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Leon M. Soriano v. L. Naranjo

September 19, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Seng United States Magistrate Judge


Plaintiff Leon M. Soriano ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

This action was initiated on June 5, 2009. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) The Court screened Plaintiff's Complaint, and dismissed it with leave to amend. (Order, ECF No. 6.) Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on April 22, 2010. (Am. Compl., ECF No. 10.) Plaintiff's Amended Complaint is now before the Court for screening.


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, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 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). Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 1949-50.


Plaintiff is a prisoner currently housed at California State Prison at Corcoran. Plaintiff claims violation of his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights by the following Defendants: 1) L. Naranjo, Correctional Officer, 2) K.A. Dicks, Correction Sergeant, 3) J. Jones, Correctional Counselor, 4) L. Cano, Correctional Counselor, and 5)

D. Hicinbontom, Correctional Counselor.

Plaintiff alleges as follows: Plaintiff filed several inmate appeals in May and June of 2008. In July 2008, Defendant Naranjo informed Plaintiff of his dislike of Plaintiff's appeal and started threatening Plaintiff with acts of retaliation if he did not withdraw the appeal. Inmate Gary overheard the exchange. Gary told Defendant Naranjo that he should retaliate against Gary because it was a group appeal, and Gary wrote the appeal for the group. Defendant Naranjo then started threatening Gary with retaliation. Defendant Naranjo told Gary to file a complaint in response. Gary told Defendant Naranjo to see Defendant Dicks, a correction sergeant. Defendant Naranjo said Defendant Dicks would not do anything because she was the one who had originally informed him about the appeal.

On July 18, 2008, as a result of the incident described above, Defendant Naranjo intentionally tried to serve Plaintiff a non-vegetarian meal; Plaintiff maintains a vegetarian diet based on his Rastafarian religion. Plaintiff told Defendant Naranjo about his dietary restrictions, but Defendant Naranjo told him "Nigger you don't take this tray, you won't eat." Defendant Naranjo walked away with the tray of food, and Plaintiff did not have any dinner that evening. Plaintiff requested Defendant Dicks to come see him, but Defendant Dicks did not do so that evening. Defendant Dicks was aware of Defendant Naranjo's actions and failed to provide Plaintiff with a meal that evening. As a result of Defendants Naranjo and Dicks' actions, Plaintiff, who has cancer, was in pain all night with stomach cramps and suffered mental stress from going to bed without food.

Plaintiff believes that Defendant Dicks and Defendant Naranjo violated his First Amendment rights and several provisions of California law because their actions did not serve any penological interest and constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Plaintiff also believes that Defendant Dicks' failure to act in a supervisory capacity violated his Eighth Amendment rights and denied him his right to equal protection.

From 2007 to 2009, Plaintiff filed several staff complaints. Defendants Jones, Cano, and Hicinbontom obstructed the process by using arbitrary and capricious practices. These actions obstructed Plaintiff from seeking redress and exhaustion. As a result, Plaintiff was denied relief by a California state court in Kings County due to failure to exhaust remedies. Plaintiff further believes that his right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment was violated because other inmates' similar appeals were processed. Defendants' actions violated Plaintiff's First Amendment right to seek redress and exhaustion. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants Jones, Cano, and Hicinbontom violated Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection of the law.

Plaintiff asks for a permanent injunction that would prohibit and require that Defendants and their agents and employees cease harassing, retaliating, and committing reprisals against him. Plaintiff requests $70,000 and punitive damages of $50,000 from each ...

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