ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (Doc. 1) AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS
Gabriel H. S. Baldwin ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On March 2, 2011, Plaintiff filed the complaint which is presently before this Court. Doc. 1.
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 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, or portion thereof, should only be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it appears beyond doubt that Plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claim or claims that would entitle him to relief. See Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984) (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)); see also Synagogue v. United States, 482 F.3d 1058, 1060 (9th Cir. 2007); NL Industries, Inc. v. Kaplan, 792 F.2d 896, 898 (9th Cir. 1986). In determining whether to dismiss an action, the Court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, and construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421-22 (1969); Daniels-Hall v. National Educ. Ass'n, 629 F.3d 992, 998 (9th Cir. 2010).
III. Plaintiff's Complaint
Plaintiff is currently a state prisoner at the R. J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD) in San Diego California. The events central to Plaintiff's complaint occurred while he was a prisoner at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) in Delano California. Doc. 1. In the complaint, Plaintiff names the following defendants: 1) Renee Steadman (Correctional Officer at KVSP); 2) Benjarman Aquinaldo (Correctional Officer at KVSP); 3) P. Truit (Correctional Officer at KVSP); 4) M. Betzinger (Sergeant at KVSP); 5) R. Barrett (Sergeant at KVSP); 6) M. Hilderbrand (Sergeant at KVSP); 7) R. Speidell (Lieutenant at KVSP); 8) M. Jefferys (Lieutenant at KVSP); 9) X. Cano (Captain at KVSP); 10) R. Grissom (Associate Warden at KVSP); 11) Department of Corrections; and 12) M. Santillan. Doc. 1 at 1-2. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief in addition to monetary, compensatory, and punitive damages. Doc. 1 at 3.
Plaintiff alleges that he was accused of stealing a package and on January 12, 2010. Doc. 1 at 3, 8. As a result of the theft accusation, Plaintiff was placed in the administrative segregation unit (ASU) and his property was seized. Doc. 1 at 3, 8. On January 16, 2010, Plaintiff explained to investigative officer J. Escutia that his grandparents' obituaries were trashed during the seizure of his property. Doc. 1 at 8. On January 25, 2010, Plaintiff submitted a 602 grievance to Defendant Betzinger which has not been answered. Doc. 1 at 3. Plaintiff submitted several other 602 grievances addressing his confiscated property to Defendant Betzinger. Doc. 1 at 3. On February 14, 2010, Plaintiff was found "not guilty" of the theft charges, however, Plaintiff's property was not returned. Doc. 1 at 3, 8.
While in ASU in March of 2010, Plaintiff received a letter from his mother explaining that the prison had sent home four boxes. Doc. 1 at 9. Plaintiff had explained to Defendants Santillan, Hilderbrand and Jefferys that Plaintiff was involved in court proceedings, however, Defendant Hilderband and Jefefrys ignored Plaintiff and mailed Plaintiff's belongings. Doc. 1 at 9. Plaintiff states that Defendants Aquinaldo, Steadman, Truitt, Betzinger and Barrett were all on second watch, however, Plaintiff does not explaint how they were involved in the deprivation of his property. Doc. 1 at 9. Plaintiff argues that since Defendant Grissom has specifically told all staff to keep inmates out of the package room and that Defendants Truitt, Steadman, Betzinger, Barrett and Speidell ignored those orders, that gave other inmates an opportunity to steal the package which led to Plaintiff being blamed and losing his property over a false theft accusation. Doc. 1 at 10.
On July 22, 2010, Plaintiff received a denial for one of his grievances which requested $3,000 in damages for property. Doc. 1 at 3. On December 2, 2010, Plaintiff received a denial for another grievance regarding legal and personal property.
IV. Legal Standards and Analysis
The Due Process Clause protects prisoners from being deprived of property without due process of law, Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 556 (1974), and prisoners have a protected interest in their personal property, Hansen v. May, 502 F.2d 728, 730 (9th Cir. 1974). However, while an authorized, intentional deprivation of property is actionable under the Due Process Clause, see Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 532, n.13 (1984) (citing Logan v. Zimmerman Brush Co., 455 U.S. 422, 435-36 (1982)); Quick v. Jones, 754 F.2d 1521, 1524 (9th Cir. 1985), neither negligent nor unauthorized intentional deprivations of property by a state employee "constitute a violation of the procedural requirements of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment if a meaningful post-deprivation remedy for the loss is available," Hudson, 468 U.S. at 533. California provides such a remedy. Barnett v. Centoni, 31 F.3d 813, 816-17 (9th Cir. 1994) (per curiam).
Only an authorized, intentional deprivation of property is actionable under the Due Process Clause. Hudson, 468 U.S. at 533. An authorized deprivation is one carried out pursuant to established state procedures, regulations, or statutes. See Logan, 455 U.S. at 436; see also Knudson v. City of Ellensburg, 832 F.2d 1142, 1149 (9th Cir. 1987). Authorized deprivations of property are permissible if carried out pursuant to a regulation that is reasonably related to a legitimate penological interest. Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89 (1987). "An unauthorized intentional deprivation of property by a state employee does not constitute a violation of the procedural requirements of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment if a meaningful post-deprivation remedy for the loss is available." Hudson, 468 ...