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Griffiths v. Tolson

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 23, 2017

STEVEN GRIFFITHS, Plaintiff,
v.
R. TOLSON, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DISMISSAL OF CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEFENDANTS (ECF NOS. 19, 20) FOURTEEN (14) DAY DEADLINE

          BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Findings and Recommendations Following Screening

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Steven Griffiths (“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 August 10, 2015. (ECF No. 1.)

         On May 25, 2017, the Court screened Plaintiff's second amended complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and found that it stated cognizable claims for failure to protect in violation of the Eighth Amendment against Defendant Ramirez, but failed to state a cognizable claim against any other defendants. The Court provided Plaintiff with an opportunity to file a third amended complaint or notify the Court of his willingness to proceed only on his cognizable claims. (ECF No. 20.)

         On June 22, 2017, Plaintiff notified the Court of his willingness to proceed only on his cognizable claims. (ECF No. 21.) Accordingly, the Court issues the following Findings and Recommendations.

         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 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (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 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 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 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         II. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility. The events in the complaint are alleged to have occurred at Kern Valley State Prison and California Substance Abuse Treatment facility and State Prison (CSTAF/SP). Plaintiff names the following defendants: (1) Acting Chief Deputy Warden R. Tolson; and (2) Acting Captain, K. Ramirez. Plaintiff alleges as follows:

         On July 31, 2013, Plaintiff was seen by the classification committee to determine Plaintiff's safety issues. The warden had granted/modified an appeal and directed staff to convene a committee hearing to determine Plaintiff's single cell needs. Defendants were committee members. Defendant K. Ramirez had interviewed Plaintiff before the committee meeting, on four occasions, concerning the history of in cell assaults. Plaintiff provided the names of four cellmates who had previously assaulted Plaintiff in his cell and gave Defendant Ramirez the injury reports from the assaults. Plaintiff provided Defendant Ramirez documentation from other inmates about intolerable conditions within Plaintiff's cell due to Plaintiff's colostomy and urinary catheterizations. (ECF No. 19, p. 4.) The committee incorrectly and falsely stated that in cell assaults has not occurred and continued to double cell Plaintiff. Plaintiff was subjected to further in cell abuse and injury from inmates who were forced into Plaintiff's cell.

         III. Discussion

         A. ...


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