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Ciron B. Springfield v. Vimal J. Singh

January 18, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Allison Claire United States Magistrate Judge


Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se. He seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and has requested authority pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 to proceed in forma pauperis. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Plaintiff has consented to the jurisdiction of the magistrate judge. ECF No. 8.

Plaintiff has submitted a declaration that makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Accordingly, the request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.

Plaintiff is required to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for this action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a), 1915(b)(1). By this order, plaintiff will be assessed an initial partial filing fee in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). By separate order, the court will direct the appropriate agency to collect the initial partial filing fee from plaintiff's trust account and forward it to the Clerk of the Court. Thereafter, plaintiff will be obligated for monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding month's income credited to plaintiff's prison trust account. These payments will be forwarded by the appropriate agency to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in plaintiff's account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee is paid in full. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).

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 must contain more than a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action;" it must contain factual allegations sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "The pleading must contain something more...than...a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action." Id., quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure 1216, pp. 235-235 (3d ed. 2004). "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id.

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 Hospital 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).

At the outset, plaintiff's 235-page complaint (ECF No. 12)*fn1 violates Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule which requires "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . ." Moreover, by submitting a supplement to the complaint a few days later (ECF No. 13), plaintiff has not complied with Local Rule 220 which directs, in relevant part, that "every pleading to which an amendment or supplement is permitted ... shall be ...filed so that it is complete in itself without reference to the prior or superseded pleading. No pleading shall be deemed amended or supplemented until this Rule has been complied with."*fn2

Plaintiff has named some twenty-four defendants, a number of whom are employed at California State Prison-Lancaster (CSP-Lac) while others are employed at California Medical Facility-Vacaville (CMF) and still others are employed as "special agents" in the "Office of Correctional Safety" in Sacramento. ECF No. 12, pp. 2-4.

Plaintiff complains of a plethora of putative constitutional violations. He claims that his due process rights were violated by various defendants at both CSP-Lac and CMF in validating him as a Black Guerilla Family gang member. He claims that he was retained in administrative segregation without due process at CSP-Lac and that a falsified 128-G chrono was used to conduct an illegal investigation of his alleged gang association when finding him with an unauthorized cell phone was not enough to send him into the security housing unit. He claims that false statements were contained in 128-G following an ICC*fn3 hearing. ECF No. 12, pp. 7-11. He alleges he was deprived of his right to receive mental health treatment after he was referred to the Department of Mental Health due to his "active decompensation in Ad Seg." Id. at 11-12. He claims his food was tampered with while he was in Ad Seg. Id. at 12-13.

Plaintiff alleges he was threatened with an out-of-state transfer and that when he was transferred to CMF to the Acute Psychiatric Program he was told that he would not be able to participate in a particular program because his maximum custody status at CSP-Lac had not been reduced. He claims he was deprived of due process at the unit committee classification hearing which resulted in his continued maximum custody status and ad seg placement pending gang validation. ECF No. 12, p. 14. This resulted in his being subjected to deliberate indifference to his need for mental health treatment. Id. at 15. His retention in ad seg subjected him to "atypical" confinement and imposed a significant hardship on him because he was confined to his cell 24 hours a day and deprived of group therapy and yard exercise. Id. Plaintiff describes his documented self-destructive behavior and suicide attempts at CMF in the in-patient Acute Psychiatric Unit. Id.

Plaintiff then returns to the alleged deficiency of the evidence and procedures used to validate his gang membership. Id. at 16-21. Plaintiff next embarks on a narrative of the alleged unconstitutional conditions of his confinement at the Vacaville Psychiatric Program Intermediate Care Facility in which he was placed at one point. Id. at 21-22. Plaintiff's wide-ranging allegations continue for nearly thirty more pages.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a) provides: "A party asserting a claim, counter-claim, cross-claim, or third-party claim may join, as independent or alternative claims, as many claims as it has against an opposing party." "Thus multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2." George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, ...

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