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Anthony Shorter v. R. Rosenthal

March 29, 2011

ANTHONY SHORTER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
R. ROSENTHAL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DISMISSING SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO FILE THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS (DOC. 11)

Screening Order

I. Background

Plaintiff Anthony Shorter ("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. Plaintiff filed his complaint on April 8, 2010. Plaintiff subsequently filed a first amended complaint on December 27, 2010. Plaintiff then filed a second amended complaint on March 2, 2011, which is the operative pleading. Doc. 11.

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. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

II. Summary Of Second Amended Complaint

Plaintiff was previously incarcerated at California State Prison at Corcoran ("CSP-COR") where the events giving rise to this action occurred. Plaintiff names the following Defendants: R. Rosenthal, senior librarian at CSP-COR; Dr. G. Doan, and Mr. S. Wortman, vice principals at CSP-COR.

Plaintiff alleges the following. On February 24, 2009, Plaintiff had requested copying services for his writ of habeas corpus, with exhibits. Defendant R. Rosenthal refused to copy the exhibits. On June 15, 2009, respondents had filed a motion to dismiss the writ. Plaintiff filed his opposition on July 21, 2009, and Defendant Rosenthal again refused to make copies of the exhibits. Plaintiff also alleges verbal abuse and harassment by Defendant Rosenthal, which caused mental injury.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant G. Doan is liable because he was responsible for the operations of the law library. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant S. Wortman is liable because he responded to Plaintiff's inmate grievance regarding this issue and denied it.

Plaintiff requests injunctive relief in the form of copies of his exhibits, and to send a letter to the Central District of California regarding Plaintiff's habeas corpus petition. Plaintiff also requests monetary damages plus court costs.

III. Analysis

A. Access To The Courts

Inmates have a fundamental right of access to the courts. Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 346 (1996). The right is limited to direct criminal appeals, habeas petitions, and civil rights actions. Id. at 354. Claims for denial of access to the courts may arise from the frustration or hindrance of "a litigating opportunity yet to be gained" (forward-looking access claim) or from the loss of a meritorious suit that cannot now be tried (backward-looking claim). Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 412-15 (2002). For backward-looking claims such as that at issue here, plaintiff must show: 1) the loss of a 'non-frivolous' or 'arguable' underlying claim; ...


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