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James v. Sweeny

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 19, 2014

MASALA JAMES, Plaintiff,
v.
D. SWEENY, et al., Defendants.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS DISMISSING ACTION WITH PREJUDICE FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (ECF No. 19)

MICHAEL J. SENG, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Masala James is a state prisoner proceeding in pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action filed October 17, 2012 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Complaint was dismissed for failure to state a claim. Before the Court for screening is the First Amended Complaint.

I. 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, malicious, " or 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).

II. PLEADING STANDARD

Section 1983 "provides a cause of action for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States." Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990), quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).

To state a claim under § 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. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda Cnty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).

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 (2009), citing Bell Atlantic 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. Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id., at 667-68.

III. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

While housed at Pleasant Valley State Prison ("PVSP") Plaintiff assisted other inmates with grievances, staff complaints and lawsuits. He also filed a grievance on his own behalf for various alleged deprivations. For this, Defendants Sweeny and Hardin, PVSP correctional officers, retaliated against him. They engaged in racist, disrespectful conduct in attempts to provoke him to violence. They took actions adverse to other inmates and openly blamed Plaintiff, creating a threat of violence by the other inmates against Plaintiff for his having engaged in protected activities.

Pursuant to a pattern and practice of retaliation at PVSP, Defendants Morgan, Foreman, Jimenez and Harton, PVSP appeals coordinators, under the direction of Defendant Brazelton, PVSP Warden, conspired with Defendants Sweeny and Hardin, to screen out and delay Plaintiff's 602 appeal relating to this action. That prevented exhaustion of the appeal.

As further retaliation, Plaintiff was improperly transferred to an out of state correctional facility.

Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and ...


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