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Williamson v. Staff

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 30, 2014

FREDDIE LEE WILLIAMSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CSP SOLANO MAILROOM STAFF, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING IFP AND SCREENING COMPLAINT

EDMUND F. BRENNAN, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In addition to filing a complaint, plaintiff has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.

I. Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

Plaintiff's application makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) and (2). Accordingly, by separate order, the court directs the agency having custody of plaintiff to collect and forward the appropriate monthly payments for the filing fee as set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) and (2).

II. Screening Requirement and Standards

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). The court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, " or "seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." Id. § 1915A(b).

A pro se plaintiff, like other litigants, must satisfy the pleading requirements of Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8(a)(2) "requires a complaint to include a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554, 562-563 (2007) (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)). While the complaint must comply with the "short and plaint statement" requirements of Rule 8, its allegations must also include the specificity required by Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009).

To avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim a complaint must contain more than "naked assertions, " "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-557. In other words, "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

Furthermore, a claim upon which the court can grant relief must have facial plausibility. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. When considering whether a complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court must accept the allegations as true, Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007), and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, see Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974).

III. Screening Order

The court has reviewed plaintiff's complaint (ECF No. 1) pursuant to § 1915A and concludes that it must be dismissed with leave to amend for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. To proceed, plaintiff must file an amended complaint.

Plaintiff alleges the following:

Some one in CSP Solano mailroom has red flagged my mail. The person or person's that has been blocking my legal mail from getting to the courts has been denying [me equal protection, due process, and access to the courts].

ECF No. 1. Plaintiff alleges that when he complained to prison officials about the problems with this mail, they blamed the U.S. Postal Service. Plaintiff claims he then wrote a letter to the Postmaster, but received no response. As defendants in this action, plaintiff names "CSP Solano Mailroom Staff, " Postmaster of the U.S. Postal Service, and Warden Gary Swarthout. Plaintiff does not identify any particular individual as having interfered with his mail. Nor does he allege how Swarthout was involved in any violation of his rights. In addition, plaintiff does not describe the nature of the "legal mail" that was allegedly "blocked" - that is, whether it related to a direct criminal appeal, a constitutional challenge to his conditions of confinement, or some other type of proceeding in which plaintiff was attempting to have access to the courts. The complaint must contain ...


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