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Eric Lindfors v. Small

June 17, 2011

ERIC LINDFORS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
SMALL, CATE, OCHOA, JANDA, TRUJILLO, EDWARDS, STRATTON, BELTRAN, DAVIS, JIMENEZ, BETTENCOURT, GARCIA, RUTLEDGE, E. LOYA; MATTHEW RESLER; JOSHUA RODRIGUEZ, MATA, MANNING ROCHA; R. FREGOSO, AND ADAMS; DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Michael M. Anello United States District Judge

CDCR # P-86975

ORDER: (1) GRANTING MOTION FOR PERMISSION FOR REMOVAL OF EXHIBITS; (2) DISMISSING DEFENDANTS (3) DISMISSING CLAIMS FOR FAILING TO STATE A CLAIM PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) & 1915A; AND (4) DIRECTING USMS TO EFFECT SERVICE OF REMAINING CLAIMS AND DEFENDANTS FOUND IN SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

No.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On July 29, 2010, Plaintiff, a state inmate currently incarcerated at the California State Prison - Los Angeles County located in Lancaster, California, and proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 along with another inmate, Ruben Davis. In addition, both Plaintiffs filed Motions to Proceed In Forma Pauperis ("IFP") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). The Court severed the parties and directed the Clerk of Court open a separate action for Plaintiff Lindfors. On November 30, 2010, the Court denied Plaintiff Lindfors' Motion to Proceed IFP and dismissed the entire action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. See Nov. 30, 2010 Order at 4. On January 13, 2011, Plaintiff Lindfors filed his First Amended Complaint along with a renewed Motion for Leave to Proceed IFP. The Court granted Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed IFP and sua sponte dismissed his First Amended Complaint for failing to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. See Feb. 17, 2011 Order at 5-6. Plaintiff was granted leave to file a Second Amended Complaint and cautioned that any Defendants not named and claims not re-alleged in his Amended Complaint would be deemed to have been waived. Id. (citing King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567 (9th Cir. 1987)). On May 9, 2011, Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") along with a "Motion for Permission for Removal of All Exhibits from Previous Pleadings to Attach to Amended Pleading Herein" [ECF No. 15].

In his Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff no longer names Ochoa, Janda, Trujillo, Stratton, Beltran, Davis, Jimenez, Bettencourt, Garcia, Rutledge, Rodriguez, Mata and Manning as Defendants. See SAC at 1-3. Accordingly, those Defendants are DISMISSED from this action. King, 814 F.2d at 565.

II. SCREENING PURSUANT TO 28U.S.C.§§1915(e)(2)&1915A(b)

The Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA")'s amendments to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 also obligate the Court to review complaints filed by all persons proceeding IFP and by those, like Plaintiff, who are "incarcerated or detained in any facility [and] accused of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for, violations of criminal law or the terms or conditions of parole, probation, pretrial release, or diversionary program," "as soon as practicable after docketing." See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b). Under these provisions, the Court must sua sponte dismiss any prisoner civil action and all other IFP complaints, or any portions thereof, which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim, or which seek damages from defendants who are immune. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A; Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126 27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (§ 1915(e)(2)); Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 446 n.1 (9th Cir. 2000) (§ 1915A).

A. Fourteenth Amendment Due Process claims

Plaintiff alleges that his due process rights were violated during his disciplinary hearing because several correctional officers falsified rules violation reports which led to Plaintiff being sentenced to Administrative Segregation ("Ad-Seg"). "The requirements of procedural due process apply only to the deprivation of interests encompassed by the Fourteenth Amendment's protection of liberty and property." Board of Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 569 (1972). State statutes and prison regulations may grant prisoners liberty interests sufficient to invoke due process protections. Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 223-27 (1976). However, the Supreme Court has significantly limited the instances in which due process can be invoked. Pursuant to Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 483 (1995), a prisoner can show a liberty interest under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment only if he alleges a change in confinement that imposes an "atypical and significant hardship . . . in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life." Id. at 484 (citations omitted); Neal v. Shimoda, 131 F.3d 818, 827-28 (9th Cir. 1997).

In this case, Plaintiff has failed to establish a liberty interest protected by the Constitution because he has not alleged, as he must under Sandin, facts related to the conditions or consequences of his placement in Ad-Seg which show "the type of atypical, significant deprivation [that] might conceivably create a liberty interest." Id. at 486. For example, in Sandin, the Supreme Court considered three factors in determining whether the plaintiff possessed a liberty interest in avoiding disciplinary segregation: (1) the disciplinary versus discretionary nature of the segregation; (2) the restricted conditions of the prisoner's confinement and whether they amounted to a "major disruption in his environment" when compared to those shared by prisoners in the general population; and (3) the possibility of whether the prisoner's sentence was lengthened by his restricted custody. Id. at 486-87.

Therefore, to establish a due process violation, Plaintiff must first show the deprivation imposed an atypical and significant hardship on him in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life. Sandin, 515 U.S. at 483-84. Plaintiff has failed to allege any facts from which the Court could find there were atypical and significant hardships imposed upon him as a result of the Defendants' actions. Plaintiff must allege "a dramatic departure from the basic conditions" of his confinement that would give rise to a liberty interest before he can claim a violation of due process. Id. at 485; see also Keenan v. Hall, 83 F.3d 1083, 1088-89 (9th Cir. 1996), amended by 135 F.3d 1318 (9th Cir. 1998). He has not; therefore the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to allege a liberty interest in remaining free of Ad-seg, and thus, has failed to state a due process claim. See May, 109 F.3d at 565; Hewitt, 459 U.S. at 466; Sandin, 515 U.S. at 486 (holding that placing an inmate in administrative segregation for thirty days "did not present the type of atypical, significant deprivation in which a state might conceivably create a liberty interest.").

B. Failure to protect claims

The only claims against Defendants Edwards and Adams appear to be that they allegedly failed to protect him from the search and set him up to be falsely accused of having an inmate weapon. A "failure to protect claim" arises from the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment requires that prison officials act reasonably in protecting inmates from violence suffered at the hands of other prisoners. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 833; Berg v. Kincheloe, 794 F.2d 457, 459 (9th Cir. 1986). However, to state a failure to protect claim, Plaintiff must allege facts sufficient to show that Defendants were "deliberately indifferent," that they were aware of, but nevertheless consciously disregarded an excessive risk to his health or safety. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. Here, Plaintiff's "injury" is not an excessive risk to his health or ...


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