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Nelson Wynn v. A. Hedgpeth

March 6, 2012

NELSON WYNN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
A. HEDGPETH, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



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

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSING ACTION FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Nelson Wynn is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On January 20, 2012, an order issued dismissing Plaintiff's complaint, with leave to amend, for failure to state a claim. (ECF No. 11.) Currently before the Court is the first amended complaint, filed February 17, 2012. (ECF No. 12.)

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 and is incarcerated at the California Institution for Men, Chino. Plaintiff alleges that, while he was housed at Kern Valley State Prison, Defendants Gebremedhin and Meza packed his belongings when Plaintiff was placed in Administrative Segregation. Defendants Clark and Becerra were responsible for storing Plaintiff's belongings, and Defendant Esparza was in charge of distributing legal property to inmates housed in Administrative Segregation. Plaintiff received some of his property from Defendant Becerra and another inmate's property was mixed in with his property. Approximately 6,000 pages of Plaintiff's legal documents, files on his criminal case, and other property were lost. Defendant Becerra admitted that Plaintiff's property may have been mixed up with another inmate's property.

Plaintiff states that he has an active habeas case, 5:08-cv-01793 CAS (CW), that he is litigating.*fn1 Due to the loss of the legal property, Plaintiff will not be able to effectively challenge his criminal conviction. Specifically, a log sheet from Grace Garden School showing that Plaintiff was picking up his daughter at the time he was alleged to have committed his crime was lost. To Plaintiff's knowledge, this was the only copy of the log in sheet and is crucial to his claim that he is factually innocent of the crimes he has been convicted of committing.

Plaintiff seeks the return of or the replacement value of his property and damages of $25,000. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff has failed to state a cognizable claim for relief.

III. Discussion

A. Access to the Courts

Inmates have a fundamental constitutional right of access to the courts. Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 346 (1996); Hebbe v. Pliler, 611 F.3d 1202, 1206 (9th Cir. 2010). The right is merely the right to bring to court a grievance the inmate wishes to present, and is limited to direct criminal appeals, habeas petitions, and civil rights actions. Lewis, 518 U.S. at 354. To bring a claim, the plaintiff must have suffered an actual injury by being shut out of court. Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 415 (2002); Lewis, 518 U.S. at 351. Actual injury occurs when an inmate ...


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