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Spruiell v. Graves

United States District Court, N.D. California

April 6, 2017

DAMEIN DION SPRUIELL, Plaintiff,
v.
LIEUTENANT R. GRAVES, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER OF PARTIAL DISMISSAL; AND SERVING COGNIZABLE CLAIMS

          DONNA M. RYU, United States Magistrate Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, a state prisoner, filed a pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 stemming from his incarceration at Pelican Bay State Prison (“PBSP”). Plaintiff has consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction, and this matter has been assigned to the undersigned Magistrate Judge. Dkt. 1 at 6. He has also filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, which will be granted in a separate written Order.

         Venue is proper because the events giving rise to Plaintiff's claims are alleged to have occurred at PBSP, which is located in this judicial district. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).

         Plaintiff names the following Defendants from PBSP: Lieutenant R. Graves; Correctional Officer D. Trone; Sergeant R. Navarro; and Warden R. E. Barnes. Plaintiff seeks monetary and punitive damages.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). 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. See 28 U.S.C. §1915A(b)(1), (2).

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated and (2) that the violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. First Amendment and Due Process Claims

         On July 7, 2013, Plaintiff received a memorandum labeled, “Pelican Bay State Prison Hunger Strike Informational Sheet-Refusing Food or Drink.” Dkt. 1 at 3.[1] In this memorandum, Plaintiff was informed that refusing food was an inmate's right and choice. Id. From July 7, 2013 through July 10, 2013, Plaintiff “declined to eat the food offered to him because PBSP officials issued [him] a paper saying that it was his right to refuse to eat . . . .” Id. at 15.

         On July 16, 2013, Defendant Navarro “retaliated against this plaintiff for exercising this right to refuse food or drinks by issuing this plaintiff a rules violation report (RVR) Log no. C13-07-0005 . . . .” Id. at 3. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Navarro's disciplinary action was an adverse action taken because of Plaintiff exercised his right to free speech by participating in a hunger strike, i.e., a protected conduct. Liberally construed, Plaintiff states a cognizable claim of retaliation against Defendant Navarro.

         B. Due Process Claim

         On July 17, 2013, Defendant Trone “issue[d] this plaintiff the RVR that [Defendant] Navarro had reported . . . .” Id. at 4. Defendant Trone then informed Plaintiff that he was going to serve as Plaintiff's “Investigative Employee (IE), ” to which Plaintiff had no objection. Id. Plaintiff asked Defendant Trone for a copy of ÔÇťOperational Procedure 228 (OP 228) that was utilize[d] inside the report against Plaintiff because Plaintiff ...


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