United States District Court, E.D. California
(1) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO CORRECT HIS
OPPOSITION; (2) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO FILE AN
AMENDED COMPLAINT; (3) DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO ASSIGN A
DISTRICT JUDGE TO THIS CASE; AND FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATION TO
GRANT IN PART AND DENY IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
DISMISS (ECF Nos. 26, 32, 33)
MICHAEL J. SENG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis
in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Â§ 1983.
This case is before the Court on Defendants' motion to
dismiss and Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a Fourth
Amended Complaint. (ECF Nos. 26, 33.)
initiated this action on November 21, 2014, and filed a First
Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
15(a) on January 23, 2015. (ECF Nos. 1, 8.) This complaint
was screened and found to state a due process claim against
Defendants Lambert, Mahoney, Cano, Kraay, Galaviz, Rousseau,
Gipson, Taber, Sanchez, Pina, Pacillas, Lackovic, Smith,
Kellogg, McGuire, Mayo, Mata, Holland, Prince, and Chavez.
(ECF No. 11.) Plaintiff was directed to file a notice of his
willingness to proceed on his screened amended complaint or
to file a Second Amended Complaint.
25, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint. (ECF
No. 14.) This pleading was screened and again found to state
only a due process claim against the previously-identified
Defendants as well as three additional individuals. (ECF No.
15.) Plaintiff was once again directed to file a notice of
his willingness to proceed on his pleading as screened or
file a Third Amended Complaint. Plaintiff was informed that
he would be given one final opportunity to amend.
August 24, 2015, Plaintiff filed the operative pleading, his
Third Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 16.) The Court's
screening of this pleading revealed due process and equal
protection claims against Defendants Beard, Castorena,
Escobar, Lambert, Mahoney, Cano, Kraay, Galaviz, Rousseau,
Gipson, Taber, Jennings, Sanchez, Pina, Pacillas, Lackovic,
Smith, Kellogg, McGuire, Mayo, Mata, Holland, Prince, Chavez,
Vasquez, Edgar, Garcia, Mayfield, and Patterson. (ECF No.
18.) Plaintiff was directed to submit service documents, and
on November 2, 2015, the United States Marshal was directed
to serve the 29 Defendants. (ECF No. 22.)
January 6, 2016, Defendants appeared in the action by filing
a motion to dismiss the Third Amended Complaint. (ECF No.
26.) Plaintiff filed opposition and on April 1, 2016, filed a
motion for leave to file a Fourth Amended Complaint. (ECF No.
33.) Defendants oppose this request. Both matters are deemed
submitted and ready for disposition.
ALLEGATIONS IN THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT
times relevant to this action, Plaintiff was housed at
California State Prison in Corcoran, California
("CSP-Cor"). Plaintiff's Third Amended
Complaint identifies Secretary of Corrections Jeffrey Beard;
Chief Deputy Wardens R. S. Lambert, E. Vasquez, and M.
Jennings; Psychologists J. Mahoney, J. Edgar, and D. Prince;
Institutional Gang Investigators A. Mayo, J.C. Garcia, and S.
Pina; Assistant Institutional Gang Investigator J. Cano;
Sergeants T. Kraay, J. Taber, H. Holland, and A. Kellogg;
Correctional Counselors T. Galaviz, P. Sanchez, A. Pacillas,
K. Mata, R. Chavez, D. Mayfield, D. Patterson, and D.
McGuire; Captain S. Rousseau; Warden C. Gipson; Dr. A.
Lackovic; Associate and Chief Deputy Warden J. Smith; and
Classification Staff Representatives M. Escobar and B.
Castorena as Defendants.
allegations can be summarized essentially as follows:
February 5, 2010, while Plaintiff was housed at California
State Prison in Sacramento, California ("CSP-Sac"),
he was validated as a gang member due to his alleged
membership in the Northern Structure prison gang, and he was
placed in the Security Housing Unit ("SHU").
2012, Plaintiff was transferred to CSP-Cor where he continued
indefinite confinement in the SHU based on the gang
validation. At issue here are Defendants' periodic
reviews of the gang validation and SHU housing assignment.
August 2, 2012, following Plaintiff's arrival at CSP-Cor,
Defendants Lambert, Mahoney, Cano, Kraay, Galaviz, and
Rousseau conducted an "initial SHU review" of
Plaintiff's case and decided to retain him in the SHU.
Plaintiff was not assigned a special investigator for the
hearing or given the opportunity to dispute his gang
involvement or present evidence or witnesses. Defendants did
not re-examine or reassess any of the evidence against
Plaintiff. The 128-G chrono noted Plaintiff's
disagreement with the decision and validation.
December 20, 2012, Plaintiff appeared before the
classification committee for a "180-day review."
Defendants Gipson, Mahoney, Taber, Sanchez, Pina, and
Pacillas committed the same violations as identified
20, 2013, Plaintiff appeared before the classification
committee for an "Annual Review" where he submitted
a one-page document challenging his SHU retention but
Defendants Gipson, Lackovic, Smith, Kellogg, McGuire, Mayo,
Pacillas, and Mata refused to consider it. These Defendants
committed the same violations as identified supra.
23, 2013, Defendant Escobar approved Plaintiff's
retention in the SHU based on the classification committee
action of June 20, 2013. Defendant Escobar did not provide
Plaintiff with a hearing, an investigative employee, or an
opportunity to dispute his gang involvement or to present
witnesses or evidence.
January 28, 2014, Plaintiff appeared before the
classification committee for a "180-day review."
Defendants Smith, Holland, Prince, Pina, Galaviz, and Chavez
reviewed Plaintiff's case and again retained him in the
SHU for an indeterminate term. Defendants did not permit
Plaintiff to dispute the evidence of his gang involvement,
present witnesses or evidence, or assign him an investigative
24, 2014, Plaintiff appeared before the classification
committee for an "Annual Review." Defendants
Jennings, Holland, Prince, Pina, Galaviz, and Chavez
committed the same violations during Plaintiff's annual
October 6, 2014, Defendant Castorena approved the retention
of Plaintiff in SHU without a hearing or other opportunity
for Plaintiff to object based on the classification committee
action of June 24, 2014.
January 7, 2015, Plaintiff appeared before the classification
committee for a "180-day review." Defendants
Vasquez, Holland, Garcia, Edgar, Patterson, and Mayfield
committed the same violations.
claims that none of these reviews was constitutionally
meaningful. The above named Defendants were acting in
accordance with Defendant Beard's unconstitutional policy
requiring segregation of gang affiliated inmates from the
general population for an indeterminate term without evidence
of misconduct. Defendant Beard was aware of Plaintiff being
subjected to this policy based on Plaintiff's appeals and
still failed to change the policy or correct his
subordinates' unconstitutional conduct. The policy
violates an inmate's right to freedom of association,
does not serve a legitimate penological objective, and
discriminates against prison gang members.
has not had any disciplinary action taken against him since
2009. He has never been found guilty of gang activity or
participation in any gang-related conspiracies. However,
because of his placement in the SHU, Plaintiff is subject to
gang sanctions. He is confined to his 7 x 11 foot cell for
approximately 159 hours per week with no periods of darkness.
The food has made Plaintiff sick. His mattress is thin and he
is not allowed a pillow. He has limited access to medical
services, showers, and the library. His yard space and
allowable activities are limited. Numerous restrictions are