Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Earnest C. Woods v. Tom L. Carey

November 14, 2011

EARNEST C. WOODS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TOM L. CAREY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case was referred to the undersigned under Local Rule 302(c)(17), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Currently pending before the court is plaintiff's fifth amended complaint, filed after the court dismissed the fourth amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and granted plaintiff one final opportunity to amend. Also pending is plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order.

I. Background

On June 3, 2008, the court dismissed this action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 on the basis that plaintiff's second amended complaint was prolix and obscure and that plaintiff had therefore failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Dckt. Nos. 26, 35. Judgment was duly entered. Dckt. No. 38.

Plaintiff appealed the judgment to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Dckt. No. 40. On July 6, 2009, the Court of Appeals determined that the complaint should not have been dismissed on this basis, finding that the complaint "delineated a number of claims with sufficient specificity and detail,"and remanded the action to this court "for additional proceedings consistent with [its] disposition." Dckt. No. 43 at 2.

Therefore, on April 26, 2010, the court re-screened the second amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Dckt. No. 47. The court explained that pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), it is directed to identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from an immune defendant.

In its screening order, the court summarized the second amended complaint's extensive and apparently unrelated allegations against 42 defendants. The court noted that most of the allegations simply documented the numerous inmate appeals plaintiff had filed over the course of several years, regarding a wide range of issues, and claimed that Carey, the warden, and Cervantes, the appeals coordinator had "white-washed" the appeals process. Construing the complaint liberally, the court determined plaintiff could proceed on a First Amendment retaliation claim against defendant Cervantes and dismissed the remaining claims because they were either not cognizable or were improperly joined in a single lawsuit. Dckt. Nos. 47, 52. The court granted plaintiff leave to amend, if he so desired, for the limited purpose of adding a related, and cognizable claim against defendant Carey, in addition to a retaliation claim against Cervantes. Dckt. No. 47.

On May 28, 2010, plaintiff filed a third amended complaint. Dckt. No. 50. Despite the court's instructions, the third amended complaint named 45 defendants, and the allegations again consisted of a list of dozens of inmate appeals plaintiff had filed against various prison officials, regarding a broad range of concerns over a period spanning several years. Dckt. No. 59. While the complaint included allegations against defendants Cervantes and Carey, it failed to state a claim against either defendant. Plaintiff did not allege that Cervantes failed to process plaintiff's inmate appeals in retaliation for plaintiff's exercise of any constitutionally-protected right, and the allegations regarding Carey did not appear to be related to the allegations against Cervantes. The court reminded plaintiff that unrelated claims against different defendants must be pursued in separate lawsuits. The court granted plaintiff leave to file a fourth amended complaint and specifically admonished plaintiff that any amended complaint must strictly adhere to the directives set forth by the court and that failure to do so would result in a recommendation that this action be dismissed without further leave to amend. Id. at 5-6.

On December 2, 2010, plaintiff filed a fourth amended complaint, which was nearly identical to the third amended complaint. Dckt. No. 65. Accordingly, the court dismissed the fourth amended complaint for failure to state a claim, improper joining of claims, and failure to comply with the court's instructions regarding the filing of an amended complaint. Dckt. No. 67. The court granted plaintiff one final opportunity to amend his complaint. The court instructed plaintiff that he must specifically allege what act or omission of each defendant allegedly violated his federally protected rights, and that any amended complaint must be limited to a retaliation claim against Cervantes, and a related claim, if any, against defendant Carey. The court reminded plaintiff that his remaining claims had been dismissed from this action because they were either not cognizable or they were improperly joined. Dckt. No. 52.

Now before the court is plaintiff's fifth amended complaint, as well as a motion for a temporary restraining order. Dckt. Nos. 73, 75.

II. Fifth Amended Complaint

The fifth amended complaint suffers from many of the same defects as plaintiffs's previously lodged complaints. Despite the court's previous admonishments, the complaint is not limited to allegations supporting a retaliation claim against Cervantes, and a related claim, if any, against defendant Carey. Rather, plaintiff has named at least 36 defendants, and includes lengthy, rambling and often vague and conclusory factual allegations. See Dckt. Nos. 73, 74.

However, liberally construed, and for the limited purposes of § 1915A screening, the complaint states a potentially cognizable First Amendment retaliation claim against defendants Carey and Cervantes. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Carey retaliated against plaintiff for filing a lawsuit against him by directing defendant Cervantes to ignore plaintiff's inmate appeals, and that defendant Cervantes retaliated against plaintiff for filing such appeals. Plaintiff may proceed with this action on his claim that Carey and Cervantes violated his First Amendment rights.

III. Temporary Restraining Order

Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief to prevent prison official from placing him in administrative segregation, destroying his property, or transferring him to another prison. Dckt. No. 75. Plaintiff also claims that non-parties have interfered with ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.