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Jesse Manny Canez v. Oliver

June 21, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge


Findings and Recommendations Following Screening of Amended Complaint

I. Screening Requirement and Standard

Plaintiff Jesse Manny Canez, a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on November 8, 2010. On December 13, 2011, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint, with leave to amend, for failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). On June 8, 2012, after obtaining several extensions of time, Plaintiff timely filed an amended complaint.

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an 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, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (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) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

Section 1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of Plaintiff's constitutional or other federal rights by persons acting under color of state law. Nurre v. Whitehead, 580 F.3d 1087, 1092 (9th Cir 2009); Long v. County of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006); Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). Plaintiff's allegations must link the actions or omissions of each named defendant to a violation of his rights; there is no respondeat superior liability under section 1983. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-77; Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-21 (9th Cir. 2010); Ewing v. City of Stockton, 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th Cir. 2009); Jones, 297 F.3d at 934. Plaintiff must present factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; 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, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II. Plaintiff's Claims

A. Summary of Allegations

Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee at the Fresno County Jail, and he brings this action against Correctional Officer Oliver and Correctional Sergeant Shumate for violating his rights under the United States Constitution. The events at issue occurred at the jail between approximately October 16, 2010, and November 5, 2010. Based on Plaintiff's allegations, his claims appear to arise out of the denial of procedural due process, unconstitutional conditions of confinement in disciplinary segregation, retaliation, the denial of equal protection, and the denial of access to the courts.

In support of his claims, Plaintiff alleges that on September 16, 2010, he and his cellmate were both found guilty of a "meritless" rules violation. (Doc. 26, Amend. Comp., ¶16.) Subsequently, on or around October 16, 2010, Plaintiff was placed in the disciplinary isolation unit after informing Officer Rodriguez that he and his cellmate were having problems. Plaintiff alleges that his cellmate remained in general population and enjoyed full privileges. While in the isolation unit, Plaintiff did not have access to the law library, although other inmates in the unit had law library privileges. On October 25, 2010, Plaintiff "grieved" Defendant Oliver regarding his lack of library access and informed Defendant that he had a court hearing on November 2, 2010. (Id., ¶13.)

Plaintiff alleges that other inmates in the isolation unit "lived in their feces and urine," and he was placed in a cell with feces and urine all over. (Id., ¶20.) Plaintiff alleges that staff refused to relocate him, and even after he served his disciplinary term, he was forced to reside there.

Plaintiff alleges that he was harassed and ignored by staff when he tried to obtain relief through the grievance procedure. From October 16, 2010, through November 2, 2010, Plaintiff addressed these issues with Defendant Oliver and other classification staff, but he was mocked by Officer Garcia and other staff. On November 5, 2010, Plaintiff "addressed these issues again" with Defendant Shumate, who "supervises all classification staff and has the final decision in all actions taken by his staff." (Id., ΒΆ25.) Plaintiff further alleges ...

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