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Edwin Valencia v. John Doe No. 1

October 25, 2012

EDWIN VALENCIA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN DOE NO. 1, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



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

I. Procedural History

THIRTY DAYS

Plaintiff Edwin Valencia ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Doc. 1. On December 22, 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 Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) in Coalinga, California. The events central to Plaintiff's complaint occurred while he was at prisoner at California State Prison, Corcoran (CSPC). Doc. 1. In the complaint, Plaintiff names the following defendants: 1) John Doe #1 (Correctional Officer at CSPS); 2) John Doe #2 (Correctional Officer at CSPS); and 3) John Doe #3 (Correctional Officer at CSPS). Doc. 1 at 2, 4. Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief, injunctive relief and compensatory damages. Doc. 1 at 3.

According to Plaintiff, on April 25, 2010, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP), in an Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) pending transfer. Doc. 1 at 5. On April 25, 2010, SVSP staff informed Plaintiff that he was scheduled to transfer to CSPC on April 26, 2010. Doc. 1 at 5. Staff at SVSP instructed Plaintiff to surrender all of his personal, legal and religious property in preparation for his transfer to CPSC. Doc. 1 at 5. Plaintiff observed SVSP staff place his property into boxes as a CDCR form 1083 inventory form was completed for each item. Doc. 1 at 5.

On April 26, 2012, Plaintiff was transferred to CPSC with his boxes of property. Doc. 1 at 5. On May 28, 2010, Defendants John Does 1 through 3 returned some of Plaintiff's property. Doc. 1 at 6. After delivering some of Plaintiff's property, Defendants John Does 1 through 3 gave Plaintiff a carbon copy of the CDCR inventory form 1083 to sign while informing Plaintiff that other items were not allowed and Plaintiff could either mail those items to someone outside of prison or have the items donated pursuant to 15 CCR § 3191. Doc. 1 at 6. Plaintiff signed the form and told Defendant Does 1 through 3 that he wanted his property mailed to someone outside of prison. Doc. 1 at 6. Defendant Does 1 through 3 directed Plaintiff to complete the lower section of the CDCR form 1083 to provide an address to mail the property to. Doc. 1 at 6. On June 8, 2010, Plaintiff filed a CDC 602 grievance regarding his missing property. Doc. 1 at 7. On June 13, 2010, Plaintiff sent a written request to the CSPC Receiving and Release division of the prison inquiring about the amount of postage it would cost to mail is property and Plaintiff did not receive a response. Doc. 1 at 8.

On June 22, 2010, Plaintiff sent a written request to the warden of CSPC to direct the staff in Receiving and Release to tell Plaintiff how much it would cost to mail his property. Doc. 1 at 8. On several other dates, Plaintiff filed complaints and appeals in attempt to resolve the missing property issue. Doc. 1 at 8-10. Plaintiff argues that Defendants Does 1 through 3 acted in bad faith and disregarded the prison regulations regarding the disposition of Plaintiff's property pursuant to 15 CCR § 3331, 15 CCR § 3190 and 15 CCR § 3191. Doc. 1 at 10. As a result fo Defendants' actions, Plaintiff lost approximately $528.67 worth of property. Doc. 1 at 10-11.

IV. Legal Standards and Analysis

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 ยง 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 ...


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