United States District Court, N.D. California
RALPH A. TAYLOR, Plaintiffs,
EDMUND G. BROWN, JR. Governor, et al., Defendants.
ORDER SERVING COGNIZABLE CLAIMS
VINCE CHHABRIA, District Judge.
Ralph A. Taylor, an inmate at Pelican Bay State Prison ("Pelican Bay") proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging constitutional violations against defendants employed at Pelican Bay. On May 15, 2014, the Court reviewed Taylor's first amended complaint and found that he had stated a cognizable First Amendment claim for damages against D. Milligan, G. Pimentel and G.D. Lewis and that he had stated a cognizable First Amendment claim for injunctive relief against Lewis, in his official capacity. The Court dismissed without leave to amend Taylor's class claims and claims based upon the denial of administrative appeals. The Court dismissed with leave to amend Taylor's Equal Protection claims and First Amendment claims against all defendants other than Milligan, Pimentel and Lewis. The Court allowed Taylor twenty-one days from the date of the Order to file an amended complaint.
On June 5, 2014, the Court received Taylor's Second Amended Complaint ("SAC"), which was docketed on June 25, 2014. Doc. no. 14. The Court now reviews Taylor's SAC to determine if it has remedied the deficiencies noted in the Court's May 15, 2014 Order.
I. First Amendment Claim
The Court dismissed Taylor's First Amendment claim with leave to amend against all defendants other than Milligan, Pimentel and Lewis. The SAC does not include allegations against any other defendant. Therefore, the First Amendment claim against all other defendants is now dismissed without leave to amend.
II. Equal Protection Claim
The Court dismissed Taylor's Equal Protection claim because the allegations did not make clear whether he was claiming discrimination based on his race or his membership in an ideological movement and because his allegations did not indicate that any specific defendant intentionally discriminated against him on either basis.
The SAC alleges the following:
Pelican Bay Warden Lewis has established a policy and practice that bans New Afrikan culture, history, heritage, tradition, custom and identity. This policy and practice discriminates against Taylor based upon his New Afrikan race and culture. The policy claims that Taylor's New Afrikan race and cultural tenets constitute Black Guerrilla Family prison gang activity, but no evidence supports this claim. The discriminatory policy and practice consists of the confiscation of all books, publications and written materials pertaining to the New Afrikan race and cultural tenets.
Pursuant to this policy, Defendants D. Milligan and G. Pimentel conducted a search of Taylor's cell pursuant to a six year review into his status as a member of the Black Guerilla Family and confiscated Taylor's books, manuscripts, pamphlets and other written material related to Taylor's New Afrikan race and cultural tenets. Defendants stated that these writings were gang-related material, but they were not used in validating Taylor as an active member of the Black Guerilla Family.
Liberally construed, the SAC appears to allege an Equal Protection claims for damages against Milligan and Pimentel for discriminating against Taylor by confiscating his New Afrikan written material. Liberally construed, the SAC appear to allege a claim against Warden Lewis, in his individual capacity, for establishing a pattern and practice that violates Taylor's Equal Protection rights to be able to read and express views about his racial and cultural beliefs. Liberally construed, the SAC also appears to state a claim against Warden Lewis, in his official capacity, for establishing a policy and practice that discriminates against Taylor based upon his racial/cultural New Afrikan beliefs and practices.
Based on the foregoing, the Court ...