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David E. Whitley v. Cci Cranmer

March 12, 2013

DAVID E. WHITLEY,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CCI CRANMER, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

FIRST SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (Doc. 1) THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE

First Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement and Standard

Plaintiff David E. Whitley, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on July 2, 2012. The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007)), and courts "are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences," Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are still entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor, Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121-23 (9th Cir. 2012); Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010), but Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible to survive screening, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II. Discussion

A. Allegations

Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated at Centinela State Prison, brings this action against Correctional Counselor I Cranmer and Dr. Patel for violation of his rights while he was at Kern Valley State Prison.

Plaintiff was placed on ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) status on February 27, 2008. On April 18, 2012, Plaintiff's status was changed to "not confirmed" by Defendant Patel without any examination, consultation, or notice to Plaintiff, and on April 19, 2012, he was endorsed for transfer to Centinela State Prison, which does not accept inmates who are medically designated as ADA status inmates. Plaintiff alleges that he was unaware of his status change until he transferred on May 21, 2012, and was informed of the change by a receiving nurse.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants conspired to alter medical records so they could wrongfully transfer him to Centinela State Prison, and in doing so, they deprived him of the protections to which he is due under the law.

B. Due Process Claim

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Patel's action in removing him from ADA status without a hearing and changing his medical records to reflect the removal, and Defendants Cranmer and Patel's failure to disclose information to Plaintiff violated his right to due process.

The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects prisoners from being deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 556, 94 S.Ct. 2963 (1974). Plaintiff does not have a protected liberty interest under the Due Process Clause itself in avoiding changes to his classification status, Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 221-22, 125 S.Ct. 2384 (2005), and Plaintiff's complaint contains no facts which support the existence of such a right under state law, Myron v. Terhune, 476 F.3d 716, 718 (9th Cir. 2007). In the absence of a protected interest in his classification status and prison records, ...


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