United States District Court, E.D. California
KENDALL J. NEWMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner, proceeding without counsel, with a civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending
before the court is plaintiff's amended complaint. (ECF
No. 9.) For the reasons stated herein, plaintiff's
amended complaint is dismissed with leave to file a second
as defendants are California Correctional Health Care
Services (“CCHCS”) Deputy Director Lewis and Dr.
Matolon. Plaintiff alleges that on May 16, 2016, he received
a “Notice of Data Breach” from defendant Lewis.
The notice stated that on April 25, 2015, defendant Lewis
identified a potential breach of plaintiff's
personal information. Defendant Lewis informed plaintiff that
a laptop computer, containing plaintiff's confidential
medical, mental health and custodial information had been
stolen from defendant Matolon's personal vehicle.
Defendant Lewis informed plaintiff that he had taken steps to
mitigate these types of events by providing information
security training for staff and reinforcing information
security practices. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Lewis
later informed him that his personal and confidential
information was released to an unauthorized party.
alleges that the alleged disclosure of his private
information violated the Fourteenth and Fourth Amendments.
Plaintiff also alleges that the alleged disclosure of his
private information violated California Code of Civil
Procedure § 56.36 and California Health and Safety Code
undersigned observes that the court has received several
complaints from inmates alleging the potential disclosure of
confidential information as a result of the theft of the
laptop from the vehicle of a CCHCS employee, identified by
plaintiff as defendant Matolon. As far as the undersigned is
aware, in all of the other cases, the inmates alleged that
they were informed of a “potential” breach of
information. The inmates were informed that CCHCS did not
know whether any sensitive information was contained in the
laptop and, even if it was, it was not known whose
information may have been included.
plaintiff whose personal information has been stolen, but not
misused, has standing to raise a Fourth Amendment claim.
See Krottner v. Starbucks Corporation, 628 F.3d
1139, 1140 (9th Cir. 2010) (appellants, whose personal
information had been stolen, but not misused, had suffered an
injury sufficient to confer standing under Article III,
Section 2 of the Constitution). As far as the undersigned is
aware, all of the other cases filed in this court by inmates
regarding the stolen laptop have been dismissed for lack of
standing because no inmate alleged that their information was
actually stolen. Instead, the inmates alleged that CCHCS
informed them that their confidential information may have
been stolen, i.e., a “potential” breach of
information. Many inmates attached to their complaints copies
of the letters from CCHCS containing this information.
amended complaint, plaintiff alleges that defendant Lewis
notified him of a “potential breach” of
plaintiff's personal information. (ECF No. 9 at 11.)
Plaintiff goes on to allege that the laptop contained
plaintiff's confidential, personal information.
claim that defendant Lewis informed him of a
“potential” breach is consistent with the claims
raised by inmates in the other, related cases, who alleged
that they were informed that CCHCS did not know whether any
sensitive information was contained in the laptop. However,
plaintiff also alleges that the laptop contained his personal
information. It is not entirely clear whether plaintiff is
claiming that defendant Lewis informed him of a
“potential” breach of information, i.e., CCHCS
informed plaintiff that his confidential information may have
been on the laptop, or whether defendant Lewis informed
plaintiff of an “actual” breach, i.e., CCHCS
informed plaintiff that the laptop contained his personal
information. Accordingly, the amended complaint is dismissed
so that plaintiff may clarify this point. Without this
information, the undersigned cannot determine whether
plaintiff has standing to raise his Fourth Amendment claim
against defendant Matolon. If plaintiff files a second
amended complaint, he should include the communication he
received from defendant Lewis regarding the alleged breach of
undersigned also finds that plaintiff has not stated a
potentially colorable Fourth Amendment claim against
defendant Lewis. Plaintiff does not allege how defendant
Lewis caused his personal information to be disclosed.
Plaintiff does not allege, for example, that defendant Lewis
participated in defendant Matolon's removal of the laptop
from the prison to his car, from where it was taken.
Plaintiff instead alleges that defendant Lewis informed
plaintiff that he, defendant Lewis, had taken steps to
prevent such an event from occurring, such as by providing
information security training.
Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides
Every person who, under color of [state law] . . . subjects,
or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States .
. . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or
immunities secured by the Constitution . . . shall be liable
to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or
other proper proceeding for redress.
42 U.S.C. § 1983. The statute requires that there be an
actual connection or link between the actions of the
defendants and the deprivation alleged to have been suffered
by plaintiff. See Monell v. Department of Social
Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978) (“Congress did not
intend § 1983 liability to attach where . . . causation
[is] absent.”); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362
(1976) (no affirmative link between the incidents of police
misconduct and the adoption of any plan or policy
demonstrating their authorization or approval of such
misconduct). “A person ‘subjects' another to
the deprivation of a constitutional right, within the meaning
of § 1983, if he does an affirmative act, participates
in another's affirmative acts or omits to perform an act
which he is legally required to do that causes the
deprivation of which complaint is made.” Johnson v.
Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978).
supervisory personnel are generally not liable under §
1983 for the actions of their employees under a theory of
respondeat superior and, therefore, when a named defendant
holds a supervisorial position, the causal link between him
and the claimed constitutional violation must be specifically
alleged. See Fayle v. Stapley, 607 F.2d 858, 862
(9th Cir. 1979) (no liability where there is no allegation of
personal participation); Mosher v. Saalfeld, 589
F.2d 438, 441 (9th Cir. 1978) (no liability where there is no
evidence of personal participation), cert. denied,
442 U.S. 941 (1979). Vague and conclusory allegations
concerning the involvement of official personnel in civil
rights violations are not sufficient. See Ivey v. Board
of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982) (complaint
devoid of specific factual allegations of personal
participation is insufficient).
plaintiff has failed to link defendant Lewis to the alleged
deprivation, the Fourth Amendment claim ...