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Ricardo Yanez v. Magana

October 22, 2012

RICARDO YANEZ,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MAGANA,
DEFENDANT.



ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (Doc. 1) AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

I. Procedural History

Ricardo Yanez ("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 August 23, 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 Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) in Delano California. The events central to Plaintiff's complaint occurred while he was at prisoner at California State Prison, Corcoran (CSPC) in Corcoran California. Doc. 1. In the complaint, Plaintiff names Correctional Officer Magana as the defendant in this action. Doc. 1 at 1-2. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. Doc. 1 at 3.

Plaintiff alleges that on August 27, 2009, while he was in the Secured Housing Unit (SHU) of CSPC, Plaintiff received some of his property while the remainder of his property was sent to his home address. Doc. 1 at 3. Plaintiff's property did not arrive home. Doc. 1 at 3. Plaintiff then re-submitted a new trust account withdraw slip on December 16, 2009 to request that his property be shipped home. Doc. 1 at 3. However, Plaintiff's property did not arrive to his home. Doc. 1 at 3. Plaintiff filed a request for information regarding his property. Doc. 1 at 3. On March 26, 2010, Plaintiff received notice from Defendant Magana stating that his property was being processed. Doc. 1 at 3. On April 19, 2010, Plaintiff's SHU term was completed. Doc. 1 at 3. Plaintiff transferred from CSPC to Kern Valley State Prison to discover that his property did not get transferred with him and did not arrive to his home. Doc. 1 at 3. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Magana is the officer in charge of all property in CSPC and in charge of Plaintiff's property at the time the property went missing. Doc. 1 at 3.

IV. Plaintiff's Claims

A. Due Process

The Due Process Clause protects prisoners from being deprived of property without due process of law, Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 556, 94 S.Ct. 2963 (1974), and prisoners have a protected interest in their personal property, Hansen v. May, 502 F.2d 728, 730 (9th Cir. 1974). However, deprivation of an inmate's property negligently or intentionally without a pre-deprivation hearing do not state a due process claim under § 1983 if the deprivation was random and unauthorized, see Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535-44 (1981) (state employee negligently lost prisoner's hobby kit), overruled in part on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330-31 (1986); Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984) (intentional destruction of inmate's property), because California provides an adequate state post-deprivation remedy, see Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113, 128-29 (1990) (where state cannot foresee and therefore provide meaningful hearing prior to deprivation, statutory provision for post-deprivation hearing or common law tort remedy for erroneous deprivation satisfies due process); Hudson, 468 U.S. at 533.

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 (1982)); Quick v. Jones, 754 F.2d 1521, 1524 (9th Cir. 1985). An authorized deprivation is one carried out pursuant to established state procedures, regulations, or statutes. Logan v. Zimmerman Brush Co., 455 U.S. at 436; Piatt v. McDougall, 773 F.2d 1032, 1036 (9th Cir. 1985); 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). "'Ordinarily, due process of law requires [notice and] an opportunity for some kind of hearing prior to the deprivation of a . . . property interest.'" Halverson v. Skagit County, 42 F.3d 1257, 1260 (9th Cir. 1995) (internal quotations and citations omitted).

1. Analysis

From the facts alleged, it appears that Defendant Magana's actions, at most, amounts to negligence regarding Plaintiff's property and as such fails to state a due process claim under ยง 1983. See Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535-44 (1981) (state employee negligently lost prisoner's hobby kit), ...


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