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Miller v. Jones

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 10, 2017

MATT JONES, et al., Defendants.


         Plaintiff Jarrod Joseph Miller is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's complaint, filed March 29, 2017.



         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental 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 legally “frivolous or malicious, ” that “fail[] to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” or that “seek[] monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         A 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)). Moreover, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of Plaintiff's rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002).

         Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor. Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). To survive screening, 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 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The “sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully” is not sufficient, and “facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability” falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.



         Plaintiff is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) and is currently housed at Calipatria State Prison. On December 27, 2016, while housed at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (“SATF”) in Corcoran, Plaintiff submitted a staff complaint. (Compl. 4.[1]) On January 21, 2017, Plaintiff was called into the program office by Lieutenant Jones (“Defendant Jones”) to be interviewed regarding his staff complaint. (Compl. 4.)

         During the interview, Defendant Jones told Plaintiff that correctional officers can grab Plaintiff at any time without an explanation. (Compl. 4.) Plaintiff stated that it is not okay for a correctional officer to grab him and start cussing at him and Defendant Jones replied that a correctional officer can use force to put hands on Plaintiff as long as they do not slam him against a wall. (Compl. 4.) Defendant Jones also told Plaintiff that a correctional officer can search him at any time without an explanation and they get “Post Orders” to randomly search inmates. (Compl. 4.) Plaintiff asked for a copy of the “Post Orders” and was told that they are confidential and inmates cannot receive them. (Compl. 4.) Defendant Jones created a memorandum about the interview. (Compl. 7.) The memorandum contained information that Plaintiff alleges he did not say and parts of it contradicted statements that Plaintiff made in a complaint that he filed. (Compl. 7.)

         Plaintiff sent a CDC 22 form request for a copy of post orders regarding random searches. (Compl. 4.) Plaintiff received a response that Post Orders contain confidential information and he is not permitted to receive a copy. (Compl. 4.) Plaintiff looked up Post Orders in the DOM and saw that they only reference rules from OP and DOM and Correctional Officers to changes in those rules but they do not create new confidential rules. (Compl. 4-7.) Plaintiff contends that Defendant Jones attempted to purposefully mislead him into believing that there are confidential rules that he is not entitled to see. (Compl. 7.) Plaintiff submitted an inmate appeal complaining that Defendant Jones lied to him and the memorandum Defendant Jones created was a fabrication and stating that there should be a digital recording of every staff misconduct and inmate appeal interview. (Compl. 7.)

         On February 8, 2017, Plaintiff was in a cell by himself and a correctional officer came to the door and he was taken to the Program Office in handcuffs. (Compl. 7.) Plaintiff was placed in a cage and Sergeant Lopez (“Defendant Lopez”) told him to strip. (Compl. 7.) Defendant Lopez, a female, was in the room. (Compl. 7.) Defendant Lopez kept looking at Plaintiff and said that he has to strip anytime they tell him to and did not have to articulate a reason. (Compl. 7.) Plaintiff refused to strip because he was not told the reason that he had to strip. (Compl. 7, 10.) Defendant Lopez then told another correctional officer to write that Plaintiff refused on the log sheet. (Compl. 10.)

         Defendant Lopez left and got Defendant Jones who instead of releasing Plaintiff with an apology demanded that he strip. (Compl. 10.) Defendant Jones refused to tell Plaintiff why he had to strip. (Compl. 10.) Defendant Jones told Plaintiff that he had to strip anytime he was told to because he was in custody. (Compl. 10.) Plaintiff responded that it was a violation of his rights and Defendant Jones told him he was not entitled to such rights and was acting as if he outranked Defendant Jones. (Compl. 10.) Plaintiff responded that if they would not give him a valid reason to strip he refused. (Compl. 10.) Defendant Jones replied that if Plaintiff did not strip they would forcibly cut his clothing off to perform a cavity search. (Compl. 10.) Plaintiff told Defendant Jones that they could not do that and Defendant Jones replied that they could anytime they wanted to and asked Plaintiff if he remembered the interview they had in which the post orders were discussed. (Compl. 10.) Plaintiff refused to strip and Defendant Jones left. (Compl. 10.)

         Plaintiff waited in the cage for ten to fifteen minutes and then another correctional officer came in and let him out of the cage, removed his cuffs, and told him that he was free to go. (Compl. 10.) Plaintiff asked for the reason that this had happened and the correctional officer told Plaintiff that he did not know. (Compl. 12.) After returning to his cell, Plaintiff filed a CDC 22 form to the program office demanding an explanation. (Compl. 12.) Plaintiff received a response that “An inmate is subject to an inspection of his or her person, either clothed or unclothed.” (Compl. 12.) The response further stated that it is standard for an inmate to submit to an unclothed body search upon placement in a holding cell. (Compl. 12.)

         Plaintiff contends that Defendant Jones retaliated against him by speaking about the January 21, 2017 interview instead of releasing him on February 8, 2017 when Plaintiff refused to strip at the order of correctional officers. (Compl. 5.) Plaintiff also contends that since there was not an emergency situation, Defendants violate their own policies by having him taken to the program office in handcuffs and not removing the handcuffs while he was in the cage. (Compl. 8.) Plaintiff contends that the policies regarding transporting inmates only apply to transporting prisoners in vehicles and taking him to the program office in restraints violated his right to be free from arbitrary seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment. (Compl. 8.)

         Plaintiff also contends that by placing him in the cage they violated his liberty interest under the Fourth Amendment and by keeping him in handcuffs the Defendants violated his right to be free from bodily restraints. (Compl. 9, 11.) Plaintiff alleges that by keeping Plaintiff locked in a holding cell with handcuffs on without a hearing his due process rights were violated and it was cruel and unusual punishment. (Compl. 11.) Finally, Plaintiff complains that by relying on policies, standards or regulations that allow Plaintiff to be held in a holding cell without ...

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