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Goolsby v. Holland

United States District Court, E.D. California

October 8, 2014

THOMAS GOOLSBY, Plaintiff,
v.
KIMBERLY HOLLAND, et al., Defendant.

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT AND RECONSIDERATION AS MOOT (ECF No. 9) ORDER DISMISSING CERTAIN DEFENDANTS, FINDING SERVICE OF COMPLAINT APPROPRIATE, AND FORWARDING SERVICE DOCUMENTS TO PLAINTIFF FOR COMPLETION AND RETURN WITHIN THIRTY DAYS (ECF No. 10)

BARBARA A. McAULIFFE, Magistrate Judge.

I. Motion to Amend Complaint and Reconsideration

Plaintiff Thomas Goolsby ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On June 11, 2014, the Court screened Plaintiff's complaint and found that it stated a cognizable retaliation claim against Defendant Holland, but failed to state any other cognizable claims. The Court directed Plaintiff to either file a first amended complaint or notify the Court in writing that he wished to proceed on the cognizable retaliation claim against Defendant Holland. (ECF No. 8.)

On June 23, 2014, Plaintiff filed the instant motion to amend the complaint and to seek reconsideration of the Court's screening order related to his property. (ECF No. 9.) On the same date, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint. (ECF No. 10.)

As the Court granted Plaintiff leave to amend, his request to amend the complaint is unnecessary and shall be denied. To the extent Plaintiff seeks reconsideration of the Court's screening order, such a request is moot. Plaintiff has filed an amended complaint, which supercedes the original complaint. Lacey v. Maricopa Cnty. , 693 F.3d 896, 927 (9th Cir. 2012) (en banc). The Court will therefore screen Plaintiff's amended complaint. If Plaintiff disagrees with the Court's screening of the first amended complaint, then he may, as appropriate and necessary, seek reconsideration.

For these reasons, Plaintiff's motion to amend and for reconsideration is DENIED as moot.

II. Screening Requirement and Standard

Plaintiff's first amended complaint, filed on June 24, 2014, is currently before the Court for screening. The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

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)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, courts "are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences." Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor. Hebbe v. Pliler , 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted). To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged, Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. United States Secret Service , 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss , 572 F.3d at 969.

III. Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff is currently housed at Pelican Bay State Prison. The events in his complaint are alleged to have occurred while Plaintiff was housed at the California Correctional Institution ("CCI"). Plaintiff sues the following defendants: (1) Warden Kimberly Holland, (2) Correctional Officer Bowen; (3) Correctional Officer Estrada; (4) Correctional Officer E. Stelter; and (5) Correctional Captain Matzen. Plaintiff sues Defendants Holland, E. Stelter and Matzen in their official and personal capacities. Plaintiff sues Defendants Bowen and Estrada in their personal capacities.

Count 1:

In September 2009, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against CCI's warden and prison officials based on denial of out-of-cell exercise in CCI's SHU. In November 2011, Plaintiff settled the case to his monetary advantage and forced prison officials to build seventy-two (72) new yard cages. Plaintiff alleges that this angered CCI officials, including Defendant Holland, and during the course of the litigation he suffered several retaliatory acts.

In October 2011, Plaintiff appeared before the Inmate Classification Committee ("ICC"). At that time, Plaintiff's prison gang validations were reviewed and ICC elected to place Plaintiff on a 36-month determinate SHU term based on a rule violation. The ICC requested that Plaintiff be endorsed to CCI SHU to complete his SHU term. A Classification Staff Representative endorsed Plaintiff to CCI SHU to complete his term, ruling that the CCI SHU was the appropriate prison to house Plaintiff based on his case factors.

One month later, in November 2011, after Plaintiff successfully settled his lawsuit, Defendant Holland became upset and hostile. The Receiving & Release ("R&R") Officer told Plaintiff, "Watch out Holland is pissed you won your lawsuit. She is telling everybody she is going to get her payback against you." (ECF No. 10, p. 8.)

In December 2011, Plaintiff's floor officer warned him to be careful because Holland was looking for a way to make him pay. In late December 2011, the legal officer in the law library, correctional officer Grant, told Plaintiff, "Hey heads up, Holland called me asking what legal actions you have going on. She said she is going to send you to the bay. She said she wants to send a message and warn all the jailhouse lawyers that if they sue CCI they'll be gotten rid of and sent far away from their families." (ECF No. 10, p. 9.)

In January 2012, ICC reviewed Plaintiff's case without him being present. The ICC hearing was unnecessary and not scheduled to happen for six more months. The ICC revoked its prior decision and Plaintiff was put up for transfer to PBSP at the direction of Warden Holland. Plaintiff's counselor, Carter, was at the ICC.

Plaintiff did not learn of the revocation until he received a copy of his 128-G, which is a record of ICC's actions. Plaintiff immediately asked Carter why he was being transferred to the bay. Carter said, "Holland is sick of your legal bullshit and told us to get rid of you. So we did." Plaintiff responded, "There is no legitimate reason to transfer me, I JUST went to ICC and was endorsed to CCI-SHU based on my case factors!" Carter said, "I know, I read your file, but the warden wants this, so it's happening. She has talked to CSR, it's a done deal. Look you have no one to blame but yourself. You sued them about the yard, they warned you to drop it, you didn't, Then you settled and made them spend all that money to build all those cages, what did you expect? She hates you." (ECF No. 10, p. 9.)

On January 31, 2012, IGI Officer Chris Eubanks came to Plaintiff's cell. Plaintiff asked Eubanks if he knew anything about Plaintiff's transfer. Eubanks said, "It's not us doing it, we[]re fine with you being here. But I talked to Holland about you and she's dead set on getting rid of you. Now that she's Warden she's getting her payback for your lawsuit." Plaintiff told Eubanks that he would not be able to get visits in the bay. Eubanks stated, "I ...


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