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Butler v. Gipson

United States District Court, E.D. California

October 17, 2014

RONALD BUTLER, Plaintiff,
v.
CONNIE GIPSON, et al., Defendants.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM

DENNIS L. BECK, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Ronald Butler ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action. He filed this action on November 4, 2013. Pursuant to Court order, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC") on April 14, 2014. He names Corcoran State Prison ("CSP") Warden Connie Gipson, Deputy Warden D. Leon, Captain T. Variz, Counselors Smith and Belnap and Lieutenant John Doe #1 as Defendants.

A. LEGAL STANDARD

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).

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 , 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Id . (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

Plaintiff must also demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Id. at 1949. This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service , 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50; Moss , 572 F.3d at 969.

B. SUMMARY OF PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at CSP, where the events at issue occurred.

Plaintiff alleges that on October 3, 2011, he was violently assaulted by Inmate Curtis in Facility 3B. Plaintiff defended himself and received a Serious Rules Violation Report ("RVR") for Fighting with an Inmate.

On October 7, 2011, Plaintiff was placed in Administrative Segregation ("Ad-Seg") after he was assaulted by Inmate Curtis a second time. Three other inmates participated in the assault.

After the assaults, Facility 3B staff generated a confidential memorandum noting enemy concerns between Plaintiff and Inmate Curtis. Plaintiff contends that the memo gave notice to all staff of Plaintiff's enemy concerns.

On October 12, 2011, Defendants Leon, Variz and Belnap, the Facility 3A Institutional Classification Committee ("ICC"), decided to release Plaintiff from Ad-Seg to Facility 3A General Population. Inmate Curtis was documented as a "keep away inmate enemy." ECF No. 8, at 5.

When Plaintiff arrived at Facility 3A, he was placed on orientation status for ten days. After ten days, he was cleared for General Population program, "due to no current enemy concerns through 3AOS Unit Classification (UCC) members Defendants T. Variz (Cpt), Lieutenant John Doe #1 and (CCI) Smith." ECF No. 8, at 5.

On April 26, 2012, while Plaintiff was walking across the Facility 3A baseball field, he was sucker-punched and assaulted by Inmate Curtis. Plaintiff states that he did not see Inmate Curtis approaching from the rear. Plaintiff tried to fend off the attack and was able to somewhat regain ...


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