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Muhammad v. Shafter M.C.C.F.

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 16, 2016

SHAFTER M.C.C.F., et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Maurice Muhammad ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on April 28, 2014.[1] On June 5, 2015, the Court screened the complaint and determined that Plaintiff had failed to state a claim for relief. Plaintiff was granted leave to file an amended complaint. On July 10, 2015, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint. He names Shafter Modified Community Correctional Facility ("MCCF") Counselors Nieto and Weaver as Defendants.


         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.


         Plaintiff is currently housed at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility ("SATF") in Corcoran, California. He was incarcerated at Shafter MCCF and Corcoran SATF when the events giving rise to this action took place.

         Plaintiff alleges the following. On December 19, 2013, Plaintiff was transferred to Shafter MCCF from Folsom Prison. Upon his arrival, Plaintiff discovered that MCCF had no law library. Plaintiff informed Defendants Nieto and Weaver that he had at least seven active cases that he was in the middle of litigating. After filing two CDC-602s which were never signed or returned, Plaintiff was transferred on January 6, 2014, to Corcoran SATF, which had a law library. Prior to his departure, Plaintiff was advised by Defendant Nieto that the transfer was permanent because MCCF did not have a law library, nor were there plans for one to be established in the future.

         After eighteen days at Corcoran SATF, Plaintiff was transferred back to MCCF on January 24, 2014. Plaintiff met with Defendant Nieto on January 28, 2014, whereupon Nieto informed Plaintiff that he was transferred back because they decided that one day MCCF would get a law library, but they did not know when. Plaintiff again stressed to Nieto his urgent need for a law library by showing him court deadlines and paperwork. Nieto advised that he would forward it to his supervisor, Defendant Weaver, and for Plaintiff to be patient. Nieto also advised Plaintiff to take the matter up with Sacramento. The following day, Plaintiff went back to Nieto's office and picked up the unforwarded/unsigned paperwork and took it directly to Defendant Weaver. Weaver stated he thought Plaintiff had finished litigating after which Plaintiff presented him the same documents he had presented to Nieto, with proof of at least another 9 months of potential litigation. Defendant Weaver then stated that Plaintiff was being a "pain in his ass" after which he made copies of the paperwork and added that it was now out of his hands and to get the hell out of his office. Plaintiff asked Weaver to sign the CDCR 22 form and Weaver replied that he wasn't done with it yet and again to get the hell out of his office.

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants' actions caused him to be unable to answer and/or rebut before a February 10, 2014, deadline in his $1, 000, 000 lawsuit. He further claims Nieto and Weaver caused his legal mail to get lost, crossed up or delayed. Plaintiff seeks $175, 000.00 in punitive and monetary damages.

         C. DISCUSSION

         1. Access to the Courts

         Plaintiff has a constitutional right of access to the courts and prison officials may not actively interfere with his right to litigate. Silva v. Di ...

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