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Darnell Dukes v. K. Harrington

March 12, 2013


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


Plaintiff Darnell Dukes ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on June 11, 2012.*fn1 Plaintiff names Kern Valley State Prison ("KVSP") Warden K. Harrington, Correctional Officer C. Garcia and Inmate Appeals Coordinator E. Borrero as Defendants.


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 must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

Section 1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of Plaintiff's constitutional or other federal rights by persons acting under color of state law. Nurre v. Whitehead, 580 F.3d 1087, 1092 (9th Cir 2009); Long v. County of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006); Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). Plaintiff's allegations must link the actions or omissions of each named defendant to a violation of his rights; there is no respondeat superior liability under section 1983. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-77; Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-21 (9th Cir. 2010); Ewing v. City of Stockton, 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th Cir. 2009); Jones, 297 F.3d at 934. Plaintiff must present factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.


Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at KVSP, where the events at issue occurred. Plaintiff alleges that in June 2010, while he was housed at California State Prison, Los Angeles County ("CSP-LAC"), he received a false Rules Violation Report ("RVR"). The RVR resulted in his transfer to KVSP, which Plaintiff contends is a much harsher environment than CSP-LAC.

Plaintiff arrived at KVSP in April 2011. Shortly thereafter, he received an order from the Chief Inmate Appeals Office dated June 16, 2011. The order requested that Plaintiff forward a copy of his general chrono and classification chrono. To obtain the documents, Plaintiff sent an "inmate request for interview" to Defendant Garcia, Plaintiff's assigned counselor. Plaintiff had staff sign and date the request and deliver it to Defendant Garcia. Defendant Garcia did not respond or send Plaintiff the documents. Plaintiff therefore filed an inmate grievance against him.

Plaintiff alleges that on October 18, 2011, Defendant Garcia came to his cell and yelled, "Here's your shit, don't fuck with me anymore." Compl. 6.

On October 29, 2011, Plaintiff had a rehearing on the June 2010 RVR. The RVR was dismissed. Plaintiff informed Defendant Garcia of the program review changes that he was now entitled to through an "inmate request for interview" dated November 17, 2011. The form indicates that staff hand-delivered it to Defendant Garcia on November 17, 2011. Plaintiff states that staff signed and dated the document and delivered it to Defendant Garcia.

On November 28, 2011, Plaintiff filed another inmate grievance against Defendant Garcia. Plaintiff believes that he no longer fits the criteria for incarceration at KVSP, and he alleges that Defendant Garcia retaliated against him by failing to take Plaintiff to the Institutional Classification Committee for program review and potential transfer.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Borrero acted in concert with Defendant Garcia in retaliating against Plaintiff by improperly screening out his valid inmate grievance. He also alleges that Defendant Harrington acted in concert by failing to act once Plaintiff sent him ...

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