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Taylor v. San Francisco Probation Dept.

United States District Court, N.D. California, Oakland Division

May 27, 2014

DION N. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,



Plaintiff, a detainee in Solano County Jail, has filed a pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.


A. Standard of Review

Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. at 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." "Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only "give the defendant fair notice of what the.... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests."'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citations omitted). Although in order to state a claim a complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations, ... a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds' of his entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.... Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. The United States Supreme Court has recently explained the "plausible on its face" standard of Twombly: "While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).

To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 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 deprivation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

B. Legal Claims

Plaintiff states that he was improperly placed in jail for ten days and his personal property was lost.

Neither the negligent nor intentional deprivation of property states a due process claim under § 1983 if the deprivation was random and unauthorized. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535-44 (1981) (state employee negligently lost prisoner's hobby kit), overruled in part on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330-31 (1986); Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984) (intentional destruction of inmate's property). The availability of an adequate state post-deprivation remedy, e.g. a state tort action, precludes relief because it provides adequate procedural due process. King v. Massarweh, 782 F.2d 825, 826 (9th Cir. 1986). California law provides an adequate post-deprivation remedy for any property deprivations. Barnett v. Centoni, 31 F.3d 813, 816-17 (9th Cir. 1994) (citing Cal. Gov't Code §§ 810-895). Nor is a prisoner protected by the Fourth Amendment against the seizure, destruction or conversion of his property. Taylor v. Knapp, 871 F.2d 803, 806 (9th Cir. 1989).

Plaintiff states that a San Francisco Probation Department employee falsified court documents that resulted in plaintiff being placed in San Francisco County jail for ten days where his personal property was lost. Plaintiff provides very few details and it is not clear what court documents were falsified and how that led to his ten day incarceration. Plaintiff is now incarcerated in Solano County Jail nor is it clear how this relates to plaintiff's complaint. Plaintiff also states that jail officials did partly compensate plaintiff for his personal property but the amount was inappropriate.

To the extent plaintiff seeks compensation for his property or disagrees with the compensation received, he must pursue such a claim under state law as described above. To the extent plaintiff is attempting to assert a claim of false arrest, false imprisonment or malicious prosecution, he must provide more information about the nature of such a claim. He has provided no information on why he was in custody, what documents were falsified, how the allegedly falsified documents led to his improper incarceration and if the prosecution is ongoing or if he was found not guilty. Therefore, the complaint will be dismissed with leave to amend to provide this information.


1. The complaint is DISMISSED with leave to amend in accordance with the standards set forth above. The amended complaint must be filed no later than June 27, 2014, and must include the caption and civil case number used in this order and the words AMENDED COMPLAINT on the first page. Because an amended complaint completely replaces the original complaint, plaintiff must include in it all the claims he wishes to present. See Ferdik v. Bonzelet , 963 F.2d 1258, 1262 (9th Cir. 1992). He may not incorporate material from the original complaint by reference.

2. Plaintiff's motion for phone access to contact witnesses (Docket No. 6) is DENIED without prejudice. If plaintiff files an amended complaint with cognizable claims he may renew the motion.

3. It is the plaintiff's responsibility to prosecute this case. Plaintiff must keep the court informed of any change of address by filing a separate paper with the clerk headed "Notice of Change of Address, " and must comply with the court's orders in a timely fashion. Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of this action for failure to prosecute pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b).


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