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Fishman v. CDCR

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 5, 2014

UDI FISHMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CDCR, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND GRANTING PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT

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. Plaintiff has consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).[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).

"Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions, " none of which applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A. , 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Pursuant to Rule 8(a), 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). "Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkiewicz , 534 U.S. at 512. However, "the liberal pleading standard... applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations." Neitze v. Williams , 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). "[A] liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled." Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin. , 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents , 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)).

II. Plaintiff's Claims

Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) at the Shafter Community Correctional Facility, brings this civil rights action against defendant CDCR and the State of California. Plaintiff claims that his civil rights were violated when he was transferred to Shafter from CSP Solano. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he was transferred involuntarily to a facility with inadequate law library facilities.

Plaintiff alleges that at Shafter, inmates are not provided regular access to the law library, and that Shafter "does not provide inmates in a timely way to receive legal forms and instructions that allow petitioner timely access to the courts." Plaintiff also alleges that the transfer to Shafter from Solano places an undue burden and hardship on him, as he is now located further from "his home, work and community." The transfer to Shafter also results in placement in a facility that does not allow inmates access to scheduled family visits.

Under section 1983, Plaintiff must link the named defendants to the participation in the violation at issue. Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 676-77 (2009); Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz. , 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-21 (9th Cir. 2010). Liability may not be imposed under a theory of respondeat superior, and there must exist come causal connection between the conduct of each named defendant and the violation at issue. Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 676-77; Lemire v. California Dep't of Corr. and Rehab. , 726 F.3d 1062, 1074-75 (9th Cir. 2013); Starr v. Baca , 652 F.3d 1202, 1205-08 (9th Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 132 S.Ct. 2101 (2012).

A. Eleventh Amendment

The Court notes that Plaintiff does not identify any individual defendants. The only defendants are the State of California and the CDCR. "The Eleventh Amendment prohibits federal courts from hearing suits brought against an unconsenting state. Though its language might suggest otherwise, the Eleventh Amendment has long been construed to extend to suits brought against a state both by its own citizens, as well as by citizens of other states." Brooks v. Sulphur Springs Valley Elec. Coop. , 951 F.2d 1050, 1053 (9th Cir. 1991); see also Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida , 517 U.S. 44 (1996); Puerto Rico Aqueduct Sewer Authority v. Metcalf & Eddy, Inc. , 506 U.S. 139, 144 (1993); Austin v. State Indus. Ins. Sys. , 939 F.2d 676, 677 (9th Cir. 1991).

The Eleventh Amendment bars suits against state agencies as well as those where the state itself is named as a defendant. See Natural Resources Defense Council v. California Department of Transportation , 96 F.3d 420, 421 (9th Cir. 1996); Brooks , 951 F.2d at 1053; Taylor v. List , 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989) (concluding that Nevada Department of Prisons was a state agency entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity); Mitchell v. Los Angeles Community College District , 861 F.2d 198, 201 (9th Cir. 1989). The State of California is immune from suit, and the CDCR, an agency of the State of California, is also immune from suit.

B. Transfer

Prisoners have no liberty interest in being housed at a particular institution. Olim v. Wakinekona , 461 U.S. 238, 245 (1983); Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215 , 225-27 (1976); United States v. Brown , 59 F.3d 102, 105 (9th Cir. 1991)(per curiam); Johnson v. Moore , 948 F.2d 517, 519 (9th Cir. 1991)(per curiam); Coakley v. Murphy , 884 F.2d 1218, 1221 (9th ...


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