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Lesaundra Jenkins v. Kelly Bernatene

July 13, 2012

LESAUNDRA JENKINS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
KELLY BERNATENE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

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

FIRST SCREENING ORDER

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff LeSaundra Jenkins is a state prisoner incarcerated at the Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, California, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action 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). "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).

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, employees of the California Department of Corrections (CDC) Legal Services Unit in Sacramento, California, failed to correct sentencing errors that were proven at her Computation Review (Haygood) Hearing,*fn1 depriving her of Fourteenth Amendment due process and equal protection rights, as follows.

The Trial court judge in her felony matter erred in computing pre-sentencing credits applicable to her sentence. (Compl. at 3, 10.) She discovered the error and filed a term computation appeal pursuant to prison regulations. (Id.) She was provided a Haygood hearing at which she alleges "it was proved . . . an error had been made by [the sentencing judge]". (Id.)

She alleges that Defendants, following the Haygood hearing "made a legal determination of superseding documents pertaining to a judicial error, without clarification from the courts", and failed to correct the error in her sentence, and intentionally denied her equal protection. (Id. at 4.)

She names as Defendants (1) K. Bernatene, Correctional Case Records Analyst, Legal Processing Unit in Sacramento, (2) M. Fortes, Legal Processing Unit in Sacramento, (3) K. Pool, Legal Processing Unit in Sacramento, (4) D. Foston, Legal Processing Unit in Sacramento, (5) M. Cates, Legal Processing Unit in Sacramento. (Id. at 2.)

She seeks monetary compensation. (Id. at 3.)

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. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda Cnty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).

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)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Id. 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.

B. Personal Participation

To state a claim under ยง 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each individually named defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his or her rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). The Supreme Court has emphasized that the term "supervisory liability," loosely and commonly used by both courts and litigants alike, is a misnomer. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. Plaintiff must demonstrate that each ...


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