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Ardds v. Hodge

United States District Court, S.D. California

May 4, 2017

ANTOINE L. ARDDS, CDCR No. P-59915, Plaintiff,


          Hon. William Q. Hayes United States District Court

         I. Procedural History

         Antoine L. Ardds (“Plaintiff”), currently incarcerated at the California Health Care Facility, located in Stockton, California, and proceeding pro se, initially filed a document entitled “Coloring Agreement” which the Court liberally construed to be an attempt to file a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff also filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunctive Relief (ECF No. 6), as well as certified copies of his inmate trust account statement, which the Court liberally construed as a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). (ECF Nos. 2, 15). In addition, Plaintiff filed a “Supplemental Complaint, ” along with a “Motion to Dismiss Improperly Named Defendant” and a Motion for Leave to File a Supplemental Complaint. (ECF Nos. 8, 10, 14.)

         On February 28, 2017, this Court granted Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed IFP, denied his Motion for Preliminary Injunction, granted his Motion to Dismiss improperly named defendant and dismissed his Complaint for failing to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. (ECF No. 18.) On March 1, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion requesting leave to file a supplemental complaint. (ECF No. 20). However, on March 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). (ECF No. 21.) Therefore, his need to file a supplemental pleading is now moot.

         Finally, Plaintiff has filed a document entitled “Ex Parte Motion” in which he is requesting that this Court “notify the Director's officer” regarding an alleged excessive force incident which occurred at his current place of confinement. (ECF No. 23.) The Court construes this as a request for injunctive relief.

         II. Screening Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b)

         A. Standard of Review

         As the Court previously informed Plaintiff, because Plaintiff is a prisoner and is proceeding IFP, his FAC requires a pre-answer screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(b). Under these statutes, the Court must sua sponte dismiss a prisoner's IFP complaint, or any portion of it, which is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks damages from defendants who are immune. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)); Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)). “The purpose of [screening] is ‘to ensure that the targets of frivolous or malicious suits need not bear the expense of responding.'” Nordstrom v. Ryan, 762 F.3d 903, 920 n.1 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting Wheeler v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., 689 F.3d 680, 681 (7th Cir. 2012)).

         “The standard for determining whether a plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standard for failure to state a claim.” Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012); see also Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (noting that screening pursuant to § 1915A “incorporates the familiar standard applied in the context of failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)”). Rule 12(b)(6) requires that a complaint “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted); Wilhelm, 680 F.3d at 1121.

         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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] ... a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. The “mere possibility of misconduct” or “unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusation[s]” fall short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id.

         B. Plaintiff's Allegations

         On August 19, 2016, Plaintiff was housed at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (“RJD”). (See FAC at 7.) At the time Plaintiff arrived at RJD, he had “pending disciplinary actions and appeals” from his previous place of incarceration, Salinas Valley State Prison (“SVSP”). (Id.) Specifically, Plaintiff was suing a correctional officer at SVSP, D. Lopez, who is not a defendant in this action. (Id.) Plaintiff claims D. Lopez sent emails and made phone calls to RJD prison officials which he claims “prompt[ed] sudden harassment from RJD officials in such a short period of time.” (Id.)

         Plaintiff was given priority to visit the prison law library on October 24, 2016. (Id.) Plaintiff went to the designated waiting area to be escorted to the law library. (Id. at 8.) Plaintiff showed Defendant Hodge his pass for the law library. (Id.) However, as Plaintiff began to walk to the law library, he alleges Correction Officer D. Jones[1] “began to make threats of sending killas” to Plaintiff's cell. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Jones “kept dashing out insults” which caused Plaintiff to walk back to his unit instead of attending the law library. (Id.)

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant D. Hodge used the information on his Plaintiff's to “go into the computer and look up Plaintiff's conviction.” (Id.) Plaintiff further alleges that Hodge informed other correctional officers about the nature of Plaintiff's conviction which caused “intentional harassments.” (Id.) After Plaintiff returned to his cell, he informed Correctional Officer Rucker[2] “about the incidents with Defendant D. Hodge and Officer D. Jones.” (Id.) Plaintiff asked to speak with his psychologist due to “feeling depressed and paranoid.” (Id. at 9.) Correctional Officer Rucker reissued a pass for Plaintiff to return to the law library. (Id.)

         Plaintiff then approached Defendant Romero to give him his pass for the law library. (Id.) Plaintiff claims Romero took Plaintiff's pass and “tore it up.” (Id.) Romero told Plaintiff to return to his unit. (Id.) Plaintiff did return to his unit and informed Correctional Officer Rucker of what had transpired with Romero. (Id.) Plaintiff again sought leave to meet with his psychologist. (Id.) However, Correctional Officer Rucker informed Plaintiff that he would have to wait until his scheduled time later that day because there was insufficient staff to escort him to his psychologist. (Id.)

         Later that afternoon, Plaintiff was again released to go to the prison law library. (Id.) He was being “searched by officers in the search line” when he claims that Hodge began to “yell out bits and pieces of commitment offense and prior convictions.” (Id. at 9-10.) Hodge allegedly said in the presence of other inmates and staff, “you're in here for ‘rape' now, but what about 20 years ago?.” (Id. at 10.) Plaintiff claims that Hodge and Romero “once again refused to let Plaintiff walk through the yard gate for the law library” and instead, Plaintiff walked to the ...

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