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K'Napp v. Adams

United States District Court, E.D. California

October 6, 2014

ERIC CHARLES RODNEY K'NAPP, Plaintiff,
v.
D. G. ADAMS, et al., Defendants.

ORDER ADDRESSING PLAINTIFF'S RULE 36(a)(6) MOTION (Doc. 131.) ORDER FINDING DEFENDANTS' OBJECTIONS AND RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFF'S FOURTH REQUEST FOR ADMISSIONS TO BE SUFFICIENT

GARY S. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.

I. BACKGROUND

Eric Charles Rodney K'napp ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Plaintiff filed the Complaint commencing this action on November 22, 2006. (Doc. 1.) This action now proceeds on the Second Amended Complaint filed by Plaintiff on November 13, 2008, against defendants Warden Derral G. Adams, Lieutenant ("Lt.") E. Smith, Lt. J. T. Tucker, Associate Warden S. Sherman, and D. Selvy (Classification Services Representative), for retaliating against Plaintiff by confining him in Ad-Seg under false pretenses and transferring him to another prison, and against defendants K. Motty, Sgt. C. Pugliese, Lt. Smith, R. Guerrero, Appeals Coordinator Cooper, Appeals Coordinator V. R. Garcia, Appeals Coordinator R. Hall, and Does 1-5 (Mailroom Workers) for interfering with his right to send mail in violation of the First Amendment.[1] (Doc. 16.)

The discovery phase for this action concluded on August 15, 2014. (Doc. 128.) On August 15, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion for the court to determine the sufficiency of Defendants' objections and answers to Plaintiff's Fourth set of Requests for Admissions. (Doc. 131.) Defendants have not filed a response to the motion.

II. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS AND CLAIMS

The acts Plaintiff complains of in the Second Amended Complaint allegedly occurred at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison ("SATF") in Corcoran, California, while Plaintiff was housed there for approximately five months from March 18, 2005 to August 23, 2005. (Doc. 16 at 8:4-9). Plaintiff now proceeds on two claims: interference with outgoing mail and retaliation.

Outgoing Mail

In his first claim, Plaintiff alleges a series of events wherein defendants Appeals Coordinators (C. L. Cooper, V. R. Garcia, and R. Hall), Mailroom Workers (K. Motty, R. Guerrero and Does 1-5), Sergeant Pugliese, and Lieutenant E. Smith variously delayed his outgoing mail due to issues of Plaintiff's compliance with indigent mailing requirements or regulations. (2d Amd Cmp, Doc. 16 at 21-42.)

Prisoners have "a First Amendment right to send and receive mail." Witherow v. Paff , 52 F.3d 264, 265 (9th Cir. 1995). Challenges to prison restrictions that are asserted to inhibit First Amendment interests must be analyzed in terms of the legitimate policies and goals of the corrections system. Pell v. Procunier , 417 U.S. 817 (1974). Censorship of outgoing prisoner mail is justified if the following criteria are met: (1) the regulation furthers "an important or substantial government interest unrelated to the suppression of expression" and (2) "the limitation on First Amendment freedoms must be no greater than is necessary or essential to the protection of the particular governmental interest involved." Procunier v. Martinez , 416 U.S. 396, 413 (1974) (overturned by Thornburgh v. Abbott , 490 U.S. 401, 413-14 (1989) only as test relates to incoming mail - Turner test applies to incoming mail).

Retaliation

In his second claim, Plaintiff alleges that defendants Warden Derral G. Adams, Associate Warden S. Sherman, Lt. E. Smith, Lt. J. T. Tucker, and Classification Services Representative D. Selvy retaliated against Plaintiff for his filing of inmate appeals by confining him in Ad-Seg under false pretenses and transferring him to another prison. (2d Amd Cmp at 52-53).

"Within the prison context, a viable claim of First Amendment retaliation entails five basic elements: (1) An assertion that a state actor took some adverse action against an inmate (2) because of (3) that prisoner's protected conduct, and that such action (4) chilled the inmate's exercise of his First Amendment rights, and (5) the action did not reasonably advance a legitimate correctional goal." Rhodes v. Robinson , 408 F.3d 559, 567-68 (9th Cir. 2005). An allegation of retaliation against a prisoner's First Amendment right to file a prison grievance is sufficient to support a claim under section 1983. Bruce v. Ylst , 351 F.3d 1283, 1288 (9th Cir. 2003).

III. LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Rule 26(b)(1) - Scope of ...


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