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Raymond Alford Bradford v. I. Vella-Lopez

April 9, 2013


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


First Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement and Standard

Plaintiff Raymond Alford Bradford, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on June 25, 2011.*fn1 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.

Pro se litigants are 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. Plaintiff's Complaint

A. Improperly Joined Claims

As an initial matter, Plaintiff may not bring unrelated claims against unrelated parties in a single action. Fed. R. Civ. P. 18(a), 20(a)(2); Owens v. Hinsley, 635 F.3d 950, 952 (7th Cir. 2011); George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). Plaintiff names seven defendants and sets forth six sets of claims arising from different events or incidents. The threads in common are Plaintiff's inmate appeals and the defendants' responses to his appeals, but the legal claims are not related. Since Plaintiff is required to file an amended complaint for the reasons set forth below, the Court declines to parse out the unrelated claims at this juncture, but Plaintiff is warned that he may not proceed in one action with a mishmash of unrelated claims. Owens, 635 F.3d at 952; George, 507 F.3d at 607.

B. Plaintiff's Claims

1. Allegations

a. Defendants Vella-Lopez and Barnett

In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on March 2, 2011, he filed an inmate appeal against Defendant Vella-Lopez, the law librarian, for repeatedly denying him access to the law library. Plaintiff's appeal was acknowledged by Defendant Barnett, an appeals coordinator, and by Defendant Vella-Lopez, but it did not receive a response and Plaintiff was "denied access to courts, state (Board) claims, federal and state, access to legal supplies, envelopes, paper, mailing forms, photocopies, legal documents, litigating copy rights infringement suit, study (time) research" by Defendants. (Comp., p. 5.) Plaintiff alleges that the hindrance caused him "injury i.e., preventing him from filing a timely (Board) state claim within 6 months for denial of dental, diet, emergency-medical care, copy rights infringement, living conditions, in addition, to denial of medication, examination, evaluation of plaintiff's life threatening [blood clots] illnesses, causing a delay in treatment." (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Barnett is responsible for preventing him from seeking relief against Defendant Vella-Lopez, and that Defendants failed to respond to his request for an interview, submitted through a building officer on March 12, 2011.

b. Defendant Vasquez

On March 9, 2011, Plaintiff filed an emergency appeal against a phlebotomist for injuring his arm during a blood draw and "to address any subsequent denial of blood draw(s); future injuries and claims that plaintiff refused treatment." (Id., p. 6.) On March 11, 2011, Defendant Vasquez informed Plaintiff that his appeal would not be processed and on April 12, 2011, it was returned to Plaintiff. Since Defendant Vasquez had a history of ...

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