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Pino v. Ladd

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 14, 2014

DAVID PINO, Plaintiff,
v.
LADD, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE

DENNIS L. BECK, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff David Pino ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action. Plaintiff filed his complaint on October 3, 2013. Plaintiff names Correctional Lieutenant Ladd, Correctional Sergeant Musselman and Correctional Officers Moor, Hernandez, Watson and Lee as Defendants.[1]

A. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

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). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that... the action or appeal... fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief...." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Id . (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

Section 1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of Plaintiff's constitutional or other federal rights by persons acting under color of state law. Nurre v. Whitehead , 580 F.3d 1087, 1092 (9th Cir 2009); Long v. County of Los Angeles , 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006); Jones v. Williams , 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). Plaintiff's allegations must link the actions or omissions of each named defendant to a violation of his rights; there is no respondeat superior liability under section 1983. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-77; Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz. , 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-21 (9th Cir. 2010); Ewing v. City of Stockton , 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th Cir. 2009); Jones , 297 F.3d at 934. Plaintiff must present factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service , 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss , 572 F.3d at 969.

B. SUMMARY OF PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Valley State Prison ("VSP"), in Chowchilla, California, where the events at issue occurred.

Plaintiff is a Native American inmate at VSP. He alleges that on June 9, 2013, Defendant Ladd directed and supervised a search of the Native American sweat lodge. The search was conducted by Defendants Musselman, Hernandez, Moor, Lee and Watson. Plaintiff alleges that during the search, Defendants, "with malice aforethought and willful intent, deliberately destroyed sacred religious artifacts." Compl. 5. The destroyed artifacts included the fire pit, sacred mound, prayer ties and "nests of baby migratory birds." Compl. 5. Plaintiff alleges that the birds were killed.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' actions caused him to suffer physical and emotional anguish, shame and humiliation. He alleges that Defendants' actions deprived him of his right to practice his sacred religious rituals "in full." Compl. 6. He further alleges that the destruction of the sacred Indian religious area "in the manner aforementioned deprives [him] religious practices under sacred Indian religious beliefs." Compl. 6.

Based on these facts, Plaintiff alleges violations of the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment.

C. ANALYSIS

1. First Amendment

"Inmates... retain protections afforded by the First Amendment, including its directive that no law shall prohibit the free exercise of religion." O'Lone v. Estate of Shabazz , 482 U.S. 342, 348 (1987) (internal quotations and citations omitted). The protections of the Free Exercise Clause are triggered when prison officials substantially burden the practice of an inmate's religion by preventing him from engaging in conduct which he sincerely believes is consistent with his faith. Shakur v. Schriro , 514 F.3d 878, 884-85 (9th Cir. 2008); Freeman v. Arpaio , 125 F.3d 732, 737 (9th Cir. 1997), overruled in part by Shakur , 514 F.3d at 884-85. A prisoner's ...


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