United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER OF SERVICE
HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. United States District Judge
a state prisoner incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison
(“SQSP”), filed this pro se civil rights
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that he was
retaliated against for pursuing an administrative grievance.
Plaintiff is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in a
separate order. The complaint is now before the Court for
review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
complaint alleges the following:
December 2013, defendant SQSP correctional officer R. Soria
confiscated plaintiff's privileged legal correspondence
at the SQSP library and prepared a false entry for
plaintiff's prison file. Plaintiff requested that Soria
amend or remove the entry from plaintiff's prison file,
but Soria refused to respond. Plaintiff proceeded to file an
inmate grievance challenging Soria's actions, and he
pursued the grievance through to the final level of review.
The inmate appeal was assigned for review as a “staff
complaint” against Soria, which meant that Soria would
be notified of the allegations.
time of these events, Soria's father worked at SQSP as a
correctional captain. Soria used his father's position to
obtain a post in plaintiff's housing unit and began
working as one of plaintiff's housing unit officers on
February 4, 2014. On the morning of February 5, 2014, Soria,
along with defendant housing unit officers B. Coffer, S.
Arana, and B. Broyles woke plaintiff up, removed him from his
cell, locked him in a stand-up holding cage, and proceeded to
search plaintiff's cell for nearly three hours. The
search was conducted while defendants housing unit sergeant
J. Van Blarcom and lieutenant Hal Williams were present in
the housing unit, sanctioning the search and giving
directions. The search was later joined by defendant
Investigative Services Unit sergeant A. Lujan.
the search, defendant correctional lieutenants D. McGraw and
T.A. Lee escorted plaintiff to the unit sergeant's office
ostensibly to conduct an interview concerning the staff
complaint against defendant Soria. During the interview,
McGraw and Lee pressured plaintiff to withdraw the staff
complaint. Plaintiff did not.
result of the cell search, defendants confiscated a
typewriter and a bottle of glue, both of which were
authorized by prison regulations as allowable inmate personal
property. The glue was discarded at once, and defendant Lujan
took the typewriter to the SQSP Investigative Services Unit.
Defendants also confiscated a cell phone and cell phone
charger, which they claimed were hidden in the typewriter.
was issued a Rules Violation Report (“RVR”) for
possession of the cell phone and charger. He pled guilty to
the charge in exchange for defendant Williams's promise
to return the typewriter to plaintiff. Williams never
returned the typewriter. Plaintiff further contends that the
prison refused to permit him to send the typewriter home, as
allowed by prison policy
Standard of Review
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). The court must identify cognizable claims or
dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint “is frivolous, malicious, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, ” or
“seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.” Id. § 1915A(b).
Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed,
however. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
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, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (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