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Anthony Gaston v. Tommy Redmon

September 11, 2011

ANTHONY GASTON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
TOMMY REDMON, KERN COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT DEFENDANT.



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

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS R E C O M M E N D IN G D IS M IS S A L O F PLAINTIFF'S FEDERAL CLAIMS, WITH PREJUDICE, AND REMANDING ACTION TO / OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

(ECF. No. 21)

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Anthony Gaston ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action was removed by Defendants from Kern County Superior Court on August 14, 2009. (ECF No. 1.) Currently pending before the Court is the First Amended Complaint, filed July 9, 2010. (ECF No. 21.)

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).

II. Complaint Allegations

Plaintiff is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and is incarcerated at California State Prison, Sacramento. On February 24, 2007, while housed at Kern Valley State Prison, Plaintiff was placed in administrative segregation, and his personal property was inventoried and boxed. When Plaintiff reviewed the inventory sheet, he noticed that his gold chain was not listed on the form and he so informed Defendant Redmon. Defendant Redmon acknowledged that he had placed the chain and attached medallion in the box with Plaintiff's property. (First Amended Compl. 6, ECF No. 21.*fn1 ) On several occasions Plaintiff saw Defendant Redmon and was reassured that his gold chain had been put with Plaintiff's property. (Id. at 7.)

On May 14, 2008, Plaintiff was released from administrative segregation and found that his gold chain and connected medallion were missing. Plaintiff filed an inmate appeal. (Id. at 8.) On June 10, 2009, Plaintiff asked Defendant Rendon what could be done to resolve the issue of his missing chain, and Defendant Rendon responded that he did put the chain in Plaintiff's property box. (Id. at 8-9.)

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Redmon violated his right to free exercise of religion under the First Amendment which was demonstrated by Defendant Redmon's refusal to add the gold chain to the property list, (id. at 11), his right to due process when Defendant Redmon listed the medallion but not the gold chain on the property form, and negligence, (id. at 12). For the reasons set forth below Plaintiff has failed to state a cognizable claim for relief under section 1983.

III. Discussion

A. First Amendment Free Exercise

"Prison walls do not form a barrier separating prison inmates from the protections of the Constitution." Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 84 (1987). Nevertheless, prisoners' constitutional rights are subject to substantial limitations and restrictions in order to allow prison officials to achieve legitimate correctional goals and maintain institutional ...


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