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Wilson v. Fox

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 26, 2017

DAVID W. WILSON, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT W. FOX, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          DEBORAH BARNES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's original complaint was dismissed for containing unrelated claims against different defendants in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a)(2). Plaintiff was granted leave to amend but advised that, if he chooses to amend, he may only allege claims that (a) arise out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences, and (b) present questions of law or fact common to all defendants named therein. Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(2). Plaintiff's first amended complaint is now before the court for screening.

         I. Screening Requirement

         The in 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).

         II. Pleading Standard

         Section 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).

         To 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).

         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 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. at 677-78.

         III. Plaintiff's Allegations

         At all times relevant to this action, plaintiff was a state inmate housed at California Medical Facility (“CMF”) in Vacaville, California. He names as defendants CMF Warden Robert Fox; the former CMF Warden Duffy; Associate Wardens and Chief Deputy Wardens at CMF Hurley, Thumser, Kaplin, and Cueva; Captain Codero; Correctional Officers Olson, Martinez, Barclay, Carpe, Richardson, Warren, Shaw, Thomas, Blueford, Jenkins, Tennant, Brown, and Walker; Supervising Cooks Garcia, McMasters, Dang, and Terrell; Psychologist Valassopous; and Psychiatrist Kaw.[1]

         As with his original pleading, plaintiff's first amended complaint is long, rambling, and difficult to decipher. As best as the court can determine, plaintiff asserts a number of unrelated claims spanning a two-year period. Some of these claims include (1) a violation of his equal protection rights based on the interval between inmates' release from their cells for toilet use and access to institutional programs; (2) a conditions of confinement claim based on the use of cage showers and the existence of mold in those showers; (3) limitations on yard access activities; (4) retaliation for filing inmate grievances; (5) a conditions of confinement claim based on the defendants' use of fans in the chow halls during the winter months to rush them out; (6) sanitary and hygiene violations by chow hall workers; and (7) the dayroom causes “sensory deprivation” due to the loud sounds, yelling, and a constantly-playing television. Attached to plaintiff's first amended complaint are over 250 pages of exhibits.

         Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief and damages.

         IV. Discussion

         Plaintiff has again asserted a number of unrelated claims against many defendants in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a)(2), which permits a plaintiff to sue multiple defendants in the same action only if “any right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences, ” and there is a “question of law or fact common to all defendants.” “Thus multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2. Unrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits ...” George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing ...


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