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Sexton v. Gipson

United States District Court, E.D. California

August 22, 2014

STEVEN A. SEXTON, Plaintiff,
v.
CONNIE GIPSON, et al., Defendants.

ORDER REQUIRING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT OR NOTIFY COURT OF WILLINGESS TO PROCEED ONLY ON CLAIMS FOUND TO BE COGNIZABLE

GARY S. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

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).

II. Plaintiff's Claims

A. Summary of Complaint

Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) at Corcoran State Prison, brings this action against defendant correctional officials employed by the CDCR at Corcoran. Plaintiff names the following individual defendants: Warden Connie Gipson; Sergeant Gonzalez; Correctional Officer (C/O) Guzman; C/O Johnson; C/O Nolan; C/O Castro. Plaintiff's claims stem from an incident on August 20, 2013. Plaintiff's statement of claim, in its entirety, follows:

On 8-20-13 I was harshly slammed in a corner head first by C/O Castro, not resisting from a fight I had with a inmate C/O Castro was wrong and I have head akes [sic] from that on 12-9-13 C/O Guzman & C/O Hoo came in my cell and took and destroyed my property family pictures, broke my Walkman & TV all of these C/O are in cohus [sic] and are very corrupt here at Corcoran State Prison mentally and physically

B. Excessive Force

The unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain violates the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment. Hudson v. McMillian , 503 U.S. 1, 5, 112 S.Ct. 995 (1992) (citations omitted). For claims of excessive physical force, the issue is "whether force was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, or maliciously and sadistically to cause harm." Hudson , 503 U.S. at 7. Although de minimis uses of force do not violate the Constitution, the malicious and sadistic use of force to cause harm always violates the Eighth Amendment, regardless of whether or not significant injury is evident. Id. at 9-10; see also Oliver v. Keller , 289 F.3d 623, 628 (9th Cir. 2002) (Eighth Amendment excessive force standard examines de minimis uses of force, not de minimis injuries)).

Plaintiff's allegations describing the incident of physical force on August 20, 2013, are sufficient to give rise to a claim for relief against Defendant Castro.

C. Personal Property

Prisoners have a protected interest in their personal property. Hansen v. May , 502 F.2d 728, 730 (9th Cir. 1974). However, while an authorized, intentional deprivation of property is actionable under the Due Process Clause, see Hudson v. Palmer , 468 U.S. 517, 532, n.13 (1984)(citing Logan v. Zimmerman Brush Co. , 455 U.S. 435-36 (1982)); Quick v. Jones , 754 F.2d 1521, 1524 (9th Cir. 1985), "[a]n unauthorized intentional deprivation of property by a state employee does not constitute a violation of the procedural requirements of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment if a meaningful post-deprivation remedy for the loss is available." Hudson , 468 U.S. at 533. Further, ...


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