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Hall v. Pelican Bay State Prison

United States District Court, N.D. California

September 3, 2014

TERRELL D. HALL, Plaintiff,
PELICAN BAY STATE PRISON; et al., Defendants.


SUSAN ILLSTON, District Judge.


Terrell D. Hall, an inmate at the California State Prison - Sacramento, filed a pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and later filed an amended complaint. His amended complaint is now before the court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.


In his amended complaint, [1] Hall alleges the following about conditions at Pelican Bay State Prison, where he was incarcerated last year:

From May 10 - June 10, 2013, he was fed "half portions and [his] food was spit in and looked as it was microwaved in the food at times." Docket #14 at 3 (errors in source). He wrote an inmate appeal about the matter. His inmate appeal suggests he did not see anyone spit in it and instead merely assumes it was spit in because it had a glossy or moist appearance. See Docket #14-1 at 13; id. at 15 ("my food looks glossy like it been spat in"). According to the prison officials' response to the inmate appeal, no one had spat in the food, and the glossy appearance was due to contents and cooking techniques (e.g., food with cornstarch sauce has a glossy appearance, and food with fat on surface has a glossy appearance). See id. at 7, 16. They also responded that the prison had a standardized menu with nutritionally adequate meals, and that plaintiff should follow the established procedure and talk to the floor officer at the meal time to have his food tray checked and get any food problems resolved then. See id. at 7, 10.

Plaintiff also alleges that he was subjected to retaliation, possibly by prisoners. He provides no understandable details regarding retaliation. See Docket #14 at 3.

Plaintiff next alleges that several correctional officers slandered him by telling other inmates that he said he was homosexual, was watching the other men and wanted to look like a girl. Docket #14 at 4. Correctional officers allegedly put "homo-perferred hormone pills in [his] food" and gave him a "homo perferred hormone shot." Id. (errors in source).[2] He further alleges that someone must have given him shots during the middle of the night because he had needle marks on his body but did not use needles. Id. [3] He allegedly received 4 Nutrens (a nutritional supplement drink) a day "out of nowhere" from a doctor. Id. at 5. A "psych" doctor allegedly told him he was delusional when he told the doctor of his litigation activity, his food concerns and the rumors of him being homosexual. Id. Plaintiff allegedly asked to be removed from the mental health care program. Id. Plaintiff allegedly asked for "a blood test to see what type of unusual stuff (as in homo perferred hormones which [he] never asked or signed for at no point coming through the prison or jail system) was in [his] blood." Id. at 7 (errors in source). His blood allegedly was tested "for some other stuff and not what [he] asked for." Id.

Plaintiff alleges that officers "corrupted" his legal mail by opening, reading and rewriting it. Id. at 6. This he apparently inferred from the fact that someone didn't receive a piece of mail he sent. (His other allegations on this point are too confusing to understand.)

Plaintiff has filed similar claims in the past. In Hall v. San Joaquin County Jail, he alleged that jail officials spit in his food and served him reduced or altered portions of food which caused him to suffer weight loss. See Hall v. San Joaquin County Jail, E. D. Cal. Case No. 2:13-cv-324 AC, Docket #63-1 at 6. He also alleged that jail officials had told other inmates that he was homosexual and "had tits, '" Id., Docket #24 at 3. In another action, plaintiff alleged that on the day he arrived at Deuel Vocational Institution, he received a shot that was supposed to be for hepatitis but that instead caused him "to experience[] various changes in his body (deformations') that only gay men supposedly exhibit." See Hall v. Deuel Vocational Institution, E. D. Cal. Case No. 2:13-cv-746 DAD, Docket #19 at 3. He further alleged in that action that prison officials at DVI spread rumors about him being homosexual, and "served him food with half portions and/or spit in his food." Id. In yet another action, plaintiff claimed that he received a hormone shot instead of a hepatitis shot, causing his body to go "through numerous changes and he is not gaining weight, " which caused him to be labelled a homosexual. Hall v. Deuel Vocational Institution, E. D. Cal. Case No. 2:13-cv-1890 JAM, Docket #9 at 2.


A federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 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. See id. at § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated and (2) that the violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

A complaint "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'... 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.... The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.... Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (citation omitted). When a plaintiff seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, the court can "dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless, '" such as "claims describing fantastic or delusional scenarios.'" Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992) (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989)); see also id. ...

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