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Michael Lynn Waters v. R. Flores

February 14, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barbara A. McAuliffe United States Magistrate Judge


I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Michael Lynn Waters ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court is the complaint, filed September 12, 2011.

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 "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted," or that "seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

In determining whether a complaint states a claim, the Court looks to the pleading standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Under 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)(2). "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S. Ct. 1955 (2007)).

Under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949-50; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). "[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability . . . 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, although a court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

II. Complaint Allegations

Plaintiff is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") and is currently incarcerated at California State Prison, Sacramento. On May 2, 2008, Plaintiff was transferred from Pelican Bay State Prison ("PBSP") to Corcoran State Prison ("CSP"). Plaintiff brings this action against Defendants Flores, Whitford, Scaife, and Rosenquist alleging they are keeping him in lock down due to false reports that he has been cleared to be housed in a double cell. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief and an injunction directing prison officials to remove a false report from his central file, to restore his points, and release him from "PSU" with single cell status.*fn1

Plaintiff alleges that prison officials are using false reports that were placed in his central file by Defendants Scaife, Flores, and Whitford on September 18, 2008.*fn2 On August 11, 2010, Plaintiff had an IDTT mental health review and ICC classification hearing. Defendant Rosenquist came to Plaintiff's cell and informed him that he would not be going to ICC on August 11, 2010. Defendant Rosenquist gave Plaintiff lock up paperwork that falsely stated that he had been present at the ICC hearing.*fn3 Plaintiff told Defendant Rosenquist that the documents in his central file were false, that he "had cell fights behind his mental health issues," and he never signed a double cell compatibility sheet. (Compl. 22, ECF No. 23.) Defendant Rosenquist stated that the defendants were aware of the cell fights.

Plaintiff sent an inmate request for interview requesting copies of any double cell compatible inmate sheets signed by him. Defendant Whitford responded that Plaintiff needed to request copies from his counselor, who was Defendant Rosenquest. (Id. at 23, 50.) Defendant Rosenquest denied Plaintiff's request for copies because he did not have funds available in his inmate account. (Id. at 23, 52-53.)

Plaintiff filed an appeal that was denied at the first level because he did not meet the single cell criteria under either the mental health or custody standard. The first and second level appeals stated that no legal or official documents from PBSP dated May 9, 2008, could be located in Plaintiff's central file to show that he was on single cell status at PBSP prior to transferring to CSP. Plaintiff received the Director's Level response in which Defendant Rosenquest stated that he needed to contact PBSP officials to have them remove any false reports from his central file that cleared Plaintiff to double cell.

Plaintiff filed an inmate appeal requesting the report of September 18, 2008, be removed from his central file. The appeal was denied by Defendants Scaife, Whitford, and Flores. Plaintiff was transferred from CSP on March 1, 2011, and Plaintiff claims that Defendant Scaife could have stopped the transfer and Plaintiff would have been removed from lock down.

For the reasons set forth below Plaintiff has failed to state a cognizable claim for relief.

Plaintiff shall be given the opportunity to file an amended complaint curing the deficiencies described by the Court in this order. Section 1983 provides a cause of action against "[e]very person who, [under color of state law] subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws." 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. While Plaintiff complains that he is being denied single cell status and a false report was placed in his central file, the complaint fails to set forth the "rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws" of which he has been deprived. In the paragraphs that follow, the Court will ...

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