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Clark v. Brazelton

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 29, 2016

BRINT CLARK, Plaintiff,
BRAZELTON, et al., Defendants.


          Jennifer L. Thurston UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff alleges various causes of action against several prison staff at Pleasant Valley State Prison for improperly identifying him as a member of the Black Gorilla Family (“BGF”) gang when, in fact, he is a member of the Crips gang. (Doc. 23.) For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff’s claims are barred by the statute of limitations and this action is DISMISSED with prejudice.

         A. 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, malicious, 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); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).

         Section 1983 “provides a cause of action for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).

         To state a claim under § 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 violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda Cnty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).

         B. Second Amended Complaint

         Though he is now housed at California Correctional Institute, Plaintiff complains of acts that occurred while he was housed at Pleasant Valley State Prison at the hands of Defendants Warden, PD Brazelton, Lieutenants A. Shimmin and Duty, and Correctional Officer M. Seese. Plaintiff seeks monetary and declaratory relief.

         Plaintiff identifies the following three “Counts” in which he asserts multiple constitutional claims: (1) due process violation, discrimination based on race, and intentional infliction of emotional distress; (2) cruel and unusual punishment, failure to protect/safety, negligence; and (3) defamation and libel. Though there are other substantial defects in his pleading, as discussed below, Plaintiff’s claims are DISMISSED because they are barred by the statute of limitations.

         1. Summary of Allegations

         Plaintiff alleges that, prior to and upon entering CDCR, he was recognized as a member of the Crips gang and CDCR classified him as a Crip. (Doc. 23, p. 8.) Plaintiff alleges that, on April 23, 2009, C/O Seese submitted a false and fraudulent 128-B chrono (based on a drawing of a gorilla found in Plaintiff cell) associating Plaintiff with the BGF. (Id.) Thereafter, C/O Seese used the drawing to inappropriately cell Plaintiff with BGF, who were his known enemies. (Id.) Prior to this, Plaintiff had only ever been housed with Crips as cellmates as they are a “rival faction to all other gang [sic] that are not Crips, espically [sic] BGF.” (Id.) C/O Seese is an ISU officer and as such, part of his duties include reviewing Plaintiff’s Central File (C-File) which contained documentation that labeled Plaintiff as a Crip. (Id.) On this basis, C/O Seese allegedly knew, or should have known the ramifications of the chrono he generated which changed Plaintiff’s status. (Id.)

         When C/O Seese wrongly identified Plaintiff as a BGF, Plaintiff’s “bed card, ” reflecting who he could be placed with, was changed which put his life in danger. (Id., p. 9.) Plaintiff alleges that, as a result of this wrong gang identification, he was sliced on the arm, stabbed in the torso, and had numerous other violent altercations with members of both the BGF and Crips. (Id.)

         In February 2010, Plaintiff was informed by the psychiatrist during an evaluation for his hearing with the Parole Board, that he was labeled both a BGF and a Crip. (Id., p. 9.) Subsequently, Plaintiff approached Lt. Duty as he was leaving the yard and questioned him about the false chrono generated by C/O Seese since he would have had to okay it. (Id.) Plaintiff informed Lt. Duty he was being treated badly by other inmates and that the false chrono had come up in his parole hearing. (Id.) Lt. Duty said he fully agreed with C/O Seese’s chrono and that there was nothing Plaintiff could do to change it. (Id., pp. 10-11.)

         Thereafter, Plaintiff wrote a letter to Warden Brazelton, explaining the situation. (Id., p. 10.) An Associate Warden responded and told Plaintiff to use the inmate appeal (IA) process to raise the concern. Plaintiff filed IA number PVSP-S-12-02521. (Id.) On November 16, 2012, Plaintiff stated to the Institutional Classification Committee (ICC) that he was tired of the prison politics and wanted to transfer to a sensitive needs yard because he believed he was not safe and felt that CDCR could not protect him under his current living circumstances. ...

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