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Fratus v. California Dept. of Corrections

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 2, 2014

JOHN FRATUS, Plaintiff,
v.
CALIFORNIA DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

ORDER (1) DISMISSING DEFENDANTS ADAMS, GRANNIS, HODGES-WILKINS, CANO, HARTLEY, SHEPPARD BROOKS, JENNINGS, AND LOPEZ, WITH PREJUDICE, (2) REFERRING MATTER BACK TO MAGISTRATE JUDGE FOR SERVICE OF SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT ON DEFENDANTS CALLOW AND BEARD, AND (3) DENYING MOTION AS MOOT (Docs. 20 and 24)

LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL, District Judge.

Second Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement and Standard

Plaintiff John Fratus, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on June 4, 2012. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint as a matter of right on December 5, 2012, Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a), and on March 7, 2013, the Court screened Plaintiff's amended complaint, found it stated a cognizable claim against Defendant Callow only, and ordered Plaintiff to either file a second amended complaint or notify the Court of his willingness to proceed only against Defendant Callow, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. After his motion for reconsideration of the screening order was denied, with prejudice, Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint on April 1, 2013.

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007)), and courts "are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences, " Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

Under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of 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). Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor, Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted), but nevertheless, the mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting the plausibility standard, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II. Discussion

A. Summary of Claim

Plaintiff brings this action against Lieutenant Callow, Warden Adams, Inmate Appeals Branch Chief N. Grannis, Appeals Examiner M. Hodges-Wilkins, Correctional Counselor Cano, Chief Deputy Warden James D. Hartley, Warden Sheppard Brooks, Captain M. Jennings, Associate Warden R. Lopez, and the Director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") for violating his rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution while he was incarcerated at California State Prison-Corcoran. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages, a declaratory judgment, and injunctive relief.

The basic facts underlying Plaintiff's claim remain unchanged. Those facts were summarized as follows in the first screening order:

Plaintiff alleges that on July 12, 2006, he was assaulted by Correctional Officers Hamilton, Solano, Cortez, and Luna right in front of Sergeant Robertson. To cover up the incident, the officers lied and Plaintiff was charged with battery on a peace officer, purportedly for headbutting Hamilton.
Plaintiff was found guilty of the charge on August 23, 2006, given an eighteen month Security Housing Unit (SHU) term, and assessed a one-hundred twenty-one day credit forfeiture.
While in the SHU, Plaintiff filed grievances and was retaliated against for it, resulting in more beatings and a longer SHU term based on false write-ups. Plaintiff ultimately ...

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