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James Pablo Patterson v. Warden and Housing Supervisor

April 19, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge


Plaintiff James Pablo Patterson ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Docs. 1, 3). Plaintiff filed his complaint on November 30, 2012. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff names as defendants in this matter, the individuals who were the Kern Valley State Prison ("KVSP") Warden and Housing Supervisor on July 16, 2009 (collectively "Defendants").*fn1 Id. at 1.

As required, the Court now screens Plaintiff's complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DISMISSES Plaintiff's complaint with leave to amend.


Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss a case in which the plaintiff proceeds 3 in forma pauperis if the court determines that the case "fails to state a claim on which relief may be 4 granted" or is "frivolous." A claim is frivolous "when the facts alleged rise to the level of the 5 irrational or the wholly incredible, whether or not there are judicially noticeable facts available to 6 contradict them." Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992). 7


A.Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)

"Pro se documents are to be liberally construed" and "'must be held to 'less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976) (quoting Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972)). "[They] can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears 'beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'" (Id.) Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), "[a] pleading that states a claim for relief must contain: (1) a short and plaint statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, . . . ; (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and (3) a demand for the relief sought." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(d)(1). While a complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

In analyzing a pleading, the Court sets conclusory factual allegations aside, accepts all nonconclusory factual allegations as true, and determines whether those non-conclusory factual allegations accepted as true state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949-52 (2009). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. at 1949 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). In determining plausibility, the Court is permitted "to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 1950.

B. 42 U.S.C. § 1983

In order to sustain a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must show (i) that he 3 suffered a violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute, and (ii) that 4 the violation was proximately caused by a person acting under color of state law. See Crumpton v. 5 Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991). The causation requirement of § 1983 is satisfied only if a 6 plaintiff demonstrates that a defendant did an affirmative act, participated in another's affirmative act, 7 or omitted to perform an act which he was legally required to do that caused the deprivation 8 complained of. Arnold v. IBM, 637 F.2d 1350, 1355 (9th Cir. 1981) (quoting Johnson v. Duffy, 588 9 F.2d 740, 743-44 (9th Cir. 1978)).


At all times relevant to the complaint, Plaintiff, a self-identified "Northern Hispanic" gang member, was incarcerated at Corcoran State Prison ("Corcoran") and at KVSP. (Doc. 1 at 4, 6). Plaintiff states his complaint as follows:

On July 16, 2009, a prison lockdown occurred at KVSP due to a riot caused by a conflict between "Southern Hispanic" and "Northern Hispanics" gang members. Id. at 3, 6. A "Southern Hispanic" inmate died in the riot. Id. at 3, 6. As a result, "Southern Hispanic" inmates were placed on alert to "hit" or retaliate against any "Northern Hispanic" inmate they met. Id. at 6.

Also on July 16, 2009, prison officials placed a "Southern Hispanic" inmate in Plaintiff's cell in "error." Id. Shortly thereafter, a fight occurred between Plaintiff and his cellmate in which Plaintiff sustained injuries to his face and back. Id. at 3, 6. Prison officials placed Plaintiff in disciplinary housing for his involvement in the altercation. Id. at 7.

On July 21, 2009, Plaintiff began submitting administrative grievances concerning his placement in disciplinary housing and asserts that officers improperly handled his grievance paperwork. Id. at 7-8. He claims the administrative grievance procedure caused him emotional duress. Id. As a result, prison officials moved Plaintiff to the Kern ...

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