United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
ALLISON CLAIRE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a state prisoner proceeding pro se, seeks relief pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and has requested leave to proceed in
forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
has requested authority pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 to
proceed in forma pauperis. ECF No. 2. Plaintiff's
declaration makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a). However, the court will not assess a filing fee at
this time. Instead, the undersigned will recommend that the
complaint be summarily dismissed.
Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints
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 upon which
relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
“is [legally] frivolous where it lacks an arguable
basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v.
Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984).
“[A] judge may dismiss [in forma pauperis] claims which
are based on indisputably meritless legal theories or whose
factual contentions are clearly baseless.” Jackson
v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1989) (citation
and internal quotations omitted), superseded by statute
on other grounds as stated in Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d
1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000); Neitzke, 490 U.S. at
327. The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim,
however inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only ‘a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, ' in order to ‘give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (alteration in
original) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47
(1957)). However, in order to survive dismissal for failure
to state a claim, a complaint must contain more than “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action;” it must contain factual allegations sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. (citations omitted). “[T]he
pleading must contain something more . . . than . . . a
statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a
legally cognizable right of action.” Id.
(alteration in original) (quoting 5 Charles Alan Wright &
Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure
' 1216 (3d ed. 2004)).
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S.
at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 556). In reviewing a
complaint under this standard, the court must accept as true
the allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital
Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hosp. Trs., 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976),
as well as construe the pleading in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff and resolve all doubts in the
plaintiff's favor, Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395
U.S. 411, 421 (1969).
alleges that in October 2011, defendants Turner, Alvord,
Bailey, Nystrom, Collins, and Hanisee violated state law and
plaintiff's rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments when they denied him parole because of his past
criminal record. ECF No. 1 at 5. For the reasons set forth
below, the undersigned will recommend that the complaint be
dismissed without leave to amend.
Defendants Are Entitled to Absolute Immunity
Sellars v. Procunier, 641 F.2d 1295 (9th Cir. 1981),
the Ninth Circuit addressed the question of whether parole
board officials are entitled to qualified or absolute
immunity from civil rights suits. In holding that parole
board officials were entitled to absolute immunity, the court
observed that “[t]o be sure, absolute immunity for
parole board officials does leave the genuinely wronged
prisoner without civil redress against the official whose
malicious or dishonest actions deprive the prisoner of
liberty. But qualifying that immunity would disserve the
broader public interest.” Id. at 1303.
Specifically, the court found that because “parole
board officials perform functionally comparable tasks to
judges when they decide to grant, deny, or revoke
parole” the broader public interest would best be
served by granting parole board officials the absolute
immunity given to judges in order to keep them free from fear
of litigation. Id.
has identified all of the defendants as parole board
officials and they are therefore immune from suit and ...