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Gradford v. Mejia

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 12, 2017

WILLIAM J. GRADFORD, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPUTY MEJIA, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION FOR FAILURE TO STATE A COGNIZABLE CLAIM FOR RELIEF, AND THAT DISMISSAL COUNT AS A STRIKE PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) (ECF No. 1)

         Plaintiff William J. Gradford is a detainee appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.

         On April 14, 2017, Plaintiff filed the original complaint in this case, (ECF No. 1), which is currently before the Court for screening.

         I. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

         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)). Plaintiff must demonstrate that each named defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-677; Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-1021 (9th Cir. 2010).

         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” fall short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         II. COMPLAINT ALLEGATIONS

         Plaintiff is a detainee who is currently housed at the Stanislaus Public Safety Center (“SPSC”), in Modesto, California, where the events at issue occurred.

         Plaintiff names the following individuals as defendants: Deputy Mejia, employed by the SPSC as a “jailer/sheriff, ” and Deputy Yousefpoor, also employed by SPSC as a “jailer/sheriff.” Plaintiff alleges as follows: On or about March 29, 2017, Deputy Mejia opened/ read Plaintiff's legal mail letter, incoming from the United States District Court Eastern District of California (Fresno District) Office of the Clerk, without him being present or without his permission. The letter was marked official business underneath on front of letterhead.

         Plaintiff alleges that he submitted a request for administrative relief on this claim, but did not appeal it to the highest level. Plaintiff has Deputy Mejia's grievance response admitting his guilt, and Sergeant Johnson stated that he would take care of it administratively.

         Also on or about March 31, 2017, Deputy Yousefpoor open/read Plaintiff's two incoming legal mail letters (one kraft, one regular) from the United States District Court Eastern District of California Office of the Clerk, Fresno Division. It clearly stated on the front, underneath the letters' heading, “official business.” The letters were opened without Plaintiff being present and without his permission.

         Plaintiff alleges that he submitted a request for administrative relief on this claim, but did not appeal it to the highest level. Plaintiff has Deputy Yousefpoor's grievance response admitting his guilt, and Sergeant Johnson stated that he would take care of it administratively.

         Plaintiff is seeking monetary damages for the violation of his rights.

         III. ...


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