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Solares v. Spearman

United States District Court, N.D. California

August 11, 2015

M.E. SPEARMAN, Defendant.


RONALD M. WHYTE, District Judge.

Plaintiff, a California state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis is granted in a separate order. For the reasons stated below, the court dismisses the complaint for failure to state a claim.


A. Standard of Review

A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See id. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must, however, be liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).

To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

B. Plaintiff's Claims

In plaintiff's complaint, he alleges that he was removed from general population and placed in administrative segregation. During that time, plaintiff's property was stored for him, and when plaintiff returned to general population, plaintiff received his property. Upon receipt, however, plaintiff noticed that several items were missing. For example, plaintiff's wedding band, a compact disc player, headphones, a digital television, and other items. Plaintiff has requested the return of this property, but the prison refuses to respond. Plaintiff claims that the Warden violated state regulations, and is responsible for compensating plaintiff.

Ordinarily, due process of law requires notice and an opportunity for some kind of hearing prior to the deprivation of a significant property interest. See Memphis Light, Gas & Water Div. v. Craft, 436 U.S. 1, 19 (1978). However, neither the negligent nor intentional deprivation of property states a due process claim under Section 1983 if the deprivation was random and unauthorized. See Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535-44 (1981) (state employee negligently lost prisoner's hobby kit), overruled in part on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330-31 (1986); Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984) (intentional destruction of inmate's property). Rather, the availability of an adequate state post-deprivation remedy, e.g., a state tort action, precludes relief because it provides sufficient procedural due process. See Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113, 128 (1990) (where state cannot foresee, and therefore provide meaningful hearing prior to, deprivation statutory provision for post-deprivation hearing or common law tort remedy for erroneous deprivation satisfies due process); King v. Massarweh, 782 F.2d 825, 826 (9th Cir. 1986) (same). California law provides such an adequate post-deprivation remedy. See Barnett v. Centoni, 31 F.3d 813, 816-17 (9th Cir. 1994) (citing Cal. Gov't Code §§ 810-895).

Accordingly, plaintiff's allegations are insufficient to state a federal constitutional claim.


This action is DISMISSED with prejudice for failure to state a claim because no amount of amendment would cure the deficiencies of the complaint. The Clerk shall enter judgment and close the file.


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