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Cejas v. Myers

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 13, 2014

ANDREW A. CEJAS, Plaintiff,
v.
W.K. MYERS, et al., Defendants.

ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS, AND DENYING MOTION FOR MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT AS MOOT (Document 44)

ANTHONY W. ISHII, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff Andrew Cejas ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1983. This action is proceeding on Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint for violation of the First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA") against Defendants Yates, Walker, Myers, McGee, Fisher, Trimble, Foston, Van Leer and Pimentel.

On March 28, 2014, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss and motion for more definite statement. The matters were referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.

On September 10, 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued Findings and Recommendations that Defendants' motion to dismiss be granted in part and denied in part, and Defendants' motion for more definite statement be denied as moot. The Findings and Recommendations were served on the parties and contained notice that any objections were to be filed within thirty (30) days. Plaintiff filed objections on October 14, 2014. Defendants filed a response on October 27, 2014.

In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C), this Court has conducted a de novo review of this case. Having carefully reviewed the entire file, including Plaintiff's objections and Defendants' response, the Court finds that the Findings and Recommendations are supported by the record and by proper analysis.

Plaintiff presents no arguments to warrant departure from the Magistrate Judge's findings. Plaintiff admits that his RLUIPA claim is barred, but he asks that he be able to present the claim to the Court "when the law changes." ECF No. 46, at 1. This Court is bound by the current law, not what the law may be in the future.

Plaintiff also takes issue with the Magistrate Judge's refusal to consider the documents attached to his opposition. However, the Magistrate Judge correctly determined that documents that go beyond the face of the complaint are not properly considered in a 12(b)(6) motion.

Finally, Plaintiff objects to the finding that Defendant Yates is entitled to qualified immunity because his involvement was based solely on the promulgation and enforcement of a policy. Plaintiff suggests that because Defendant Yates is African-American, he favored Muslims because most Muslims are African-American. Plaintiff's apparent attempt to bring Defendant Yates into his Equal Protection claim is speculative and unsupported by any factual allegations.

The Magistrate Judge recommended that Plaintiff be granted leave to amend his First Amendment and Equal Protection claim. In addition to his objections, Plaintiff lodged a Third Amended Complaint. Defendants object to the filing on numerous grounds, including Plaintiff's failure to abide by the guidelines set out in the Findings and Recommendations. The Court will not order that the lodged Third Amended Complaint be filed because it was submitted prior to the adoption of the Findings and Recommendations. Plaintiff is advised, however, that his amended complaint must comply with the requirements set forth in the Findings and Recommendations. The Court will screen Plaintiff's amended complaint and dismiss it, without leave to amend, if it does not comply with the Court's instructions. Defendants need not file a responsive pleading unless and until the Court finds that Plaintiff states a claim for which relief may be granted.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiff's RLUIPA claim is DISMISSED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND;

2. Plaintiff's claims against Defendants in their official capacity are DISMISSED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND;

3. Defendants Yates and Walker are entitled to qualified immunity and are DISMISSED FROM THIS ACTION;

4. Plaintiff's First Amendment claim and Equal Protection Claim are DISMISSED WITH LEAVE TO AMEND; and

5. Plaintiff is permitted to file an amended complaint, in accordance with the requirements set forth in the Findings and Recommendations, within thirty (30) days of the date of service of this order.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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