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White v. Riverra

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 17, 2014

ERIC WHITE, Plaintiff,


SUZANNE H. SEGAL, Magistrate Judge.



On December 4, 2013, Eric White ("Plaintiff"), a California state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (the "Complaint"). For the reasons stated below, the Complaint is dismissed with leave to amend.[1]

Congress mandates that district courts perform an initial screening of complaints in civil actions where a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). This Court may dismiss such a complaint, or any portions thereof, before service of process if it concludes that the complaint (1) is frivolous or malicious, (2) fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or (3) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1-2); see also Lopez v. Smith , 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27, 1126 n.7 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).



Plaintiff sues Correctional Sergeant Riverra ("Defendant"), an employee of California State Prison-Los Angeles ("CSP-LA"), in his individual and official capacities. (Complaint at 2).

According to the Complaint, before his conviction, Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the Men's Central Jail ("MCJ") in downtown Los Angeles. ( Id. at 2). At the time, Defendant was a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy assigned to MCJ. (Id.). While at MCJ, Plaintiff witnessed deputies physically abusing other pretrial detainees and was himself "abused, assaulted, an[d] physically mistreated...." (Id.). Plaintiff cooperated with federal authorities in an ongoing investigation of the deputies' abuse. ( Id. at 2-4). Plaintiff's mother, Elaine Guardado, also complained to various agencies about the abuse Plaintiff suffered at MCJ. ( Id. at 2).

Following his conviction, Plaintiff was sent to Salinas Valley State Prison and later, in October 2012, to CSP-LA, where he is currently housed. (Id.). Around the time of Plaintiff's transfer to CSP-LA, CSP-LA hired Defendant as a correctional official. (Id.).

At CSP-LA, Defendant was the supervisor in charge of inmate visitation on the D-Facility. (Id.). Plaintiff claims that Defendant routinely denied visitation requests from Plaintiff's mother as retaliation for Plaintiff's cooperation with authorities during the federal investigation at MCJ. ( Id. at 3-4). According to Plaintiff, "Defendant Riverra created an arbitrary pretext to further create cause and reason for denying Plaintiff and mother visiting [sic]." ( Id. at 3). As a result, between October 2012 and August 2013, Plaintiff was "deprived and denied various visiting weekends with [his] mother, some of which Plaintiff[s] mother begged and pleaded [sic] with prison officials to rectify Defendant Riverra's retaliatory denial...." (Id.).

Plaintiff attempted to file a grievance for "relief from [D]efendant's harassing retaliatory act." (Id.). However, "Defendant Riverra purposely frustrated the process by refusing to provide an informal response to Plaintiff[s] dispute." (Id.). Moreover, when Plaintiff attempted to "bypass" the informal response requirement because of Defendant's refusal, CSP-LA appeals coordinators told Plaintiff that his grievance could not be processed because "Plaintiff show[ed] no attempt to resolve this dispute with the [D]efendant at the lowest level possible[, ] which is the informal level review." (Id.).

Plaintiff eventually obtained an informal response in July 2013, and thereupon filed a second inmate grievance concerning the denial of his mother's visitation rights. (Id.). The grievance was granted at the first level of review and Plaintiff's mother was approved to visit Plaintiff as of August 17, 2013. ( Id. at 4).

According to exhibits attached to the Complaint, CSP-LA maintained that Plaintiff's mother's CDC 106 visiting questionnaire was initially disapproved due to missing information. ( Id. at 4; Exhibit A at 8, 12).[2] CSP-LA's first level response to Plaintiff's appeal states that "[t]he results of the inquiry revealed that your prospective visitor's CDC 106 Visiting Questionnaire was initially processed and disapproved under provisions set forth in the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 15 Section 3172.1. However, your prospective visitor, Ms. Guardado submitted all necessary documentation to receive approval from the visiting ...

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