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Turner v. Muniz

United States District Court, N.D. California

October 7, 2014

MUNIZ, et al., Defendants.


JEFFREY S. WHITE, District Judge.


Anthony R. Turner, a prisoner of the State of California, filed this pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on behalf of a class of other inmates. For the reasons discussed below, the complaint is dismissed without prejudice. The application to proceed in forma pauperis is granted in a separate order.


Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." "Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only "give the defendant fair notice of what the.... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests."'" Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (citations omitted). Although in order to state a claim a complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations, ... a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.... Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer "enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 1974. Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. 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 alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).


This case may not proceed as a class action. Pro se prisoner plaintiffs are not adequate class representatives able to fairly represent and adequately protect the interests of the class. Oxendine v. Williams, 509 F.2d 1405, 1407 (4th Cir. 1975); see also Russell v. United States, 308 F.2d 78, 79 (9th Cir. 1962) ("a litigant appearing in propria persona has no authority to represent anyone other than himself"). Consequently, the claims that Defendants, officials at Salinas Valley State Prison, are violating the rights of the class of the inmates at that institution by denying them adequate medical care, law library access, office supplies and photocopies, communication with family members, and safety and protection, are dismissed.

Furthermore, Turner claims that Defendants are violating orders in various class actions. The complaint seeks an order holding Defendants in contempt and enjoining them from violating such orders, as well as money damages. An individual suit for injunctive and equitable relief from allegedly unconstitutional prison conditions may be dismissed when it duplicates an existing class action's allegations and prayer for relief. See Pride v. Correa, 719 F.3d 1130, 1133 (9th Cir. 2013). To the extent Turner seeks relief based upon the violation of orders issued in other cases, he must do so in those cases, not in a separate action of his own. Turner also presents claims that Defendants are improperly processing administrative appeals. Such claims are not cognizable under Section 1983 because there is no constitutional right to a prison administrative appeal or grievance system. See Ramirez v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 860 (9th Cir. 2003).

Plaintiff may not bring a class action, enforce orders from other cases in a separate case of his own, obtain declaratory or injunctive relief on the basis of claims covered in pending in pending class actions, or bring claims based on improper processing of administrative appeals. Accordingly, the instant case is dismissed without prejudice to Plaintiff bringing claims on his own behalf, claims for money damages, or claims injunctive or other equitable relief to the extent they are not covered by a pending class action. He


For the reasons set out above, this action is DISMISSED without prejudice. In light of the separate order granting him leave to proceed in forma pauperis, Plaintiff's motion for Court intervention in prison officials' releasing trust account information is DENIED as unnecessary.

The Clerk shall close the file and ...

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