United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING
DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (ECF NO. 39) FOURTEEN (14)
Barbara A. McAuliffe UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Ivan Lee Matthews (“Plaintiff”) is a state
prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On
January 25, 2016, the Court found that Plaintiff's fourth
amended complaint stated cognizable claims against Defendants
Liles, Sherrett, and Cable (“Defendants”) for
retaliation and denial of access to the courts in violation
of the First Amendment arising from the denial of
Plaintiff's legal papers. (ECF No. 22.)
September 6, 2016, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). By their motion,
Defendants seek to dismiss the fourth amended complaint on
the grounds that Plaintiff failed to state claims for
retaliation and denial of access to courts in violation of
the First Amendment and Defendants are entitled to qualified
immunity. In addition, Defendants move to strike
Plaintiff's request for punitive damages as not
recoverable as a matter of law based on the facts alleged,
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f). (ECF No.
39.) On September 29, 2016, Plaintiff opposed the motion, and
Defendants replied on October 5, 2016. (ECF Nos. 43, 45.) The
motion is deemed submitted. Local Rule 230(1).
reasons discussed below, the Court recommends that
Defendants' motion to dismiss be granted in part and
denied in part.
Summary of Relevant Allegations in the Fourth Amended
is currently a state prisoner housed at Salinas Valley State
Prison in Soledad, California. At the time of the events
alleged in the complaint, Plaintiff was housed at the
California Correctional Institution (“CCI”) in
Tehachapi, California. Prior to Plaintiff's transfer to
CCI, he was pursuing civil rights actions and habeas
petitions in Monterey County Superior Court, Kings County
Superior Court, and the California Court of Appeal.
April 4, 2012, Plaintiff transferred to CCI. At that time,
Defendant Liles was a correctional sergeant and Defendants
Sherrett and Cable were property officers.
April 19, 2012, Defendants Liles, Sherrett, and Cable
obstructed Plaintiff's right to pursue civil rights
actions and habeas corpus petitions in Monterey County
Superior Court, Kings County Superior Court, and the
California Court of Appeal. Defendants took this adverse
action against Plaintiff as retaliation, which caused actual
injury by the dismissal of his court cases. Plaintiff alleges
that he was unable to meet the courts' time limitations
to file a response because he was deprived of 1, 500 to 2,
000 pages of his trial transcripts, 6 briefs, and 2 habeas
corpus petitions that were required to be used in his cases
after he was processed into CCI. Defendants Liles, Sherrett,
and Cable also deprived Plaintiff of property valued at
$400.00 because he filed 602 appeals and staff complaints.
April 19, 2012, Plaintiff talked to Defendants Sherrett and
Cable about the deprivation of trial transcripts, briefs,
habeas corpus petitions, and property valued at $400.00.
Plaintiff told Defendants that he had pending court deadlines
to meet and needed possession of his legal and personal
property. Defendants reportedly responded that Plaintiff did
not have “shit coming” and if he wanted the
items, then he should appeal or get it through the courts,
since he knows how to sue people.
2012, Plaintiff spoke to Defendant Liles about the refusal of
Defendants Sherrett and Cable to return the trial
transcripts, briefs, habeas petitions, and property valued at
$400.00. Plaintiff also told Defendant Liles about his
pending court deadlines. Defendant Liles indicated that he
know of Plaintiff's situation. Plaintiff asked if
Defendant Liles was going to have Plaintiff's legal
materials and property returned due to imminent and overdue
court deadlines. Defendant Liles responded that it was not
his problem and Plaintiff should 602 appeal it.
April 20 and 23, 2012, Plaintiff submitted a CDCR 22 Request
for Interview, Item, or Service Form addressed to Defendants
Liles, Sherrett, and Cable requesting that they return his
trial transcripts, briefs, habeas corpus petitions, and
personal property valued at $400.00. Plaintiff did not
receive a response.
20, 2012, Plaintiff submitted a staff complaint/602 appeal
against Defendants Liles, Sherrett, and Cable to the appeals
coordinators. Plaintiff did not receive a response.
about June 18 or 19, 2012, Plaintiff submitted another staff
complaint/602 appeal against Defendants Liles, Sherrett, and
Cable. On July 12, 2012, Plaintiff received a 602 rejection
at the first level. On July 14, 2012, Plaintiff resubmitted
the staff complaint/602 appeal with the corrective action