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Diaz v. Coles

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 31, 2015

ENRIQUE DIAZ, Plaintiff.
v.
R. COLES, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

DENNIS L. BECK, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Enrique Diaz ("Plaintiff") is a California state prison inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on June 2, 2014. Pursuant to Court order, he filed a First Amended Complaint on November 26, 2014. He names California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility ("CSATF") Assistant Warden S. Sherman, Correctional Lt. R. Coles, Correctional Captain W. Hense and teacher M. Amaral as Defendants.

A. SCREENING 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.

Section 1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of Plaintiff's constitutional or other federal rights by persons acting under color of state law. Nurre v. Whitehead, 580 F.3d 1087, 1092 (9th Cir 2009); Long v. County of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006); Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). Plaintiff's allegations must link the actions or omissions of each named defendant to a violation of his rights; there is no respondeat superior liability under section 1983. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-77; Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-21 (9th Cir. 2010); Ewing v. City of Stockton, 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th Cir. 2009); Jones, 297 F.3d at 934. Plaintiff must present factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; 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, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

B. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad, California. The events at issue occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated at CSATF in Corcoran, California.

Plaintiff states that he is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. He alleges that during his incarceration, Defendant Amaral began to sexually harass him. When Plaintiff refused the advances, Defendant Amaral fabricated a disciplinary report for refusing to follow orders. Plaintiff contends that Defendant Amaral falsely stated that Plaintiff refused to sign a contract.

When Plaintiff received the report, he immediately requested that Defendant Amaral appear as a witness. He also prepared his written statement to defend against the charges.

On March 2, 2005, Defendant Coles conducted the disciplinary hearing. Plaintiff pled not guilty and submitted his written statement explaining that Defendant Amaral, his teacher, had made sexual advances towards him. Plaintiff further explained that when he refused to give in, Defendant Amaral falsified the allegations in the Rule Violation Report ("RVR"). Plaintiff also explained that he was never given a contract to sign, and a contract was not attached to the RVR. Plaintiff also requested the production of the alleged contract, and that Defendant Amaral be produced for questioning.

Defendant Coles denied production of the alleged contract, stating, "You have no rights. Whatever staff tell you to do, you do. Your request is denied." ECF No. 9, at 6. Plaintiff's six questions about sexual harassment directed to Defendant Amaral were not asked.

Defendant Coles accepted the introduction of Plaintiff's written statement, but denied him a fair hearing because he refused to address Plaintiff's "line of defense, that Plaintiff's last TABE test was administered on November 9, 2004." ECF No. 9, at 6. Defendant Amaral stated at the hearing that a TABE test is to be taken every six months.

Defendant Coles found Plaintiff guilty, and assessed 30 days good time credit-forfeiture and 40 hours of extra duty. Plaintiff believes that Defendant Coles refused to incorporate his written statement, denied the production of the contract, denied questions to Defendant Amaral related to sexual harassment, and denied "the plaintiff's plea of not guilty when plaintiff stated the RVR allegations were false." ECF No. 9, at 6. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant Coles denied a fair hearing "because she herself alone conducted an investigation after the hearing and pulled the Plaintiff's central files to address Plaintiff's questions at the hearing, ...


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