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Christopher L. Harris v. K. Rodriguez

September 18, 2012

CHRISTOPHER L. HARRIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
K. RODRIGUEZ, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO DENY PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND TO

DISMISS COMPLAINT AND AMENDED COMPLAINT, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM UPON WHICH RELIEF MAY BE GRANTED AND AS BARRED BY HECK v. HUMPHREY Docs. 1, 4, 7, 13 OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

Findings and Recommendations

I. Procedural History, Screening Requirement, and Standard

On May 31, 2012, Plaintiff Christopher L. Harris ("Plaintiff") a federal prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Doc. 1. On July 26, 2012, Plaintiff filed an amended and "supplemental" complaint,*fn1 providing a background on his criminal conviction from October 28, 1999, in the Southern District of Indiana, and alleging an unlawful fine of four million dollars ($4,000,000). Doc. 7.

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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (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). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

While 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, the pleading standard is now higher, Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). Under § 1983, plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendantpersonally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of 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.

Section 1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of constitutional or other federal rights by those acting under color of state law. E.g., Patel v. Kent School Dist., 648 F.3d 965, 971 (9th Cir. 2011); Jones, 297 F.3d at 934. For eachdefendant named, plaintiff must show a causal link between the violation of his rights and an action or omission of the defendant. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1205-06 (9th Cir. 2011); Corales v. Bennett, 567 F.3d 554, 570 (9th Cir. 2009). There is norespondeat superior liability under § 1983, and each defendant may only be held liable for misconduct directly attributed to him or her. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-79; Ewing v. City of Stockton, 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th Cir. 2009).

II. Allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint and Amended / Supplemental Complaint

In Plaintiff's original complaint, he names K. Rodriguez, Administrative Remedy Coordinator for the United States Penitentiary, Atwater ("Atwater"). Compl. at 2, Doc. 1. In Plaintiff's amended / supplemental complaint, he also names Mark Joseph McKeon, Assistant United States Attorney for the United States Penitentiary - Atwater. Am. Compl. at 2, Doc. 7.

In 1999, the Southern District of Indiana rendered a criminal conviction judgment against Plaintiff and fined him four million dollars ($4,000,000). Compl. at 2, Doc. 1; Am. Compl. at 2, Doc.

7. The fine acted as a lien against Plaintiff. Id.

Plaintiff had the right to execute a penal bond or security. Compl. at 3, Doc. 1. In May 2012, Plaintiff delivered an "informal resolution" to Counselor Coggins. Id. at 3-4. Defendant K. Rodriguez, Administrative Remedy Coordinator, refused to release the lien against Plaintiff. Compl. at 4, Doc. 1.

In June 2012, Plaintiff executed a penal bond and mailed it to defendant Assistant U.S. Attorney McKeon. Am. Compl. at 3, Doc. 7. McKeon defaulted on the notice of the penal bond. Id. Defendant K. Rodriguez, Administrative Remedy Coordinator, ...


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