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Lipsey v. Satf Prisons Ad-Seg Property Officers

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 20, 2017





         A. Background

         Plaintiff, Christopher Lipsey, Jr., a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on May 6, 2015. On December 8, 2015, Plaintiff's Original Complaint was screened and dismissed with leave to amend for failure to state a claim under § 1983. (Doc. 17.) In January of 2016, Plaintiff filed the First Amended Complaint, (Doc. 18), an exhibit to the First Amended Complaint (Doc. 19) and a supplement to the First Amended Complaint (Doc. 20). All of these documents were reviewed as part of the screening of the First Amended Complaint, which was dismissed with leave to amend on September 6, 2016. (Doc. 29.) After requesting and receiving multiple extensions of time, Plaintiff filed the Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) which is before the Court for screening. (Doc. 36.) For the reasons discussed below, the SAC is DISMISSED without leave to amend and this case will be closed.

         B. Screening Requirement and Standard

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an 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).

         C. Pleading Requirements

         1.Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)

         "Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions, " none of which applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a). A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a). "Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512.

         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), quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Factual allegations are accepted as true, but legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, at 678; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-557.

         While “plaintiffs [now] face a higher burden of pleadings facts . . ., ” Al-Kidd v. Ashcroft, 580 F.3d 949, 977 (9th Cir. 2009), the pleadings of pro se prisoners are still construed liberally and are afforded the benefit of any doubt. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). However, "the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations, " Neitze v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989), "a liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled, " Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982), and 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). The “sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully” is not sufficient, and “facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability” fall short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         2.Linkage and Causation

         Section 1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of Plaintiff's constitutional or other federal rights by persons acting under color of state law. Nurre v. Whitehead, 580 F.3d 1087, 1092 (9th Cir 2009); Long v. County of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006); Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). “Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.” Crowley v. Nevada ex rel. Nevada Sec'y of State, 678 F.3d 730, 734 (9th Cir. 2012) (citing Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94, 109 S.Ct. 1865 (1989)) (internal quotation marks omitted). To state a claim, Plaintiff must allege facts demonstrating the existence of a link, or causal connection, between each defendant's actions or omissions and a violation of his federal rights. Lemire v. California Dep't of Corr. and Rehab., 726 F.3d 1062, 1074-75 (9th Cir. 2013); Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1205-08 (9th Cir. 2011).

         Plaintiff's allegations do not demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). As discussed below, Plaintiff fails to present factual allegations sufficient to state plausible claims for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.


         A. Plaintiff's Allegations

         This is Plaintiff's third pleading attempt. Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at California Men's Colony, East (“CMC-E”) in San Luis Obispo, California. He names Librarians Moser and Doe #1; Property Officers Magana and Urban; Appeals Coordinators Pacillas, Goree, Cribbs, Jasso, and Heck; Officers Hernandez, Doe #2, and Doe #3; Sergeant Case; and Warden Davey as Defendants in the SAC. Plaintiff complains of incidents that occurred while he was housed at California State Prison-Corcoran (“CSP-Cor”). Plaintiff asserts four claims for which he seeks monetary and injunctive relief.

         Plaintiff delineates four claims in the SAC. As discussed below, Claims #1-3 fail to state a claim for which relief may be granted under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). Since Plaintiff has had multiple opportunities to amend these claims and has twice previously been given the applicable legal standards (see Docs. 17, 29), further amendment would be futile and need not be granted. Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 1212-13 (9th Cir. 2012). Though Claim #4 may state a cognizable claim, it is based on events that occurred nearly a year after Plaintiff initiated this action which are unrelated to the claims upon which he initiated this action. This exceeds the leave to amend granted to Plaintiff and seeks improper joinder of a new claim and defendants.[1]Thus, the SAC is properly dismissed without leave to amend, resulting in closure of this case.

         B. Plaintiff's Claims

         1. Claim #1

         In Claim #1, Plaintiff alleges that, in 2011, he repeatedly tried to obtain documents from Librarian Moser and Doe #1, but they were “deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's access to courts” and that Doe #1 was “deliberately indifferent by not sending him caselaw (sic) when he requested them or scheduling Plaintiff law library access in 2011.” (Doc. 36, p. 6.) Plaintiff alleges that “not having the dates he received actual access to the library is preventing Plaintiff from substantiating his tolling claim in Federal court, and is the actual injury.” (Id., p. 7.)

         a. ...

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