United States District Court, E.D. California
SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S
FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT (DOC. 18) WITH LEAVE TO
LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE.
is a state prisoner currently incarcerated at Corcoran State
Prison in Corcoran, California. Plaintiff brings this pro se
civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(“§ 1983”) against the Secretary of
California Department of Corrections (“the
Secretary”), the Warden of Kern Valley State Prison
(“the Warden”), and Correctional Officer Stinson
(“Officer Stinson”). On May 12, 2016, Plaintiff
filed his complaint. Doc. 1. The Court dismissed the
complaint with leave to amend on December 19, 2016. Doc. 15.
On January 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed his first amended
complaint (“FAC”). Doc. 18.
SCREENING REQUIREMENT AND STANDARD
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a government 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 frivolous, malicious,
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). The §
1915A screening standard “incorporates the familiar
standard applied in the context of failure to state a claim
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).”
Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir.
2012). When a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis but
§ 1915A does not apply, “the court ‘shall
dismiss the case at any time if the court determines'
that the action ‘is frivolous or malicious, '
‘fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted,
' or ‘seeks monetary relief against a defendant who
is immune from such relief.'” Pierce v. San
Francisco Exam'r, No. 15-CV-06051-EMC, 2016 WL
2851649, at *1 (N.D. Cal. May 16, 2016) (quoting 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)). An inmate who has had three or more prior
actions or appeals dismissed on one of these three bases, and
has not alleged imminent danger of serious physical injury,
does not qualify to proceed in forma pauperis. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
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)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as
true, courts are “not required to indulge unwarranted
inferences.” Metzler Inv. GMBH v. Corinthian
Colls., Inc., 540 F.2d 1049, 1064 (9th Cir. 2008).
proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to
have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any
doubt resolved in their favor. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627
F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). To survive screening, a
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. The mere
possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not
facts are taken from Plaintiff's first amended complaint
and assumed to be true only for the purpose of this
screening. Plaintiff was incarcerated at Kern Valley State
Prison at some point before he filed this complaint. Doc 18
at 5. On an unspecified date between January and May of 2014,
Plaintiff was forced to take a drug test, which included
urinalysis. Id. at 5-6, 13. Shortly before the drug
test, Officer Stinson entered Plaintiff's cell and turned
on the light while Plaintiff was on his bunk. Id. at
6. Plaintiff stood up from his bunk “ready to defend
[himself].” Id. After a short conversation
Officer Stinson took Plaintiff to the shower where he was
searched. Id. Plaintiff was told to bend over and
spread his buttocks. Id. Officer Stinson commented
“I like that.” Id. Officer Stinson told
Plaintiff that he had received a “kite,
” stating that Plaintiff possessed drugs.
Id. No drugs were found on Plaintiff or in his cell,
and the drug test performed on a subsequent date was
negative. Id. at 7. Plaintiff asserts that he has
been subjected to fifty or more subsequent searches, though
he does not provide any specific details about those
searches. Id. at 11.
subsequently sought and exhausted the administrative remedies
available to him. Id. at 3. Plaintiff alleges that the
“kite” on which Officer Stinson based his search
was fabricated. Id. at 7. He alleges that the drug
test performed between January and May of 2014 was ordered in
retaliation for a lawsuit Plaintiff had previously filed.
Id. at 6. Plaintiff alleges that he was illegally
searched and urine illegally seized in violation of the
Fourth Amendment and Plaintiff's right to privacy.
Id. at 6-7. He contends that the actions taken by
Kern Valley State Prison constituted cruel and unusual
punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Id.
at 6-7. He also alleges that he was deprived of his
Fourteenth Amendment right to due process of law.
Id. at 5. Finally, Plaintiff alleges that
Kern Valley State Prison's random drug testing policy is
unconstitutional. Id. at 6. Plaintiff seeks nominal,
punitive, and compensatory damages. Id. at 14.
complaint, liberally construed, alleges that his
constitutional rights were violated by two separate but
related actions. First, Plaintiff alleges that he was
subjected to a drug test which was purported to be random but
was in fact targeted retaliation for a lawsuit he had filed.
Second, Plaintiff alleges that the search of his person and
cell, which included a visual body cavity search, was
prompted by a fabricated “kite” and not motivated
by a legitimate penological interest.