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Holguin v. Wicks

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 24, 2017

R. WICKS, Defendant.



         Plaintiff Pablo Holguin (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff initiated this action on March 14, 2016. Plaintiff's first amended complaint, filed on May 1, 2017, is currently before the Court for screening. (ECF No. 23). Also pending is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Supplement the First Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 26.)

         I. Screening Requirement

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, 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).

         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, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. United States Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         II. Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff is currently housed at the Correctional Training Facility, in Solodad. The events in the complaint are alleged to have occurred while Plaintiff was housed at Avenal State Prison. Plaintiff names R.Wicks, Correctional Lieutenant, as the sole defendant.

         Plaintiff alleges: Plaintiff was deprived of his right to Due Process under the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff alleges Defendant Wicks is sued in his official and individual capacities in that Plaintiff was found guilty of a Rule Violation. On December 5, 2013, Correctional Officer Qualls discovered what he believed to be a controlled substance underneath a stamp attached to an envelope addressed to Plaintiff. The envelope was not given to Plaintiff and Plaintiff never possessed the envelope or stamp. Plaintiff alleges he did not have prior knowledge of the substance.

         Plaintiff was charged in a Rule Violation Report (“RVR”) with introduction of a controlled substance. On March 17, 2014, Defendant R. Wicks conducted a hearing. Defendant Wicks is a high ranking official and experienced in the duties as a Senior Hearing Officer (“SHO”). The SHO must have determined that Plaintiff actually possessed the letter/substance or the Plaintiff had prior knowledge that contraband was hidden under the stamp. Plaintiff alleges that Wicks knew of the deficient RVR before the hearing because (1) the RVR charged offense lacked proper authority, (2) the RVR state of incompleteness that Plaintiff lacked possession or evidence of prior knowledge. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Wicks' premediated oversight, combined with his selective course of actions(s) to ignore the perquisites. Plaintiff alleges that Wicks' conduct violated CDCR policy and regulations and he did not report misconduct of Qualls for false reporting. Defendant Wicks' further participated in the false RVR when he adjudged the deficient RVR.

         Plaintiff was found guilty and assessed 180 days of behavioral credit forfeiture, 60 days loss of privileges, 5 days confinement to quarters, order two random drug tests per month for 12 months, 180 days loss of contact visits, referral to substance abuse program. Plaintiff was also assessed a high custody level and placed in administrative segregation. Plaintiff was totally exonerated of the RVR via a state petition for writ of habeas corpus.[1] In this action, Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages and punitive damages.

         On May 5, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to Supplement the First Amended Complaint which seeks to allege special damages. Plaintiff realleges a summary of the facts from his first amended complaint against Wicks. The summary of facts clarify that Plaintiff is alleging that Wicks knew the RVR was deficient in that the RVR failed to contain the elements that Plaintiff was (a) in possession and/or (b) constructive possession of the substance and knew of the substance. Plaintiff alleges that Wicks was deliberately indifferent to the effect of the false RVR, in that there is the potential of several years of delay for “suitability considerations” for parole. The false criminal complaint (referral to the District Attorney's office) for prosecution was violation of cruel and unusual punishment and deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's liberty interest.

         III. Motion to Supplement

         A court “may, on just terms, permit a party to serve a supplemental pleading setting out any transaction, occurrence, or event that happened after the date of the pleading to be supplemented.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(d). Although leave to permit supplemental pleading is generally favored, the supplemental pleading cannot be used to introduce a “separate, distinct and new cause of action.” Planned Parenthood of S. Ariz. v. Neely, 130 F.3d 400, 402 (9th Cir. 1997) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted); see also San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority v. U.S. Dept. of Interior, 236 F.R.D. 491, 497 (E.D. Cal. 2006) (setting forth nine factors for determining whether to permit supplemental pleadings, including the relatedness of the original and supplemental complaints). ...

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