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Bryan David Bridgeford, Plaintiff v. Mark Pazin

December 13, 2012

BRYAN DAVID BRIDGEFORD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARK PAZIN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM WITH LEAVE TO AMEND ECF NO. 6 RESPONSE DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

I. Background

Plaintiff Bryan David Bridgeford ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner in the custody of the Merced County Sheriff's Department. Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On May 16, 2012, Plaintiff filed his complaint. ECF No. 1. On June 15, 2012, Plaintiff filed his amended complaint. ECF No. 6.

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. Id. § 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." Id. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). 2

A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader 3 is entitled to relief . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but 4 "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, 5 do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 6 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a 7 claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). While factual 8 allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. 9

II. Summary of Amended Complaint

Plaintiff was incarcerated at John Latorraca Correctional Center in Merced, California, where the events giving rise to this action occurred. Plaintiff names as Defendants Mark Pazin, Merced County Sheriff. Plaintiff also names a sergeant, three correctional officers, and medical personnel.*fn1

Plaintiff alleges the following. There was an incident which resulted in Plaintiff and his cell mate being taken to a holding cell. Plaintiff's cell was torn apart. All of Plaintiff's property was taken, including his mattress. Plaintiff was without a mattress for two weeks. Plaintiff never received a "true" due process hearing before being disciplined.

Plaintiff requests that he be compensated for a violation of Plaintiff's due process rights.

III. 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 (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). 2

Plaintiff fails to state a claim against any Defendants. Based on Plaintiff's allegations, it is 3 unclear whether the deprivation was unauthorized, which would fail to state a claim. Additionally, 4 Plaintiff fails to allege when this incident occurred, or which Defendants caused the deprivation. See 5 Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978) ("A person 'subjects' another to the deprivation 6 of a constitutional right, within the meaning of section 1983, if he does an affirmative act, 7 participates in another's affirmative acts, or omits to perform an act which he is legally required to do 8 that causes the deprivation of which complaint is made."). 9

To the extent that Plaintiff alleges liability against Defendant Pazin solely because of his supervisory role as sheriff, Plaintiff fails to state a claim. The term "supervisory liability," loosely and commonly used by both courts and litigants alike, is a misnomer. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677. "Government officials may not be held liable for the unconstitutional conduct of their subordinates under a theory of respondeat superior." Id. at 676. Rather, each government official, regardless of his or her title, is only liable for his or her own misconduct. Id. at 677. When the named defendant holds a supervisory position, the causal link between the defendant and the claimed constitutional violation must be specifically alleged. See Fayle v. Stapley, 607 F.2d 858, 862 (9th Cir. 1979); Mosher v. Saalfeld, 589 F.2d 438, 441 (9th Cir. 1978). To state a claim for relief under ยง 1983 for supervisory liability against Defendant Pazin, plaintiff must allege some facts indicating that the defendant either: personally participated in the alleged deprivation of constitutional rights, knew of the violations and failed to act to prevent them, or implemented a policy ...


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