United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING CASE AS BARRED BY RES JUDICATA ORDER
FOR CLERK TO CLOSE CASE (ECF No. 1.)
Norman Gerald Daniels, III is a state prisoner proceeding
pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
alleges he was denied access to the law library at his
institution because Defendant Stu Sherman, the Warden of the
institution, declined to make the accommodations Plaintiff
requested to make the computers in the law library more
filed the Complaint commencing this action on September 6,
2016. (ECF No. 1.) The Complaint alleges facts that are
substantially similar to those in a complaint Plaintiff filed
on April 9, 2012 in Daniels v. Allison, Case No.
1:12-cv-00545-LJO-GSA, which was dismissed with prejudice on
February 21, 2014. The facts are also similar to those in a
second complaint Plaintiff filed on September 6, 2016 in
Daniels v. Sherman, Case No. 1:16-cv-01313-EPG (the
“1313 case”). The 1313 case was related to this
case on October 21, 2016.
October 17, 2016, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause why
this action should not be dismissed as barred by the doctrine
of res judicata. The Court provided Plaintiff two
extensions of time to respond to the Order to Show Cause and
his response was due on February 17, 2017. The Court provided
Plaintiff with an explanation of the res judicata
doctrine and also explained what Plaintiff should do to
respond to the Order to Show Cause. (ECF No. 13.) Plaintiff
did not file a response to the Order to Show Cause in this
case, although he did file a response to a parallel order to
show cause in the 1313 case and referenced this case therein.
The Complaint is now before the Court for screening.
October 6, 2016, Plaintiff consented to Magistrate Judge
jurisdiction in this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(c) and no other parties have made an appearance. (ECF No.
8.) Therefore, pursuant to Appendix A(k)(4) of the Local
Rules of the Eastern District of California, the undersigned
shall conduct any and all proceedings in the case until such
time as reassignment to a District Judge is required. Local
Rule Appendix A(k)(4).
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).
complaint is required to 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 1949 (2009), citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007). While
a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, courts
“are not required to indulge unwarranted
inferences.” Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,
572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted). Plaintiff must set forth
“sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
>state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. While
factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions
are not. Id.
pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must
be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007), quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 97 S.Ct. 285 (1976).
SUMMARY OF ALLEGATIONS
Plaintiff's Complaint in Daniels v. Allison,
Case No. 1:12-cv-00545-LJO-GSA (the “545
amended complaint filed on January 10, 2013, Plaintiff
alleged that he was incarcerated at the California Substance
Abuse Treatment Facility in Corcoran, California
(“SATF”). Plaintiff named, among other
defendants, Kathleen Allison, the acting warden of SATF. He
alleged that the computers in the prison law library had not
been modified to make them accessible to disabled inmates. In
particular, Plaintiff wanted the law library computers to use
software that would magnify the text in Microsoft Word.
Plaintiff alleged that the current magnifying device, an
Optelec magnifier with dictation capabilities, was not an
adequate accommodation for vision-impaired inmates. Plaintiff
asked that, among other things, all inmate accessible
computers be “loaded with the appropriate software as
to allow access to visually impaired inmates, ” that
all prison staff “be required to take se[n]sitivity
training, ” that printer ink and paper be given to
disabled inmates at their wholesale cost, and that computers
be made available to disabled inmates during all
non-emergency situations. Plaintiff also asked for ten
million dollars in compensatory damages.
September 19, 2013, the assigned Magistrate Judge issued
findings and recommendations recommending that the amended
complaint be dismissed for failure to state a claim. The
Magistrate Judge identified potential claims arising out of
the Americans with Disabilities Act, the due process clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment, and denial of access to courts.
After analyzing each of these respective theories, however,
the Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff had failed to state
any claims and recommended that the case be dismissed.
Plaintiff filed objections to the Findings and
Recommendations. On February 21, 2014, the District Judge
assigned to the case adopted the Findings and Recommendations
in full, dismissed the case with prejudice, and found that
the dismissal should constitute a strike under the
“three-strikes” provision in 28 U.S.C. §
1915(g). Final judgment was entered in the case shortly