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Timothy Rage Flanagin v. George Gurbino

December 13, 2011

TIMOTHY RAGE FLANAGIN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
GEORGE GURBINO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION FOR DISMISSAL OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT (ECF No. 1) THIRTY DAY OBJECTION PERIOD

Plaintiff Timothy Rage Flanagin ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's Complaint is currently before the Court for screening. Plaintiff's Complaint fails to state a cognizable claim.

I. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

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.

II. SUMMARY OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

Plaintiff is a state prisoner currently incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison. Plaintiff was previously confined at California State Prison, Corcoran ("CSP-COR"), where all of the events alleged in the Complaint occurred. Plaintiff brings this action alleging violations of his First Amendment right to free exercise of religion, rights under the Equal Protection Clause, and rights under the Due Process Clause.

Plaintiff names the following individuals as defendants: 1) George Gurbino, Director of Corrections of the State of California, 2) R. Lopez, the Warden of CSP-COR, and, 3) Y. Carron, the rabbi at CSP-COR.

Plaintiff alleges as follows:

Plaintiff's request for kosher meals was denied because Plaintiff is not Jewish. On or about April 4, 2009, Plaintiff requested that he receive "religious kosher diet meals." (Compl. at 3.) After speaking with Defendant Carron, the rabbi, his request was denied because Plaintiff is not Jewish and does not study or follow Judaism. (Id.) Plaintiff's request was denied again after he filed a grievance with Defendant Lopez. (Id.) Plaintiff appealed his grievance further, and Defendant Gurbino denied it on July 13, 2009 on the ground that only Jewish inmates following Judaism were eligible for kosher meals. (Id.) Plaintiff has exhausted his administrative remedies. (Id.)

Plaintiff asks that the Court enter judgment declaring that Defendants' actions violated his rights under the Constitution and laws of the United States. He also requests a preliminary and permanent injunction ordering Defendants to stop violating his First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion and his right to equal protection under the laws. (Compl. at 5.) Plaintiff also asks for a jury trial, costs, and any additional relief that the Court deems proper.

III. ANALYSIS

Section 1983 "provides a cause of action for the 'deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United States." Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for ...


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