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Garrison S. Johnson v. Matthew Cate

November 17, 2011

GARRISON S. JOHNSON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MATTHEW CATE, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



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

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS BE GRANTED (DOC. 18)

OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE WITHIN TWENTY-ONE DAYS

Findings And Recommendations

I. Background

Plaintiff Garrison S. Johnson ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"), proceeding pro se. This action is proceeding on Plaintiff's complaint, filed October 14, 2010, against Defendants Matthew Cate and Kelly Harrington for racial discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pending before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss, filed July 18, 2011. Defs.' Mot. Dismiss, Doc. 18. Plaintiff filed his opposition on August 5, 2011. Pl.'s Opp'n, Doc. 19. Defendants filed their reply on August 12, 2011. Defs.' Reply, Doc. 20. The matter is submitted pursuant to Local Rule 230(l).

II. Motion To Dismiss

Defendants move to dismiss on two grounds: 1) pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 2) statute of limitations.

A. Failure To State A Claim

"The focus of any Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal . . . is the complaint." Schneider v. California Dept. of Corr., 151 F.3d 1194, 1197 n.1 (9th Cir. 1998). In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hospital Trustees, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, and resolve all doubts in the pleader's favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969). The federal system is one of notice pleading. Galbraith v. County of Santa Clara, 307 F.3d 1119, 1126 (9th Cir. 2002).

Pursuant to 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). 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.

1. Summary Of Complaint

Plaintiff's complaint alleged the following. Plaintiff has been in CDCR custody since 1987, and has been housed at seven prisons. Pl.'s Compl. ¶ 1. Plaintiff was allowed only to vote for African American prisoners for the inmate advisory council ("IAC") at each prison. Id. Defendant Cate, the secretary of CDCR, and Defendant Harrington, warden of Kern Valley State Prison, where the events alleged occurred, had instituted a policy, practice, or pattern of not allowing Plaintiff to participate in the voting process of Mexican and Caucasian prisoners to the IAC housing unity representatives. Id. ¶ 2. African American prisoners are not allowed to vote for Mexican or Caucasian IAC housing unit representatives. Id.

On November 23, 2009, Plaintiff, an African American, participated in the election of an African American prisoner for IAC representative of C5 housing unit in KVSP. Id. ¶ 3. Only African Americans were allowed to vote for black inmates who were running for IAC building representative. Id.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants were aware that in each of their prison institutions inmates established self-imposed politics discouraging inmates from voting outside of their race for inmates to be IAC representatives and their failure to correct these problems subjected ...


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