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Thompson v. Hernandez

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 1, 2014

DEWAYNE THOMPSON, Plaintiff,
v.
M. P. HERNANDEZ, et al., Defendants.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION WITHOUT PREJUDICE (ECF No. 7)

BARBARA A. McAULIFFE, Magistrate Judge.

I. Screening Requirement and Standard

Plaintiff DeWayne Thompson ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff initiated this action on April 30, 2013. Plaintiff's first amended complaint, filed on March 19, 2014, is currently before the Court for screening.

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 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, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, 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).

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). To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged, Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. United States Secret Service , 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss , 572 F.3d at 969.

II. Allegations

Plaintiff is currently housed at California State Prison, Sacramento. The events alleged in Plaintiff's complaint occurred while he was housed at Corcoran State Prison. Plaintiff names Correctional Officer M. P. Hernandez and Correctional Lieutenant F. Munoz in their individual capacities.

Plaintiff alleges as follows: In serious disciplinary procedures for indecent exposure, Investigative Employee M. P. Hernandez deliberately failed to discover an exculpatory witness-Officer O. Knight's partner. This witness was present when the alleged offense took place. Plaintiff contends that this witness could have attested to Plaintiff's "innocence of [him] urinating when O. Knight unexpectedly appeared at [Plaintiff's] cell front for someone calling her name while she walked the upper tier." (ECF No. 7, p. 4.) Plaintiff claims that M. P. Hernandez ridiculed Plaintiff while escorting him to the hearing, calling him a "weenie whacker" and questioning why he was fighting when he knew he was guilty. (ECF No. 7, p. 5.) Plaintiff claims that M. P. Hernandez failed to provide him with the I.E. report twenty-four hours to hearing.

Plaintiff further alleges that F. Munoz, the hearing officer, counted all of his fundamental questions irrelevant "for witness and RVR officer that I wanted I.E. assigned to the both of us to gather information me, despite they would have produced additional relevant information, such as the identity of Knight's partner." (ECF No. 7, p. 5.) F. Munoz conducted the hearing despite Plaintiff not having the I.E. report twenty-four hours before the hearing. F. Munoz also denied Plaintiff's witness and RVR officer at the hearing, then lied in the hearing disposition that Plaintiff did not have any questions for witnesses. F. Munoz prevented Plaintiff from speaking at the hearing, telling Plaintiff to "shut up." (ECF No. 7, p. 5.) This culminated in Plaintiff's dismissal from the hearing before calling his witnesses.

Plaintiff asserts that his due process rights were violated and he lost 90 days of good time credit. Plaintiff also had to serve six months in the Security Housing Unit with a yellow placard placed on his cell signaling sexual offensive behavior. Additionally, Plaintiff asserts that he was confined to his cell, lost dayroom, lost phone calls and lost contact visits.

Plaintiff forwards claims for violation of the Eighth Amendment and violation of the Due Process Clause. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

III. Discussion

Plaintiff is challenging the disciplinary investigation and hearing procedures instituted by Defendants Hernandez and Munoz. Plaintiff also challenges the resulting imposition of discipline, ...


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