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Charles Zacharie v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

January 3, 2012

CHARLES ZACHARIE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION, DEFENDANT.



ORDER

Charles Zacharie, an inmate confined at the High Desert State Prison in Susanville, filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In addition to filing a complaint, plaintiff has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and is before the undersigned pursuant to plaintiff's consent. See E.D. Cal. Local Rules, Appx. A, at (k)(4).

I. Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant (Dckt. Nos. 4, 6) makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) and (2). Accordingly, by separate order, the court directs the agency having custody of plaintiff to collect and forward the appropriate monthly payments for the filing fee as set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) and (2).

II. Screening Order

For the reasons set forth below, the amended complaint fails to state any claims for which relief can be granted under section 1983 and must be dismissed with leave to amend.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court shall review "a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). "On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint (1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." Id. § 1915A(b).

A district court must construe a pro se pleading "liberally" to determine if it states a claim and, prior to dismissal, tell a plaintiff of deficiencies in his complaint and give plaintiff an opportunity to cure them. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130-31 (9th Cir. 2000). While detailed factual allegations are not required, "[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 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to a "probability requirement," but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.

Id. (citations and quotation marks omitted). Although legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations, and are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Id. at 1950.

The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides: Every person who, under color of [state law] . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution . . . shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress . . . .

42 U.S.C. § 1983. An individual defendant is not liable on a civil rights claim unless the facts establish the defendant's personal involvement in the constitutional deprivation or a causal connection between the defendant's wrongful conduct and the alleged constitutional deprivation. See Hansen v. Black, 885 F.2d 642, 646 (9th Cir. 1989); Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743-44 (9th Cir. 1978)

The court has reviewed plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and finds that it does not state a cognizable claim. The complaint names the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") as the sole defendant. Dckt. No. 1 at 1, 3. Plaintiff's claim is simply that the CDCR improperly disposed of [plaintiff]'s personal property without notice or an opportunity to choose the method of disposition and/or prior to the resolution of his segregation housing unit/administrative segregation status [and] . . . erroneously ruled that [plaintiff]'s first formal grievance was untimely filed.

Id. at 3. Plaintiff seeks monetary reimbursement or the return of his property. Id.

The complaint, as it stands, must be dismissed for two reasons. First, the CDCR is an arm of the state and thus both immune from suit under the 11th Amendment and is not a "person" suable under § 1983. Hale v. Arizona, 993 F.2d 1387, 1398-99 (9th Cir. 1993) (en banc); Cohea v. Cal. Dep't of Corr. & Rehab., No. CV 1-07-00469-SRB, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18010, at *6-7 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 26, 2009). Thus, to proceed, plaintiff must identify as ...


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