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Jeremy R. Baker v. Dr. John Baker

January 7, 2013



Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed his complaint on October 23, 2012, and paid the filing fee. 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).

A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual basis. See Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1989); Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227.

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. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984) (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)); Palmer v. Roosevelt Lake Log Owners Ass'n, 651 F.2d 1289, 1294 (9th Cir. 1981). In reviewing a complaint under this standard, the court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hosp. Trustees, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), 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 (1969).

Plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim against defendants Joanne Hendricks and George Malim for the following reasons. With respect to defendant Hendricks, the complaint alleges as follows: "I have attached a disciplinary report that I received while trying to resolve Grievance "Exhibit A" that I became upset about because Ms. Joanne Hendricks was giving me the same answer as she did on an earlier grievance." (See Dkt. No. 1 at p. 4.) The complaint mentions Malim on two occasions; first, "'Exhibit E', is the follow up of 'Exhibit A, C & D' from Captain Malim. He plainly states that the medication I shall receive is completely up to Dr. Baker;" and second "I have attached an inmate request form labeled Exhibit F" to I.A. ad Capt. Malim that was answered by Sgt. Neilsen giving me specific instructions to fill out a 'Blue Slip' to get my medication." (See id.)

These allegations do not state a claim against these two defendants. First, prisoners have no stand-alone due process rights related to the administrative grievance process. See Mann v. Adams, 855 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1998); see also Ramirez v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 860 (9th Cir. 2003) (holding that there is no liberty interest entitling inmates to a specific grievance process). Moreover, supervisory personnel are generally not liable under section § 1983 for the actions of their employees under a theory of respondeat superior and, therefore, when a named defendant holds a supervisor position, the causal link between him and the claimed constitutional violation must be specifically alleged. See Fayle v. Stapley, 607 F.2d 858, 862 (9th Cir. 1979) (no liability where there is no allegation of personal participation); Mosher v. Saalfeld, 589 F.2d 438, 441 (9th Cir. 1978). Vague and conclusory allegations concerning involvement of official personnel in civil rights actions are not sufficient. See Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982) (complaint devoid of specific allegations of personal participation is insufficient).

Plaintiff's complaint states a cognizable claim for relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) against defendant Dr. John Baker. If the allegations of the complaint are proven, plaintiff has a reasonable opportunity to prevail on the merits of the action. The Clerk of the Court will be directed to issue the appropriate number of summonses to plaintiff for purposes of service of process. See Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4.

Plaintiff shall complete service of process in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4 within sixty days from the date of this order.*fn1 Plaintiff shall serve a copy of this order on each defendant together with a summons and a copy of the complaint. Within 120 days from the date of this order, plaintiff and defendants shall each submit to the court and serve by mail on all other parties the following status report:

1. Whether this matter is ready for trial and, if not, why not;

2. Whether additional discovery is deemed necessary. If further discovery is deemed necessary, the party desiring it shall state the nature and scope of the discovery and provide an estimate of the time needed in which to complete it;

3. Whether a pretrial motion is contemplated. If any such motion is contemplated, the party intending to file it shall describe the type of motion and shall state the time needed to file the motion and to complete the time schedule set forth in Local Rule 230(l);

4. A narrative statement of the facts that will be offered by oral or documentary evidence at trial;

5. A list of all exhibits to be offered into evidence at the trial of the case;

6. A list of the names and addresses of all witnesses the party intends to call;

7. A summary of the anticipated testimony of any witnesses who are ...

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