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Lonnie Donell Perkins v. R. Crum

July 20, 2011

LONNIE DONELL PERKINS PLAINTIFF,
v.
R. CRUM, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (ECF No. 11) CLERK TO CLOSE CASE SCREENING ORDER

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff Lonnie Donell Perkins ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on June 21, 2010 and consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction on July 26, 2010. (ECF Nos. 1 & 5.) No other parties have appeared. Plaintiff's original complaint was dismissed with leave to amend. (ECF No. 10.) Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint on July 14, 2011. (ECF No. 11.) It is this First Amended Complaint that is now before the Court for screening. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to state any claims upon which relief may be granted.

II. SCREENING REQUIREMENTS

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 Atlantic 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.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

III. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

Plaintiff alleges violations of his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process and Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Plaintiff names the following individuals as Defendants: R. Crum, Kern Valley State Prison ("KVSP") correctional officer; J.R. Garza, KVSP correctional lieutenant; Everett W. Fischer, special agent, Office of Correctional Safety ("OCS"); G. Williams, special agent, OCS; M. Ruff, special agent, OCS; and R. Clemons, correctional officer at Los Angeles County State Prison.

Plaintiff alleges as follows: On August 14, 2006, Plaintiff was placed in segregation for an investigation into his alleged association with a prison gang. Plaintiff was issued a validation packet which included four sources claiming Plaintiff had ties to the prison gang. All of the source reports were authored by Defendant Crum: 1) dated May 16, 2006, regarding a tattoo on Plaintiff's chest which was a symbol for the gang; 2) dated June 1, 2006, based on a review of Plaintiff's address book which included known gang members; 3) date June 2, 2006, based on another entry in Plaintiff's address book of a known gang member; and 4) dated July 28, 2006, based on a confidential disclosure from Defendant Clemons dealing with letters to and from known gang members which were intercepted by prison officials. Plaintiff rebutted these sources in an interview conducted by Defendants Crum and Garza on August 16, 2006. During the interview, Plaintiff asked to see a copy of a confiscated letter written by Plaintiff which was deemed confidential by officials. He did not receive a copy until September 2006.

Defendant Garza approved and submitted the gang validation packet on September 5, 2006 knowing that Plaintiff had not received full disclosure of evidence against him. Defendants Fischer, Williams, and Ruff were on the committee that reviewed the reports and accepted all four sources as valid on October 4, 2006, validating Plaintiff as a gang member. As a result, Plaintiff was placed in the security housing unit ("SHU") for an indeterminate sentence.

Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and fees and costs.

IV. ANALYSIS

The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides:

Every person who, under color of [state law] . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution . . . shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. "Section 1983 . . . creates a cause of action for violations of the federal ...


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