United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
F. BRENNAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action
brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants Hubbard,
Gower, Davey, Marquez, Harrison, St. Andre, Garcia, Harrison,
Kokkonen, Tamplen, Williams, White, Furtado, and Kernan
(hereafter ‘defendants’) move for judgment on the
pleadings. ECF No. 88. For the reasons stated below, the
motion should be granted.
alleges several causes of action against the defendants.
First, he alleged that in 2009 they validated him as a gang
member and placed him in the Secure Housing Unit
(“SHU”) without due process, thereby violating
his Fourteenth Amendment rights. ECF No. 1 at 15. Second,
plaintiff alleged that defendants violated his “state
created liberty interest” by placing him in both the
administrative segregation unit (“ASU”) and the
SHU. Id. at 15-16. Third, plaintiff claimed that his
indefinite retention in the SHU violated the Due Process
Clause of the California Constitution. Id. at 16.
Fourth, he alleged that defendants violated his rights under
the Fourteenth Amendment by refusing to combine two pieces of
evidence used in his gang validation into a single source,
thereby denying him equal protection of the law. Id.
at 17. Fifth, he alleged that his First Amendment rights were
violated by defendants’ policies which punished his
associations with other prisoners which were not in
furtherance of gang activity and which did not violate rules,
regulations, or the law. Id. Sixth, he claimed that
those defendants who held supervisory positions failed to
properly train or supervise their subordinates even as they
had knowledge that those subordinates were violating
plaintiff’s rights. Id. at 17-18. Seventh, he
alleged that defendants violated his equal protection rights
by treating him like an inmate who had committed a
disciplinary infraction without first charging him with any
disciplinary offense. Id. at 18. In conjunction with
this claim, plaintiff alleged that defendants denied him the
privileges and property allowed to general population
inmates. Id. Eighth, he claimed that
defendants’ decision to treat him like an inmate who
had committed a disciplinary infraction and restricting his
privileges and property on that basis also violated his due
process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Id.
12, 2013, defendants filed their first motion to dismiss. ECF
No. 22. Plaintiff’s California due process claim (Claim
Three) was dismissed due to his failure to file a claim with
California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board.
ECF No. 43 at 18; ECF No. 46. Plaintiff’s First
Amendment freedom of association claim (Claim Five) and
failure to train and supervise subordinates claim (Claim Six)
were also dismissed. Id.
second motion to dismiss was filed on behalf of defendant
Kernan. ECF No. 58. It was granted as to
plaintiff’s claims for injunctive relief intended to
cure the alleged violations of his Fourteenth Amendment due
process rights. ECF No. 73; ECF No. 83.
instant motion seeks judgment on the pleadings.
the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay
trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). “Judgment on the pleadings is
properly granted when, accepting all factual allegations in
the complaint as true, there is no issue of material fact in
dispute, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Chavez v. United States, 683
F.3d 1102, 1108 (9th Cir. 2012) (quotation marks and
alteration omitted). A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is similar to a Rule 12(c) motion
insofar as it challenges the legal sufficiency of the claims
asserted in the complaint. See Id. A Rule 12(c)
motion is “functionally identical” to a Rule
12(b)(6) motion, and courts apply the “same
standard.” Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine Inc.,
867 F.2d 1188, 1192 (9th Cir. 1989) (explaining that the
“principal difference” between Rule 12(b)(6) and
Rule 12(c) “is the tim[ing] of filing”); see
also United States ex rel. Cafasso v. Gen. Dynamics C4
Sys., 637 F.3d 1047, 1054 n.4 (9th Cir. 2011).
on the pleadings is appropriate when a complaint does not
plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
“The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability
requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility
that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id.
(quotation marks omitted). For purposes of ruling on a Rule
12(c) motion, the Court “accept[s] factual allegations
in the complaint as true and construe[s] the pleadings in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party.”
Manzarek v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 519
F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th Cir. 2008).
court, however, need not accept as true allegations
contradicted by judicially noticeable facts, see Shwarz
v. United States, 234 F.3d 428, 435 (9th Cir. 2000), and
it “may look beyond the plaintiff’s complaint to
matters of public record” without converting the Rule
12(c) motion into a motion for summary judgment, Shaw v.
Hahn, 56 F.3d 1128, 1129 n.1 (9th Cir. 1995). Nor must
the Court “assume the truth of legal conclusions merely
because they are cast in the form of factual
allegations.” Fayer v. Vaughn, 649 F.3d 1061,
1064 (9th Cir. 2011) (per curiam) (quotation marks omitted).
Mere “conclusory allegations of law and unwarranted
inferences are insufficient” to defeat a motion for
judgment on the pleadings. Adams v. Johnson, 355
F.3d 1179, 1183 (9th Cir. 2004).
Request for Judicial Notice
request judicial notice of plaintiff’s state court
filings and court orders, namely: (1) the online docket for
Lassen County Superior Court Case No. CHW2875 (2)
plaintiff’s habeas petition filed in Case No. CHW2875
on September 1, 2010; (3) the September 13, 2010 Order of the
Lassen County Superior Court denying plaintiff’s habeas
petition; (4) the California Court of Appeal for the Third
District Case No. C066250 online docket; (5)
plaintiff’s habeas petition filed in Case No. C066250
on October 4, 2010; (6) the Order returning plaintiff’s
case to the Lassen County Superior Court on December 15,
2010; (7) the August 22, 2011 Order of the Lassen County
Superior Court denying plaintiff’s habeas petition; (8)
the California Court of Appeal for the Third District Case
No. C069342 online docket; (9) plaintiff’s habeas
petition filed in Case No. C069342 on October 3, 2011; and
(10) the Order of the California Court of Appeal for the
Third District denying plaintiff’s habeas petition on
December 28, 2011. ECF No. 89, Ex. A-J (89-1 through 89-10).
has not raised any objections to judicial notice of these
documents in his opposition and it appears that they are
proper subjects for such notice. See also Headwaters Inc.
v. United States Forest Service, 399 F.3d 1047, 1051 n.3
(9th Cir. 2005) (taking judicial notice of docket in another
case); Mullis v. United States Bankruptcy Court, 828
F.2d 1385, 1388 & n.9 (9th Cir. 1987) (taking judicial
notice of “pleadings, orders and other papers ...