United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER Dkt., 36
THELTON E. HENDERSON United States District Judge
an inmate at San Quentin State Prison, filed this pro
se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The
case was dismissed and closed at screening, but Plaintiff
filed an appeal. The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part, vacated
in part, and remanded the case. The Circuit found that the
Court properly dismissed the access to courts claim but
remanded the case to consider Plaintiff's allegation that
Defendant improperly opened and read his legal mail. The
Court reopened the case and ordered service. Plaintiff has
filed a second amended complaint with additional claims and
Defendants. Defendants have requested the Court screen the
second amended complaint.
courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in
which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or
officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims or
dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint “is frivolous, malicious, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, ” or
“seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.” Id. § 1915A(b).
Pleadings filed by pro se litigants, however, must be
liberally construed. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338,
342 (9th Cir. 2010); Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Dep't., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by
the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated,
and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person
acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins,
487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
Court previously ordered service on Defendant A. Panizza for
the claim that he opened and read Plaintiff's
confidential legal mail. Plaintiff repeats these allegations
and also argues that Defendants Polanco and Mithcell were
part of a conspiracy to deny Plaintiff's inmate appeals
and Defendant Davis is liable as a supervisor.
is informed there is no constitutional right to a prison
administrative appeal or grievance system. See Ramirez v.
Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 860 (9th Cir. 2003); Mann v.
Adams, 855 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1988). A civil
conspiracy is a combination of two or more persons who, by
some concerted action, intend to accomplish some unlawful
objective for the purpose of harming another which results in
damage. Gilbrook v. City of Westminster, 177 F.3d
839, 856 (9th Cir. 1999). To prove a civil conspiracy, the
plaintiff must show that the conspiring parties reached a
unity of purpose or common design and understanding, or a
meeting of the minds in an unlawful agreement. Id.
To be liable, each participant in the conspiracy need not
know the exact details of the plan, but each participant must
at least share the common objective of the conspiracy.
a § 1983 or a Bivens action - where masters do
not answer for the torts of their servants - the term
‘supervisory liability' is a misnomer. Absent
vicarious liability, each Government official, his or her
title notwithstanding, is only liable for his or her own
misconduct.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
677 (2009) (finding under Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Rule 8 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, that complainant-detainee in a
Bivens action failed to plead sufficient facts
“plausibly showing” that top federal officials
“purposely adopted a policy of classifying
post-September-11 detainees as ‘of high interest'
because of their race, religion, or national origin”
over more likely and non-discriminatory explanations).
supervisor may be liable under section 1983 upon a showing of
(1) personal involvement in the constitutional deprivation or
(2) a sufficient causal connection between the
supervisor's wrongful conduct and the constitutional
violation. Henry A. v. Willden, 678 F.3d 991,
1003-04 (9th Cir. 2012) (citing Starr v. Baca, 652
F.3d 1202, 1207 (9th Cir. 2011)). A plaintiff must also show
that the supervisor had the requisite state of mind to
establish liability, which turns on the requirement of the
particular claim - and, more specifically, on the state of
mind required by the particular claim - not on a generally
applicable concept of supervisory liability. Oregon State
University Student Alliance v. Ray, 699 F.3d 1053, 1071
(9th Cir. 2012). Plaintiff has failed to present sufficient
allegations against the supervisor defendants.
alleges that Defendant Polanco spoke to him about his inmate
appeal and said he would grant it but instead denied the
appeal. Plaintiff states that Defendant Mitchell told
Plaintiff his appeal was cancelled because Plaintiff
previously refused to be interviewed, which Plaintiff states
was false. Plaintiff's allegations against Polanco and
Mitchell fail to state a claim. There is no constitutional
right to a prison administrative appeal system and Plaintiff
has failed to demonstrate that there was any conspiracy
between these Defendants. Nor has Plaintiff shown that Warden
Davis is liable as a supervisor, based on the caselaw set
Defendants are dismissed with prejudice from this action. The
case continues against Defendant A. Panizza for the claim
that he opened and read Plaintiff's confidential legal
mail. To the extent that Defendant argues Plaintiff has
failed to exhaust this claim, Defendant must file the
foregoing reasons, the Court ...