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Louis T. Retanan v. California Department of Correction & Rehabilitation

May 18, 2012




I. Procedural History, Screening Requirement, and Standard

On September 26, 2011, Plaintiff Louis T. Retanan ("Plaintiff"), a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging illegal restitution. Doc. 1. On January 4, 2012, Plaintiff filed a motion for injunction to stop Defendants from deducting restitution. Doc. 6.

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 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). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

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). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice," Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, __, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)), and courts "are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences," Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949.

While prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are still entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor, the pleading standard is now higher, Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). Under § 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendantpersonally 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). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949-50; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

Section 1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of constitutional or other federal rights by those acting under color of state law. E.g., Patel v. Kent School Dist., 648 F.3d 965, 971 (9th Cir. 2011); Jones, 297 F.3d at 934. For eachdefendant named, Plaintiff must show a causal link between the violation of his rights and an action or omission of the defendant. Iqbal,129 S. Ct. at 1949-50; Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1205-06 (9th Cir. 2011); Corales v. Bennett, 567 F.3d 554, 570 (9th Cir. 2009). There is norespondeat superior liability under § 1983, and each defendant may only be held liable for misconduct directly attributed to him or her. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949-50; Ewing v. City of Stockton, 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th Cir. 2009).

II. Allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint

In Plaintiff's complaint, he names California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation;

D. Foston, Chief, Office of Appeals; Dana B. Allen, Associate Warden, Business Services; Linda T. Kalb, Acct. Officer Supervisor; J. Morgan, CC II; D. Foreman, Appeals Coordinator; L. Harton, AFPA; and T. Neal, CDCR employee. Compl. at 1-3, Doc. 1.

Plaintiff alleges that on March 6, 2011, Plaintiff discovered that restitution was being illegally deducted from his trust account without a direct order from the court. Id. at 3. On March 6, 2011, Plaintiff filed a motion with the Superior Court of Sacramento County for a copy of the victim restitution order. Id. at 3, 7-8. On March 25, 2011, Judge Steve White for the Superior Court of Sacramento County, mailed a response to Plaintiff. Id. at 3, 10. Judge White stated that at judgment and sentencing, a court will impose victim restitution pursuant to CA Penal Code § 2085.5(b), and no application by the victim is necessary. Id. Plaintiff filed an inmate appeal regarding the restitution being deducted from this trust account, but his appeals were denied. Id. at 3-4. Per the abstract of judgment, the court ordered restitution of $10,000. Id. at 5. Since the victims did not file a victims' application for restitution, the deduction of funds from Plaintiff's trust account is illegal. Id.

For relief, Plaintiff asks the Court to stop the illegal restitution deduction from his trust account, five million dollars in damages per defendant for embezzlement; seventy-five million for breaking federal and state law for embezzlement; and other costs. Id. at 3.

III. Legal Standard and Analysis for ...

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