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Perrotte v. Johnson

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 13, 2015

JEFFREY P. PERROTTE, Plaintiff,
v.
STACEY JOHNSON, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT OR NOTIFY THE COURT OF HIS INTENT TO PROCEED ON THE CLAIM FOUND TO BE COGNIZABLE [ECF No. 1]

STANLEY A. BOONE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Jeffrey P. Perrotte is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Plaintiff filed the instant complaint on January 7, 2015. (ECF No. 1.)

I.

SCREENING REQUIREMENT

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 "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, " or that "seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

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 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must demonstrate that each named defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-677; Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-1021 (9th Cir. 2010).

Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are still entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor, but the pleading standard is now higher, Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted), and 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 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The "sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully" is not sufficient, and "facts that are merely consistent with' a defendant's liability" falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II.

COMPLAINT ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff names Jean Leflore, Stacey Johnson, Cindy Hebron, Kathleen Allison and Does 1 through 10 as Defendants in this action.

Plaintiff contends that Defendants engaged in retaliation for Plaintiff exercising his First Amendment rights to file grievances.

In May 2008, Plaintiff interviewed with Defendants Hebron, Leflore and Johnson for a mentor position with Walden House at California Substance Abuse and Treatment Facility (CSATF). Plaintiff was questioned regarding the number of prison grievances and lawsuits he filed in the past against prison staff. He was informed that if selected as a mentor candidate at the Walden House, he would be expected to use different methods in resolving any grievances other than the standard 602 inmate grievance procedure.

In October 2008, Plaintiff was called to the Facility Program Office where he was interviewed by Defendants Hebron, Leflore and Johnson. Plaintiff was questioned again about his history of filing grievances and in assisting other inmates in accessing the courts. Plaintiff was asked about a recent inmate grievance he filed regarding placement in a janitorial vocational training program and if he would be willing to refrain from filing grievances if he were accepted into the mentor program.

In November 2008, Plaintiff was accepted into the Walden House Substance Abuse Treatment Program as a mentor candidate. During orientation, Plaintiff was taught the tools of a therapeutic community and the family values of Walden House. During the mentor meetings, it was stressed to Plaintiff that grievances were to be resolved using the tools of the Walden House.

In August 2009, Plaintiff was called to the supervising counselor's office and Defendants Hebron, Johnson and Leflore were furious and yelled at Plaintiff regarding an article that had been published on July 22, 2009, in numerous newspapers which was critical of the Warden and the policies at SATF. Defendants called Plaintiff a liar for not mentioning the article (which had been submitted prior to interviewing for the mentor program) that violated the "family values" of the Walden house. A couple hours later, Plaintiff was "grouped" by all the mentors for writing the article and violating Walden House "family values" and was placed on therapeutic contract with the mentors. Plaintiff had to apologize to Defendants, give seminars to core groups, give seminars to resident clusters on trust, prepare a presentation to the mentors on trust, clean showers, and restrain from any mentor activities for thirty days. Plaintiff was also removed from the band program and cluster responsibilities by his supervising mentor, Senior Mentor John Ray.

Plaintiff began receiving many complaints from residents regarding inappropriate conduct by Defendant Johnson during group sessions. Plaintiff requested a meeting with Defendant Johnson to address the concerns. The meeting took place in September 2009, in Johnson's office and Plaintiff was informed, "You represent Walden House, not the residents. Your job is to put any complaints about me to rest, not stir the pot. My expectation is that you will do your job. Don't bring these complaints to me again." Plaintiff contacted Defendant Leflore on the yard and told him about the complaints and Defendant Johnson's response to Plaintiff. Defendant Leflore told Plaintiff that Johnson was correct and that our role as mentors was to protect Walden House from any scrutiny by the prison administration.

In September 2009, during the union of body and mind event, Plaintiff was confronted by Defendant Johnson in the presence of Senior Mentor John Ray. Johnson was furious that Plaintiff had switched microphones prior to making announcements and prior to performing. Defendant accused Plaintiff of being a racist and stormed away.

Plaintiff was informed by Senior Mentor Ray the following day that Defendant Johnson had discovered that Plaintiff was assisting some residents in filing complaints against her and wanted to get rid of Plaintiff. Senior Mentor Ray also indicated that Defendants Johnson, Leflore and Hebron were afraid that Plaintiff was going to author an additional newspaper article that was critical of their behavior towards residents and critical of the drug program at the prison. Senior Mentor Ray informed Plaintiff that assisting residents had to come to an end or he would not be able to protect Plaintiff from Defendants.

In February 2010, Plaintiff was threatened by Defendants Johnson and Leflore about assisting residents in filing grievances and petitions in the court. Plaintiff was instructed to cease these activities immediately.

In March 2010, Plaintiff was informed by Walden House Provider, Sue Rudd, that Defendants Johnson and Leflore had asked her to lie regarding Plaintiff's work in the cluster to justify firing Plaintiff and removing him from the program.

In July 2010, Plaintiff was told by Senior Mentor G. Scott Holland that Defendant Johnson was "dead-set" on causing Plaintiff harm for helping residents file grievances against her. Holland bragged that he was having a relationship with Defendant Johnson.

In August 2010, Plaintiff requested a meeting with Defendants Johnson, Leflore and Hebron. Plaintiff informed Defendants of the complaints by residents regarding Johnson's conduct and Leflore's unwillingness to address the behavior as Program Director. Plaintiff requested Defendant Hebron, as the Warden's liaison to Walden House, do something about it. Defendants began yelling and screaming at Plaintiff that he was just an inmate and would not dictate anything to them. Plaintiff was warned that if any grievances were filed by Plaintiff, they would take adverse actions against Plaintiff. Defendant Hebron stated, "You agreed not to file grievances if you were accepted into Walden House Mr. Perrotte. If you cannot abide by these rules, you will be sent back to B-Yard." It should be noted, White or Hispanic inmates who were sent back to B-Yard were assaulted by the inmates there for agreeing to inter-racial bunk. Defendants were aware of this and utilized this as a significant threat for residents.

In September 2010, Plaintiff received state certification as an alcohol and drug counselor and requested his pay be adjusted to be paid equivalent to other mentors who had received state certification. The request was denied.

On October 23, 2010, Plaintiff filed a CDCR-602 inmate appeal challenging the pay scale and mentor program. The appeal was assigned to Defendant Leflore who refused to answer the appeal. Plaintiff forwarded a request to prison administration to compel Defendant Leflore to answer the appeal which infuriated Defendant who contacted Plaintiff on the yard and threatened that "your days here are numbered."

On approximately November 1, 2010, Plaintiff was paged to an "emergency" mentor meeting. The mentors present indicated that Defendants Hebron, Leflore and Johnson had requested they "group" Plaintiff regarding the latest grievance and for violating the concepts of "family value." Plaintiff was placed on contract ...


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