate Appeal

The refusal to process Plaintiff's inmate appeal on the ground that it was untimely provides no basis for the imposition of liability under section 1983. Inmates have no entitlement to a grievance procedure and therefore, the decision to screen out Plaintiff's appeal does not violate any federally protected right. Ramirez v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 860 (9th Cir. 2003); Mann v. Adams, 855 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1988); Massey v. Helman, 259 ...


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