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Villapando v. Cdcr

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 7, 2014

CDCR, Defendant.


DENNIS L. BECK, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Richard Villapando ("Plaintiff") is a California state prison inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on May 30, 2014. He names the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") as the sole Defendant.


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 or malicious, " 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).

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 , 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. 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 . (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

Section 1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of Plaintiff's constitutional or other federal rights by persons acting under color of state law. Nurre v. Whitehead , 580 F.3d 1087, 1092 (9th Cir 2009); Long v. County of Los Angeles , 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006); Jones v. Williams , 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). Plaintiff's allegations must link the actions or omissions of each named defendant to a violation of his rights; there is no respondeat superior liability under section 1983. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-77; Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz. , 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-21 (9th Cir. 2010); Ewing v. City of Stockton , 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th Cir. 2009); Jones , 297 F.3d at 934. Plaintiff must present factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service , 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss , 572 F.3d at 969.


Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility ("SATF") in Corcoran, California.

Plaintiff is a Native American inmate who participates in the Native American Spiritual Circle ("NASC"). For decades, these inmates have been permitted to possess items that are essential to their daily cultural, ceremonial and spiritual beliefs and practices.

On October 19, 2012, Kathleen Dickinson, the director of Division of Adult Services, issued a memorandum that proposed a matrix for allowable religious property. The proposed matrix omitted previously approved items essential to the practice of Native American religious beliefs. The memo proposed a one-year "wear-out" period for items not on the list. There was no grandfather clause, even though grandfather-clause protection was offered for inmates who had non-religious items that were no longer approved (i.e., electric typewriters with memory and televisions with speakers).

Plaintiff and other members of the NASC became aware of the memo in April 2013 when the chaplain denied their spiritual package orders. Plaintiff appealed the denial, but it was denied at the third level in October 2013.

As Plaintiff and other inmates were trying to obtain further information about the new proposed rules, they were told that as of October 19, 2013, SATF staff would actively seek out, confiscate and destroy any religious property not included in the matrix. The inmates were also told that staff would target Native American inmates.

Also in April 2013, Plaintiff acquired a copy of the official Notice of Change to Regulations 13-01 ("NCR 13-01"), which had been implemented on February 15, 2013.

On May 27, 2013, Plaintiff submitted an appeal contending that NCR 13-01 was unconstitutional because it did not include a grandfather clause to protect items essential to Native American inmates. The appeal was screened out at the second level as duplicative.

On July 1, 2013, Plaintiff was told that CDCR changed the matrix to include beads and beading materials, but not the leather/hide/skin essential to construct beaded items. It also did not include components such as "earwire" needed to construct traditional earrings, or flutes, rattles and handdrums.

On October 18, 2013, the day before the original "wear-out" period was set to expire, CDCR issued a memo extending the wear-out period for ...

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