Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Layton v. Knipp

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

September 20, 2013

WILLIAM B. KNIPP, Defendants.


ALLISON CLAIRE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se. Plaintiff has filed a complaint styled as a "motion of mandamus" seeking injunctive relief. Plaintiff has also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order. This matter was referred to the undersigned by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Plaintiff has consented to jurisdiction by United States Magistrate Judge.

I. In Forma Pauperis

Plaintiff has submitted a declaration that makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Accordingly, the request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.

Plaintiff is required to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for this action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a), 1915(b)(1). By this order, plaintiff will be assessed an initial partial filing fee in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). By separate order, the court will direct the appropriate agency to collect the initial partial filing fee from plaintiff's trust account and forward it to the Clerk of the Court. Thereafter, plaintiff will be obligated for monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding month's income credited to plaintiff's prison trust account. These payments will be forwarded by the appropriate agency to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in plaintiff's account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee is paid in full. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).

II. Screening of Plaintiff's Complaint

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).

A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams , 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy , 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke , 490 U.S. at 327. The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual basis. See Jackson v. Arizona , 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1989); Franklin , 745 F.2d at 1227.

Rule 8 requires a "short and plain statement" showing grounds for jurisdiction and that the pleader is entitled to relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8. A plaintiff is required to allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 663 (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 556). However, "[s]pecific facts are not necessary; the statement [of facts] need only give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v. Pardus , 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555).

In reviewing a complaint under this standard, the court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hospital Trustees , 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen , 395 U.S. 411, 421(1969). Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by lawyers. See Erickson , 551 U.S. at 94.

Plaintiff is a 56 year male with chronic asthma who was a smoker for twenty-two years. ECF No. 1 at 2. On July 23, 2013, Counselor Winkler notified plaintiff that plaintiff was being put up for transfer to Pleasant Valley State Prison ("PVSP") and that plaintiff had been cleared by a doctor to be transferred to PVSP. Id. at 1-2. Plaintiff was not seen by a doctor in regard to a transfer. Id. at 2. On July 24, plaintiff was endorsed to be transferred. Id.

Plaintiff alleges that transferring him to an area infected with Coccidioidomycosis ("Valley Fever"), a fungal disease, could result in severe disease, long-term morbidity, or death. Id . Petitioner alleges that the health hazards presented by Valley Fever are particularly dangerous and life-threatening to him because he was a smoker and has asthma, which is considered to be an "immunocompromised" condition. Id. at 3.

Federal district courts are without power to issue mandamus to direct state courts, state judicial officers, or other state officials in the performance of their duties. A petition for a writ of mandamus to compel a state court or official to take or refrain from some action is frivolous as a matter of law. See Demos v. U.S. District Court , 925 F.2d 1160, 1161 (9th Cir. 1991) ("We further note that this court lacks jurisdiction to issue a writ of mandamus to a state court."); Clark v. Washington , 366 F.2d 678, 681 (9th Cir. 1966) ("The federal courts are without power to issue writs of mandamus to direct state courts or their judicial officers in the performance of their duties[.]"); see also Newton v. Poindexter , 578 F.Supp. 277, 279 (C.D. Cal. 1984) (§ 1361 has no application to state officers or employees).

Because the court cannot grant the mandamus relief sought, plaintiff's complaint is better construed as a civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for injunctive relief. Plaintiff seeks an injunction preventing the California Department of Corrections ("CDCR") from transferring him to any prison in an area where Valley Fever is present, including PVSP. Plaintiff alleges that such a ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.