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Arthur Weeks v. K. Comites

August 3, 2012

ARTHUR WEEKS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
K. COMITES, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barbara A. McAuliffe United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING CERTAIN CLAIMS, WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND, AND DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (ECF No. 5) THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Arthur Weeks ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court is the first amended complaint, filed September 19, 2011. (ECF No. 5.)

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 "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted," or that "seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

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, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)).

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, but the pleading standard is now higher, Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted), and to survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79, 129 S. Ct. at 1949-50; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The "sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully" is not sufficient, and "facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability" falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S. Ct. at 1949; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

Further, under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). Although a court must accept as true all fact ual allegations contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S. Ct. 1955).

II. Discussion

Plaintiff is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and is incarcerated at California State Prison, Corcoran. Plaintiff brings this action against Associate Warden Comites, Chief Deputy Warden Gipson, Correctional Lieutenant Overly, Facility Captain Garcia, Correctional Lieutenant Heidt, Chief Deputy Warden Davis, Correctional Officer Thompson, and Correctional Officer Barron. Plaintiff states that, after he was convicted of a rule violation and placed on C-status for 90 days, he was denied access to the law library and outdoor exercise in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. During this time period Plaintiff was allowed out of his cell for one hour per day, five days per week, impermissibly requiring him to choose between outdoor exercise and attending the law library.

Plaintiff states that Corcoran has a policy that denies C-status inmates law library unless they are on PLU status. Prison officials were aware that he had a civil action pending in Los Angeles Superior Court and he needed access to the law library to effectively prosecute his civil claim. Plaintiff was forced to settle his civil claim for far less than what similarly situated plaintiff's who filed claims against the Los Angeles Archdiocese received

For the reasons set forth below Plaintiff has failed to state a cognizable claim for relief.

III. Discussion

A. Access to the Courts

Inmates have a fundamental constitutional right of access to the courts. Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 346 (1996); Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). The right is merely the right to bring to court a grievance the inmate wishes to present, and is limited to direct criminal appeals, habeas petitions, and civil rights actions. Lewis, 518 U.S. at 354. To bring a claim, the plaintiff must have suffered an actual injury by being shut out of court. Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 415 (2002); Lewis, 518 U.S. at 351. Under the First and Fourteenth Amendments inmates have a right "to litigate claims challenging their ...


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