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Harrison v. Beard

United States District Court, N.D. California, Eureka Division

August 10, 2016

DAVID SCOTT HARRISON, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFFREY BEARD, et. al., Defendants.

          ORDER OF SERVICE

          NANDOR J. VADAS United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff, a state prisoner, has filed a pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The court dismissed the original complaint with leave to amend on July 11, 2016. (Doc. 7.) Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on July 21, 2016. (Doc. 8.)

         DISCUSSION

         Standard of Review

         Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which 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. Id. at 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” “Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only “‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.’”” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citations omitted). Although in order to state a claim a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds’ of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief’ requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. The United States Supreme Court has recently explained the “plausible on its face” standard of Twombly: “While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).

         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).

         Legal Claims

         Plaintiff, a male, presents an equal protection violation based on the differing treatment of women at female institutions.

         "The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment commands that no State shall 'deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, ' which is essentially a direction that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike." City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432, 439 (1985) (quoting Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 216 (1982)); Thornton v. City of St. Helens, 425 F.3d 1158, 1168 (9th Cir. 2005) (evidence of different treatment of unlike groups does not support an equal protection claim). Classifications such as those based on gender, are “subject to somewhat heightened review” and “will survive equal protection scrutiny to the extent they are substantially related to a legitimate state interest.” Id. at 441.

         Plaintiff argues that he is denied certain clothing, foods, drinks, objects, and appliances from vendors that female inmates with a similar classification status at other prisons can purchase. He contends that the denial of certain items from similarly situated individuals is unconstitutional. This is sufficient to proceed at the screening stage. See Gonzalez v. Mullen, 2013 WL 1333560 (N.D. Cal. March 29, 2013)

         CONCLUSION

         1. The clerk shall issue a summons and Magistrate Judge jurisdiction consent form and the United States Marshal shall serve, without prepayment of fees, the summons, Magistrate Judge jurisdiction consent form, copies of the amended complaint with attachments and copies of this order on ...


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