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Rickey Adams v. J. Yates

May 24, 2012


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


Plaintiff Rickey Adams ("Plaintiff") is a former state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Plaintiff initiated this action on August 13, 2009 in Fresno County Superior Court. (ECF No. 1.) Defendants removed the action to this Court on April 15, 2010. (Id.) Plaintiff's motion to remand was denied. (ECF Nos. 4, 14, & 15.) On July 18, 2011, prior to the Court screening Plaintiff's original Complaint, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 24.) Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint is now before the Court for screening. It fails to state a claim.


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, ___ U.S. ___, ___; 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 1949-50.


Plaintiff was housed at Pleasant Valley State Prison ("PVSP") during the time of the events alleged in his First Amended Complaint. He has since been transferred to California State Prison, Los Angeles County. Plaintiff alleges that the following individuals violated the Eighth Amendment by subjecting him to cruel and unusual punishment: 1) J. Yates, warden, 2) N. Erickson, 3) L. Rumbles, 4) W. Brumbaugh, 5) C. Huckabay, 7) N. Grannis, and 8) S. Hubbard.

Plaintiff asks for $100,000 in compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief.

Plaintiff's Complaint consists of short conclusory allegations. He alleges as follows: On November 3 and/or November 6 2008, Plaintiff was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by Defendants Erickson and Rumbles' falsifying disciplinary reports and placing Plaintiff in Administrative Segregation ("Ad-Seg") without due process. (Am. Compl. at 4.) On November 24, 2009, Plaintiff was found not guilty of the allegations and released from Ad-Seg. (Id.)

After Plaintiff was released from Ad-Seg, Defendants Erickson, Rumbles and Brumbaugh schemed to retaliate against Plaintiff. (Am. Compl. at 4.) From November 16-20, 2008, Plaintiff was denied privileges given to other AIA inmate. (Id. at 4-5.)

Plaintiff filed an administrative appeal 602 against Defendants Erickson, Rumbles, and Brumbaugh, to alert the prison staff to Defendants' unprofessional and unethical conduct. (Am. Compl. at 5.) Defendant Huckabay refused to process the appeal. (Id.) On December 24, 2009, Plaintiff complained to Defendant Yates regarding the conspiracy of retaliation against him and asked for an investigation of Defendants Erickson, Rumbles, and Brumbaugh's conduct. (Id. at 6.) Defendant Yates failed to respond and allowed the retaliatory conduct to continue. (Id.) On April 3, 2009, Defendants Brumbaugh, Erickson, and Rumbles subjected Plaintiff to retaliatory cell searches, property damage, and verbal abuse. (Id. at 5.) Also on April 3, 2009, Defendant Brumbaugh, on Defendant Rumbles' instructions, conducted body searches on Plaintiff as a result of Plaintiff's staff complaint. (Id.)

On May 15, 2009, Defendant Grannis refused to direct Defendants Huckabay or Yates to process Plaintiff's appeal, thereby sanctioning Defendants Erickson, Rumbles, and Brumbaugh's actions. (Am. Compl. at 6.)


A. Section 1983 Standards

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. ยง 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for ...

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