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Thomas Haney v. Warden Ken Clark

February 28, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Seng United States Magistrate Judge



On October 21, 2009, Plaintiff Thomas Haney, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.)

On March 29, 2011, Plaintiff's Complaint was screened and dismissed, with leave to amend, for failure to state a cognizable claim. (ECF No. 11.) Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (ECF No. 18) is now before the Court for screening.


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, malicious," or 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).

Section 1983 "provides a cause of action for the 'deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United States." Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).


The First Amended Complaint names the following Defendants: (1) Ken Clark, Warden, California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran (CSATF); (2) S. Ramirez, Visiting Lt., CSATF; (3) F. Ramirez, Visiting Lt., CSATF; (4) R. Brannum, Visiting Lt., CSATF; (5) A.R. Shiloh, Institutional Security Unit (ISU) Sgt. #2, CSATF; (6) M. Padilla, ISU Staff Correctional Officer (CO), CSATF; (7) A. Bernal, ISU Staff CO, CSATF; (8) Gonzalez, ISU Staff CO, CSATF; (9) D. James, Yard Lt., CSATF; (10) Gonzalez, Yard Sgt., CSATF; (11) C. Lane, Yard Staff CO, CSATF; (12) S. Ballesteos, Yard Staff CO, CSATF; (13) L. Webb, CCI Counselor, CSATF; (14) James Yates, Warden, Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP); (15) J.M. Mattingly, Chief Deputy Warden, PVSP; (16) R. Hansen, Chief Deputy Warden, PVSP; (17) Webster, Visiting Lt., PVSP; (18) W.K. Myers, Visiting Lt., PVSP; (19) V. Carr, Visiting Sgt., PVSP; (20) C. Barajas, Visiting CO, PVSP; (21) J.G. Lopez, ISU Sgt., PVSP; and (22) R. Milan, ISU Staff CO, PVSP.

Plaintiff alleges the following:

Plaintiff and his family were enjoying visitation at CSATF when Defendant Ballesteos began monitoring the visitors room. Ballesteos verbally harassed Plaintiff and his family. When Plaintiff confronted Ballesteos, she ended the visitation. Plaintiff filed an inmate appeal regarding the incident. The appeal was heard some time after June 6, 2004. Ballesteos started spreading rumors on the yard that Plaintiff and his family supplied drugs. (Compl. at 6.)

On July 12, 2005, Defendant Webb called Defendant Bernal and reported that an inmate informant, who he could no longer identify, had stated that Plaintiff was in possession of narcotics. Bernal, Gonzales, and Lane searched Plaintiff's cell. Bernal purportedly discovered a red balloon filled with narcotics among Plaintiff's possessions. (Id. at 7, 8.) Bernal declared the balloon to be filled with narcotics before it was opened and tested. Defendants Webb and Bernal's conduct indicate a conspiracy to harm Plaintiff. (Id. at 8, 9.)

On October 15, 2005, Defendant Brannum cuffed Plaintiff during visiting hours and secured him in a back room. Brannum alleged that he saw Plaintiff and his family passing drugs. Plaintiff was placed on contraband watch for three days. No contraband was found. (Id. at 9, 10.) Plaintiff was taken to administrative segregation and charged with possession of narcotics for distribution. An x-ray found no contraband. The charges were not dropped, and Plaintiff remained in segregation. Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant Brannum. (Id. at 10.) S. Ramirez conducted an interview in response to Plaintiff's complaint. Plaintiff cited sections of the California Code of Regulations that he believed were violated by Brannum. Ramirez responded by threatening Plaintiff and his family. Plaintiff formally complained of being threatened on January 31, 2006. (Id. at 11.)

On February 12, 2006, Plaintiff appeared before Defendant D. James during a disciplinary hearing for possessing the balloon of narcotics. Plaintiff raised the various procedural missteps made by the prison officials involved. (Id. at 13, 14.) Defendant James was disrespectful and found Plaintiff guilty of drug possession. (Id. at 14.) Plaintiff filed an inmate grievance against James for failing to observe protocol. (Id. at 15.)

Some time afterwards Plaintiff was transferred to PVSP. Plaintiff's wife attempted to visit him and was told by Lt. Nelson that she was flagged for drug smuggling and not allowed to visit. Defendant Mattingly sent Plaintiff's wife a rude letter that included "unfounded statements" regarding "past experiences in other prisons . . . ." Mattingly denied visitation privileges. (Id. at 16.) Plaintiff appealed the loss of visitation via numerous inmate appeals. Visitation was restored after Lieutenants Nelson and Webster were replaced by Defendant Myers. (Id. at 17.)

On March 23, 2008, Plaintiff was visiting with his family. Plaintiff asked Defendant Barajas if he could kiss family members for pictures. Barajas said yes, then seized the photo after she saw how the kissing had occurred. Plaintiff filed a grievance against Barajas. The following weekend Barajas' co-worker detained Plaintiff at the visiting gate for an hour. On March 29, 2008, Defendant Barajas accused ...

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