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Martin v. Cate

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

October 2, 2013

BRIAN DOUGLAS MARTIN, Plaintiff,
v.
M. CATE, et al., Defendants.

ORDER OF SERVICE; ORDER DIRECTING DEFENDANTS TO FILE DISPOSITIVE MOTION OR NOTICE REGARDING SUCH MOTION; INSTRUCTIONS TO CLERK

RICHARD SEEBORG, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

This is a federal civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by a pro se state prisoner. The amended complaint (Docket No. 7) is before the Court for review. Having concluded that the amended complaint states cognizable claims, the Court directs defendants to file a dispositive motion, or notice regarding such motion, on or before January 25, 2014, unless an extension is granted. The Court further directs that defendants are to adhere to the new notice provisions detailed in Sections 2.a and 10 of the conclusion of this order.

DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See id. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).

A "complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "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." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Furthermore, a court "is not required to accept legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations if those conclusions cannot reasonably be drawn from the facts alleged." Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754-55 (9th Cir. 1994). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

B. Legal Claims

Plaintiff alleges that Matthew Cate, director of the CDCR, Anthony Hedgpeth, Greg Lewis, Michael Evans, and R. Grounds, wardens of Salinas Valley State Prison, and Salinas Valley Correctional Officers Glenn Ponder, Greg Biaggini, Alexandra Meza, R. Fritz, and N. Walker, violated his Eighth Amendment rights by denying him outdoor exercise time from September 3, 2005 to September 30, 2009. The claims against Cate, Hedgpeth, Lewis, Evans and Grounds are DISMISSED. Plaintiff's allegations against these defendants are based on mere supervisory liability. This is not sufficient to state claims against them. There is no respondeat superior liability under § 1983. Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). It is not enough that the supervisor merely has a supervisory relationship over the defendants; the plaintiff must show that the supervisor "participated in or directed the violations, or knew of the violations and failed to act to prevent them." Id. Furthermore, supervisor defendants are entitled to qualified immunity where the allegations against them are simply "bald" or "conclusory" because such allegations do not "plausibly" establish the supervisors' personal involvement in their subordinates' constitutional wrong. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1948-52 (2009).

The claims against the remaining defendants (Glenn Ponder, Greg Biaggini, Alexandra Meza, R. Fritz, and N. Walker), when liberally construed, are cognizable under § 1983. The events from September 3, 2005 to December 3, 2008 fall outside the limitations period, however, and plaintiff has failed to show cause (Docket No. 9) why the limitations period should be excused. In consequence, the period of the alleged violation for purposes of this action is from December 4, 2008 to September 30, 2009.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, the Court orders as follows:

1. The Clerk of the Court shall issue summons and the United States Marshal shall serve, without prepayment of fees, a copy of the amended complaint in this matter, all attachments thereto, and a copy of this order upon Salinas Valley Correctional Officers Glenn Ponder, Greg Biaggini, Alexandra Meza, R. Fritz, and N. Walker. The Clerk shall also mail courtesy copies of the complaint and this order to the California Attorney General's Office.

2. No later than ninety (90) days from the date of this order, defendants shall file a motion for summary judgment or other dispositive motion with respect to the claims ...


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