United States District Court, E.D. California
(1) DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS AS MOOT; (2)
DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO FILE PLAINTIFF'S LODGED FIRST
AMENDED COMPLAINT NUNC PRO TUNC; (3) GRANTING DEFENDANTS'
REQUEST TO SCREEN THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT; AND (4)
DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF
NOS. 29, 31, AND 33)
MICHAEL J. SENG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis
in this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. On August 31, 2016, the then-assigned magistrate
judge screened Plaintiff's complaint and found it to
state a cognizable First Amendment claim against Defendants
Franklin and Ramos. (ECF No. 11.) These Defendants appeared on
April 28, 2017, by filing a motion to dismiss. Plaintiff did
not file an opposition to the motion; instead, he lodged a
First Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 31.) Defendants now move
the Court to screen this new pleading. (ECF No. 33.)
forma pauperis statute provides, “Notwithstanding any
filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid,
the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court
determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
1983 “provides a cause of action for the deprivation of
any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws of the United States.” Wilder
v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990)
(quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a
source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method
for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere.
Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).
state a claim under § 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. See West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda
Cnty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).
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)).
Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. Facial
plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a
defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations
are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.
times relevant to this action, Plaintiff was a state inmate
housed at California Substantive Abuse Treatment Facility
(“CSATF”) in Corcoran, California. He names as
Defendants Mail Room Employee Ms. Franklin and Appeals
Coordinator Mr. Ramos.
allegations may be fairly summarized as follows:
maintains a “correspondence approval” to
communicate with his brother, an inmate in the New York
Department of Corrections. This approval is transferrable
among California Department of Corrections
(“CDCR”) institutions, and it was in
Plaintiff's Central File at CSATF as early as October 19,
February 27, 2014, Plaintiff received a CDCR Form
informing him that he has received mail from his brother, but
that the mail “was being disapproved due to ‘no
approval on file in the mail room.'” That same day,
Plaintiff submitted a request for a copy of his
“correspondence approval” to ...