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Andy Smith v. T. Gonzales

September 19, 2011

ANDY SMITH,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
T. GONZALES, III, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (DOC. 1) RESPONSE DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

Screening Order

I. Background

Plaintiff Andy Smith ("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 initiated this action by filing his complaint on March 3, 2011. Doc. 1.

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 Complaint

Plaintiff was previously incarcerated at California State Prison at Corcoran ("CSP-Cor"), where the events giving rise to this action occurred. Plaintiff names as Defendants T. Gonzales III, correctional sergeant, and A. Baer, correctional lieutenant.

Plaintiff alleges the following. On September 15, 2009, Defendant T. Gonzales incited, harassed, and disrespected Plaintiff in order to handcuff Plaintiff and place him in administrative segregation. Defendant Gonzales authored a Rules Violation Report in support. On October 15, 2009, Defendant A. Baer conducted a hearing as the senior hearing officer.

Plaintiff contends that there was no credible evidence in support of the charges made by Defendant Gonzales. However, Defendant Baer affirmed the charge against Plaintiff. Plaintiff contends that he was denied the ability to call witnesses in his defense, nor took notice of Plaintiff's own factual assertions. Plaintiff contends that the investigative officer failed to conduct proper witness interviews.

Plaintiff alleges a violation of the Eighth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff requests as relief: injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney's fees, costs of suit, and other proper relief.

III. Analysis

A. Eighth Amendment

The Eighth Amendment protects prisoners from inhumane methods of punishment and from inhumane conditions of confinement. Morgan v. Morgensen, 465 F.3d 1041, 1045 (9th Cir. 2006). Extreme deprivations are required to make out a conditions of confinement claim, and only those deprivations denying the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities are sufficiently grave to form the basis of an Eighth Amendment violation. Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992) (citations and quotations omitted). In order to state a claim for violation of the Eighth Amendment, Plaintiff must allege facts sufficient to support a claim that officials knew of and disregarded a substantial risk of serious harm to him. E.g., Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994); Frost v. Agnos, 152 F.3d 1124, 1128 (9th ...


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