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Olivier v. Cate

United States District Court, N.D. California

February 14, 2014

MAURICE P. OLIVIER, Plaintiff,
v.
MATTHEW CATE, et al., Defendants.

SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, a state prisoner, has filed a pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He alleges that various officials at the Correctional Training Facility ("CTF") conspired to find him guilty in a disciplinary matter. Plaintiff names California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Director Matthew Cate as well as the following CTF prison officials: R. White; C. B. Tucker; D. M. Dunstan; C. A. Freeman; Cox; A. Seidlitz; and R. A. Ruano. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. Venue is proper because the events giving rise to the claim are alleged to have occurred at CTF, which is located in this judicial district. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).

DISCUSSION

I. 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. 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. Id . § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't , 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).

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. West v. Atkins , 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

II. Background

On March 23, 2012, Defendant Ruano informed Plaintiff that he needed to prepare or "trans-pack" his property because he was being transferred to another institution. Plaintiff informed Defendant Ruano that he had a valid medical hold, and refused to obey the order to prepared to the transfer. As a result, on March 24, 2012, Defendant Ruano issued a Rules Violation Report ("RVR") against Plaintiff charging him with Willfully Delaying or Obstructing a Peace Officer in the Performance of His Duty.

On March 27, 2012, Plaintiff appeared for his disciplinary hearing on the RVR. He pled not guilty and did not request witnesses at the hearing. Thereafter, Plaintiff was found guilty of the aforementioned charge and assessed ninety days forfeiture of credit and placed on Privilege Group C-status ("C-status") for ninety days.

Plaintiff then submitted a 602 inmate appeal challenging the guilty finding, claiming that he had a valid medical hold and should not have been on the transfer list. He requested that the guilty finding on his disciplinary record be expunged, that his forfeited credit be restored, that his confiscated entertainment appliances be returned, and that he be returned to daily yard access.

At the second level of review, the reviewer partially granted his 602 appeal. Specifically, the reviewer vacated and dismissed the guilty finding because Plaintiff in fact had a valid medical hold and should not have been on the transfer list. The reviewer further granted Plaintiff's requests to expunge the guilty finding from his disciplinary record, to restore any forfeiture of credits, and to return his entertainment appliances. Plaintiff's request to be returned to daily yard access was denied due to "current operational procedures in which yard access is determined by an inmate[']s assigned Work Group/Privilege Group." Compl., Ex. 2.

Plaintiff claims that as a result of the "unlawful" guilty finding, he was placed on C-status for forty-nine days, which resulted in a loss ...


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