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James Bradley Haag, Cdcr #T-75535 v. L.S. Mcewan; Ms. Raske

December 14, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Irma E. Gonzalez, Chief Judge United States District Court


James Bradley Haag ("Plaintiff"), currently incarcerated at Calipatria State Prison in Calipatria, California, is proceeding in pro se and in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).

In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges his right to meaningful access to the courts has been violated due to Calipatria prison officials' enforcement of state regulations governing photocopy procedures, and in particular, a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") Operations Manual provision requiring inmates to produce a court order before asking to duplicate 100 pages or more. See Compl. at 5-10. Plaintiff seeks no monetary relief, but rather, declaratory relief and an injunction prohibiting "further enforcement" of CAL. CODE REGS., tit. 15 § 3162(c) and Cal. Dep't of Corrections and Rehabilitation Operations Manual ("DOM") § 101120.15. Id. at 14.

I. Procedural Background

On September 2, 2011, Defendants Davidosky,*fn1 McEwan and Stone filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 12(b)(6) (ECF No. 13).*fn2 On September 7, 2011, Defendant Shelton filed a Notice of Joinder (ECF No. 14). After being granted an extension of time in which to respond to Defendants' Motion, on October 31, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition (ECF No. 21), to which Defendants, on November 4, 2011, filed a Reply (ECF No. 22). After the matter was then submitted on the papers for disposition without oral argument pursuant to S.D. CAL. CIVLR 7.1.d.1, but before the Court issued its ruling, Plaintiff submitted a sur-Reply, which the Court has accepted for filing in light of Plaintiff's pro se status (ECF No. 24).

The Court now GRANTS Defendants' Motion to Dismiss pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 12(b)(6) for failing to state a claim for the reasons set out below.

II. Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff alleges that on August 29, 2010, he was in Calipatria's D Facility Library assisting another inmate, Amos Lee White, and helping him to "mak[e] copies" and "process for mailing" three separate documents that were "destined" for the Central District of California and the California Attorney General's Office. (Compl. at 5.) Plaintiff claims to be "very experienced in these procedures" and was "handling these documents on behalf of White," who had a court deadline of September 10, 2010. (Id.; see also Pl.'s CDC 602 Inmate/Parolee Appeal Log No. Cal 10-1835 [ECF No. 1-1] at 1.) Plaintiff claims Library Technical Assistant ("LTA") Raske, citing CAL. CODE REGS., tit. 15 § 3162(c) and DOM § 101120.15,*fn3 refused to make the requested copies because "the total was over 100 pages." (Compl. at 2, 5.) Plaintiff admits that on September 2, 2010, he and his "assistee" White were re-scheduled for Facility D law library access, and this time LTA Davidosky copied White's documents and mailed them to the Central District. (Compl. at 5.)

However, because Plaintiff "had been litigating [his] own case in the federal court system since June 2007," "long before" section 3162(c) and DOM § 101120.15 were amended to place page limit restrictions on prisoners' photocopy privileges, he "made a decision to challenge these Rules," and filed a CDC 602 Inmate Appeal related to the August 29, 2010 incident. (Id.) In his administrative appeal, as well as in his Complaint, Plaintiff contends that § 3162(c) and DOM § 101120.15 "impede[] an inmate's meaningful access to the courts." (Compl. at 5, 10; Pl.'s CDC 602 Log No. Cal 10-1835 ([ECF No. 1-1] at 2.)

Plaintiff specifically claims that as the Warden at Calipatria, Defendant McEwan is liable for "allowing/enabling" DOM § 101120.15's "unauthorized, illegal, [and] unconstitutional embellishment" to § 3162(c)--namely the "over 100 pages--get a court order verbiage." (Compl. at 2.) He claims LTAs Raske and Davidosky are liable for "improper enforcement" and "application" of § 3162 and DOM § 101120.15 by "refusing inmates ANY copies," "refusing to contact the Yard Captain" and refusing to properly document their refusals. (Id.) Finally, Plaintiff claims Defendant Shelton is liable for "failure to conduct an objective, honest investigation into Plaintiff's administrative appeal," (id. at), and Defendant Stone is liable for "sanctioning" Shelton's "lopsided" investigation and "accepting perfidious reports" from her staff related to Plaintiff's appeal. (Id. at 3.)

Plaintiff's Complaint seeks no money damages, but instead, an injunction preventing Defendants from further enforcement of either CAL. CODE REGS., tit. 15 § 3162(c) or DOM § 101120.15, as well an a "judgment ordering the above 'rules' unconstitutional in that meaningful access to the courts in unfairly & illegally impeded." (Id. at 14.)

III. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

A. Defendants' Arguments

Defendants seek dismissal pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 12(b)(6), claiming: 1) Plaintiff "has no standing to file suit on behalf of White;" 2) his allegations are "insufficient to show that any non-frivolous claim was actually thwarted by any of the Defendants' conduct"; 3) Warden McEwan is improperly sued based on respondeat superior liability; and, 4) Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against Defendants Stone and Shelton because he "has no liberty interest in the prison grievance procedures in which ...

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