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Aguilar v. Ohland

United States District Court, N.D. California

May 1, 2015

ALEXIS AGUILAR, Plaintiff,
v.
K. OHLAND, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS

MARIA-ELENA JAMES, Magistrate Judge.

INTRODUCTION

On February 28, 2014, plaintiff, a California inmate currently incarcerated at the California Correctional Institution and proceeding pro se, filed the above-titled civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Plaintiff's initial complaint was dismissed with leave to amend. Thereafter, the Court determined plaintiff's amended complaint stated a cognizable claim that he was denied due process in connection with a disciplinary hearing held at Pelican Bay State Prison ("PBSP"), where he was previously incarcerated.

Now pending before the Court is defendant's motion to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, on the ground that plaintiff's allegations fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff has filed opposition to the motion to dismiss, and defendant has filed a reply. For the reasons stated below, the motion will be granted.

BACKGROUND

In the amended complaint, plaintiff makes the following allegations:

Plaintiff received a Rules Violation Report at PBSP on July 21, 2013. The Senior Hearing Officer who presided over the hearing on this disciplinary report was defendant Lieutenant K. Ohland. During the hearing, Lieutenant Ohland allegedly denied plaintiff certain procedural protections, including an investigative employee and a staff assistant. Lieutenant Ohland also denied plaintiff all witnesses, and purportedly told him, "I'm gonna find you guilty anyway." Lieutenant Ohland ultimately found plaintiff guilty, and assessed a 90-day loss of good time credits. Plaintiff also lost television privileges for 90 days. Plaintiff requests damages, declaratory relief, and court costs.

DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

Dismissal is proper where the complaint fails to "state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). "While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, ... a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds' of his entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.... Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level..." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007) (citations omitted). A motion to dismiss should be granted if the complaint does not proffer "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570.

The court must accept as true all material allegations in the complaint, but it need not accept as true "legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations if those conclusions cannot reasonably be drawn from the facts alleged." Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754-55 (9th Cir. 1994) (citations omitted). Review is limited to the contents of the complaint, including documents physically attached to the complaint or documents the complaint necessarily relies on and whose authenticity is not contested. Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001). Federal courts are particularly liberal in construing allegations made in pro se civil rights complaints on a defendant's motion to dismiss. See Thompson v. Davis, 295 F.3d 890, 895 (9th Cir. 2002) (citation omitted).

B. Analysis

Defendant argues that because plaintiff lost good time credits as a result of the disciplinary hearing, his due process claim is barred by the Heck-favorable termination rule.[1] Alternatively, defendant argues that the due process claim must be dismissed because plaintiff cannot show that he was subject to a deprivation of "real substance" as required by Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472 (1995).

In his opposition, plaintiff clarifies that his credits have now been restored. Defendant concedes in her reply that the Heck issue is therefore moot. The Court will therefore only address ...


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