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Alexander v. Hicks

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 5, 2017

DARRION LARRY ALEXANDER, Plaintiff,
v.
Y. HICKS, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSING ACTION FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM, (ECF, 1) OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

         Plaintiff Darrion Larry Hicks is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's complaint, filed November 22, 2016.

         I.

         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 or malicious, ” that “fail[] to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” or that “seek[] monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         A complaint must 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 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Moreover, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of Plaintiff's rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002).

         Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor. Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The “sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully” is not sufficient, and “facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability” falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         II.

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff brings this action alleging that funds to pay his court fees were improperly deducted from his trust account. On December 4, 2014, Plaintiff received a transfer of $200.01 into his trust account. Defendant Hicks placed an encumbrance hold on Plaintiff's trust account for $40.00 each to pay fees due for two court cases. Plaintiff filed an appeal on January 8, 2015. Defendant Hicks admitted that the amount taken from Plaintiff's account was too high and $10.00 was returned to his trust account. Plaintiff contends that Defendant Hicks falsified his trust account statement to show that $30.14 was deducted from his trust account on January 1, 2015. Defendants Dailo, Best, and Wood reviewed Plaintiff's grievance and denied or rejected it.

         Plaintiff is bringing this action against the Defendant Hicks and Defendants Dailo, Best, and Wood who considered his appeals. Plaintiff also includes as a defendant J. Pimentel who is a trust officer. Plaintiff alleges that the deprivation of funds from his trust account violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         A. Eighth Amendment

         The Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment protects prisoners not only from inhumane methods of punishment but also from inhumane conditions of confinement. Morgan v. Morgensen, 465 F.3d 1041, 1045 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 847 (1994) and Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981)) (quotation marks omitted). While conditions of confinement may be, and often are, restrictive and harsh, they must not involve the wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain. Morgan, 465 F.3d at 1045 (citing Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 347) (quotation marks omitted). Thus, conditions which are devoid of legitimate penological purpose or contrary to evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society violate the Eighth Amendment. Morgan, 465 F.3d at 1045 (quotation marks and citations omitted); Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U.S. 730, 737 (2002); Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 346.

         Prison officials have a duty to ensure that prisoners are provided adequate shelter, food, clothing, sanitation, medical care, and personal safety, Johnson v. Lewis, 217 F.3d 726, 731 (9th Cir. 2000) (quotation marks and citations omitted), but not every injury that a prisoner sustains while in prison represents a constitutional violation, Morgan, 465 F.3d at 1045 (quotation marks omitted). To maintain an Eighth Amendment claim, a prisoner must show that prison officials were deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of harm to his health or safety. E.g., Farmer, 511 U.S. at 847; Thomas v. Ponder, 611 F.3d 1144, 1150-51 (9th Cir. 2010); Foster v. Runnels, 554 F.3d 807, 812-14 (9th Cir. 2009); Morgan, 465 F.3d at 1045; Johnson, 217 F.3d at 731; Frost v. Agnos, 152 F.3d 1124, 1128 (9th Cir. 1998).

         Plaintiff's allegations that funds were improperly deducted from his trust account do not demonstrate that he was at a serious risk of harm. Plaintiff's allegations regarding ...


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