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Hilton Fisher v. S. Adair

March 14, 2012


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


I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Hilton Fisher ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action was filed on April 15, 2011, and currently before the Court is the first amended complaint, filed July 22, 2011. (ECF No. 15.)

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 housed at Avenal State Prison ("ASP"). Plaintiff brings this action naming fourteen defendants from ASP and the California Correctional Institution ("CCI") alleging violations of his rights under the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

On January 29, 2010, Defendant Adair filed a rule violation report against Plaintiff. In the report, Defendant Adair stated that, during an interview upon Plaintiff's transfer to CCI, Plaintiff said the he wanted single cell status because he felt he might rape someone. When Defendant Adair asked Plaintiff if he was going to hurt his cellmate, Plaintiff stated no. In the report, Defendant Adair stated that he believed Plaintiff's statements were manipulative and motivated by the desire to have single cell status, rather than to prevent harm.

During a custody and classification hearing on February 3, 2010, allegedly to misrepresent the disciplinary hearing findings, Defendant Adair stated that during the interview Plaintiff told him he felt he might rape his cellmate. On March 9, 2010, Defendant Adair said that a threat was not made toward Plaintiff's cellmate, and there was no concern for the cellmate.

Plaintiff alleges that after the March 9, 2010, hearing prison officials filed false documents to have him removed from the Sensitive Needs Yard ("SNY"). The documents labeled him a program failure, but his rule violations were not within 180 days of each other, as required under CDCR regulations. Plaintiff was placed back into the general population at Pleasant Valley State Prison ("PVSP"). When Plaintiff was transferred to ASP on June 8, 2011, he told the receiving official that he could not stay there because there was an inmate from PVSP at ASP who knew Plaintiff had been on the SNY. The official looked over Plaintiff's case records, and stated that Plaintiff did not have any security concerns at ASP. Plaintiff alleges that he has safety concerns at ASP because he and the inmate that was transferred from PVSP are both assigned to six yard. Plaintiff is seeking $85 million in damages.

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. In the paragraphs that follow, the Court will provide Plaintiff with the legal standards that appear to apply to his claims. Plaintiff should carefully review the standards and amend only those claims that he believes, in good faith, are cognizable.

III. Discussion

A. Linkage ...

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