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Armentero v. Lopez

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

August 5, 2013

LUIS LORENZO ARMENTERO, Plaintiff,
v.
N. LOPEZ et al., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND (Doc. 12)

JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Luis Lorenzo Armentero ("Plaintiff") is state prisoner proceeding pro se in a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff consented to the jurisdiction of the Magistrate Judge on May 30, 2013. (Doc. 5). As required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court screens the first amended complaint, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court ORDERS that the complaint be DISMISSED.

I. Screening Requirement

Because Plaintiff seeks redress from governmental employees in a civil action, the Court is required to screen his complaint in order to identify any cognizable claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a)-(b). The Court shall "dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint (1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).

II. PLEADING STANDARDS

A. Fed.R.Civ.P. 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 non-conclusory 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 , 556 U.S. 662, 676-684 (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 678) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). In determining plausibility, the Court is permitted "to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679.

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 suffered a violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute, and (ii) that the violation was proximately caused by a person acting under color of state law. See Crumpton v. Gates , 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991). The causation requirement of § 1983 is satisfied only if a plaintiff demonstrates that a defendant did an affirmative act, participated in another's affirmative act, or omitted to perform an act which he was legally required to do that caused the deprivation of which the plaintiff complains. Arnold v. IBM , 637 F.2d 1350, 1355 (9th Cir. 1981) ( quoting Johnson v. Duffy , 588 F.2d 740, 743-44 (9th Cir. 1978)). 42 U.S.C. § 1983 does not create substantive rights, but rather services as a vehicle to protect federal rights which have been established elsewhere. Graham v. Connor , 490 U.S. 386, 393-394 (1989).

III. PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Deuel Vocational Institute in Tracy, California. (Doc. 12 at 1). His cause of action arose against Counselor Lopez and Warden Hartley while he was incarcerated at Avenal State Prison ("ASP") in September of 2011. Id. at 2-3. Plaintiff claims that on September 4, 2011, [1] he mailed "confidential mail" to Warden Hartley's office. (Doc. 12 at 3). Counselor Lopez, an Appeals Coordinator Supervisor at ASP subsequently read and responded to Plaintiff's correspondence. Id. at 3.

IV. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

A. First Amendment Right to Mail and ...


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