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Garrison S. Johnson v. Cate

April 17, 2012

GARRISON S. JOHNSON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CATE, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Seng United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF NO. 1) AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS

SCREENING ORDER

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff Garrison S. Johnson, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights action on December 16, 2010 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff's Complaint is now before the Court for screening.

II. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

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, malicious," or that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2).

Section 1983 "provides a cause of action for the 'deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United States." Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393--94 (1989).

III. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

Plaintiff alleges Defendants have a policy and practice of assigning prison library clerk positions based upon race. (Compl., at 5.) This has prevented African American inmates such a Plaintiff from getting library clerk assignments at Kern Valley State Prison ("KVSP"). As a result, such African American inmates receive inadequate library assistance and there is increased hostility and violence among inmates. (Id. at 4.)

Defendants, in their official and individual capacities are: (1) M. Cate, Secretary for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"), (2) D. Foston, Inmate Appeal Branch, (3) K. Harrington, Warden, (4) M. Biter, Chief Deputy Warden, (5) C. Lawless, Associate Warden, and (6) K. Doran, Lieutenant. (Id. at 6.)

Plaintiff seeks an injunction directing CDCR to cease its policy and practice of excluding Black inmates from library clerk positions, compensatory and punitive damages and costs and fees. (Id. at 6.)

IV. ANALYSIS

A. Pleading Requirements Generally

To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. ...


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