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Shawn Woodall v. George Neotti; Allamby; Asbury; Robles; Dela Guerra; Whitting; Pederson; Romero; Soto; Koen; Brown; Pasha; Choe

September 12, 2012

SHAWN WOODALL,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
GEORGE NEOTTI; ALLAMBY; ASBURY; ROBLES; DELA GUERRA; WHITTING; PEDERSON; ROMERO; SOTO; KOEN; BROWN; PASHA; CHOE;
CRAIG; OBREGON; OMOJANDRO, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barry Ted Moskowitz, Chief Judge United States District Court

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS PEDERSON AND SOTO'S MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO FED.R.CIV.P. 12(b)(6) [ECF No. 112]

I. Procedural History*fn1

On August 31, 2010, Shawn Woodall ("Plaintiff"), a former state inmate filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, along with a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis ("IFP"). The Court conducted a number of required sua sponte screenings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Plaintiff was permitted leave to file amended pleadings and on August 20, 2011, Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint ("SAC"). The Court conducted one last sua sponte screening, dismissed several claims and Defendants and gave Plaintiff the option to proceed with the claims that survived screening or file another amended complaint. See Dec. 28, 2011 Order at 5-6. Plaintiff chose to proceed with the surviving claims. (ECF No. 62.) Thus, the Court dismissed several claims and Defendants in accordance with the previous Order and directed the U.S. Marshal to effect service of the SAC on the remaining Defendants. (ECF No. 64.)

On June 18, 2012, Defendants Pederson and Soto filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's claims against them found in "Count 4" of Plaintiff's SAC pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 112.) All the remaining Defendants have filed an Answer to Plaintiff's SAC. (ECF No. 113.) Plaintiff has filed his Opposition to Defendants' Motion. (ECF No. 124.)

II. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

A. Defendants' Arguments

Defendants Pederson and Soto seek dismissal pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 12(b)(6) claiming that Plaintiff fails to allege facts sufficient to support a claim against them for "interference with mail" found in "Count 4" of Plaintiff's SAC. B. FED.R.CIV.P. 12(b)(6)

Standard of Review

A Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal may be based on either a "'lack of a cognizable legal theory' or 'the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.'" Johnson v. Riverside Healthcare System, LP, 534 F.3d 1116, 1121-22 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990)). In other words, the plaintiff's complaint must provide a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief." Id. (citing FED.R.CIV.P. 8(a)(2)). "Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only give the defendant[s] fair notice of what ... the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 127 S. Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (internal quotation marks omitted).

A motion to dismiss should be granted if plaintiff fails to proffer "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) .

In addition, factual allegations asserted by pro se petitioners*fn2 , "however inartfully pleaded," are held "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519-20 (1972). Because "Iqbal incorporated the Twombly pleading standard and Twombly did not alter courts' treatment of pro se filings, [courts] continue to construe pro se filings liberally when evaluating them under Iqbal." Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 & n.7 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing Bretz v. Kelman, 773 F.2d 1026, 1027 n.1 (9th Cir. 1985).

C. Application to Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint

1. Factual Allegations - "Count 4"

In this portion of Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges several Defendants, including Defendants Pederson and Soto, interfered with his right to send and receive mail. (See SAC at 21-41.) Plaintiff claims that in 2008 he sought relief from United States Senator Diane Feinstein because he claimed that the processing of inmate mail at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility ("RJD") was not "in accordance with federal and state law." (Id. at 21.) Plaintiff claims Senator Feinstein contacted then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who "assured Senator Feinstein that his office would resolve the Plaintiff's complaint." (Id.) Former Governor Schwarzenegger, in turn, contacted ...


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