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Martin v. Basnett

United States District Court, N.D. California

April 4, 2018

FLOYD AARON MARTIN, Plaintiff,
v.
Z. BASNETT, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

          YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, a state prisoner currently incarcerated at California State Prison-Los Angeles County, has filed the instant pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against prison officials at Pelican Bay State Prison (“PBSP”), where he was previously incarcerated. Dkt. 1. He has also filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, which will be granted in a separate written Order.

         Plaintiff has named the following Defendants at PBSP: Sergeant Z. Basnett; and Correctional Officers E. Burr, E. Contreras, D. Torne, and R. Scruggs. Id. at 2.[1] Plaintiff seeks monetary and punitive damages. Id. at 3.

         Venue is proper because the events giving rise to Plaintiff's claims in his complaint are alleged to have occurred at PBSP, which is located in this judicial district. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).

         The Court now reviews Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DISMISSES the complaint with leave to amend to correct certain deficiencies addressed below.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 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. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

         B. Legal Claims

         Plaintiff states that, on December 28, 2016, Defendants Burr, Contreras and Basnett “with other unidentified officers extracted Plaintiff and his cellmate from their cell and confiscated everything from the cell . . . leaving behind only trash . . . .” Dkt. 1 at 5. Plaintiff claims that he “was left without basic human necessities and religious liberties for at least 14 days with no pen[o]logical reason.” Id.

         On January 2, 2017, Plaintiff filed a CDCR Form 22, Inmate/Parolee Request for Interview, Item or Service, to request for the return of his property, but Defendants Basnett only returned Plaintiff's cellmate's property. Id.

         On January 10, 2017, Defendants Burr and Contreras returned Plaintiff's property “excluding his T.V. and typewriter that were alleged to be altered.” Id. However, Plaintiff claims that “R&R found them not to be altered and returned them later.” Id.

         In early February 2017, Plaintiff had a disciplinary hearing for three serious Rules Violation Reports (“RVRs”) stemming from the December 28, 2016 search, including possession of a cellphone, and altering his T.V. and typewriter. Id. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Contreras retaliated against Plaintiff for filing grievances by falsifying documents related to the RVR involving the altered typewriter. Id. at 6. Plaintiff was found ...


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