United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
CAROLYN K. DELANEY, 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. This proceeding was referred to this court by
Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
plaintiff has submitted a declaration that makes the showing
required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), his request will be
granted. Plaintiff is required to pay the statutory filing
fee of $350.00 for this action. 28 U.S.C. §§
1914(a), 1915(b)(1). By separate order, the court will direct
the appropriate agency to collect the initial partial filing
fee from plaintiff's trust account and forward it to the
Clerk of the Court. Thereafter, plaintiff will be obligated
for monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding
month's income credited to plaintiff's prison trust
account. These payments will be forwarded by the appropriate
agency to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in
plaintiff's account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee
is paid in full. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
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 when 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). The court may, therefore, dismiss a
claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. The
critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however
inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual basis.
See Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir.
1989); Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227.
order to avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim a
complaint must contain more than “naked assertions,
” “labels and conclusions” or “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555-557 (2007). In other words, “[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).
Furthermore, a claim upon which the court can grant relief
has facial plausibility. Twombly, 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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
When considering whether a complaint states a claim upon
which relief can be granted, the court must accept the
allegations as true, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007), and construe the complaint in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, see Scheuer v. Rhodes,
416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974).
Allegations in the Complaint
the allegations in plaintiff's complaint occurred while
he was an inmate at Mule Creek State Prison. The complaint
names three individual officers as defendants who are sued in
their individual as well as official capacities. According to
the allegations in the complaint, Officer Bradley ordered
plaintiff to provide a urine sample in December 2015 in
retaliation for plaintiff's report of a drug dealer and
alcohol maker in the prison. ECF No. 1 at 2-3. Plaintiff also
alleges that these actions were done in retaliation for a
lawsuit that plaintiff filed against officers who were
involved in an undescribed June 27, 2014 incident.
Id. at 3. Defendant Bradley issued plaintiff a rules
violation report or “115” after plaintiff
indicated that he did not want to provide a urine sample due
to his chronic diseases. Id. at 2. Defendant Bradley
then conducted a nude search of plaintiff and made him wait
for the urine test for “about 3 hours in [the] cold
weather [of] 30º or less outside.” Id. at
2. These actions caused plaintiff to suffer pain, emotional
distress, embarrassment, and heart problems. Id. at
4. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Bradley's actions
violated the First and Eighth Amendments to the federal
Constitution. Id. at 2-3.
Hang was appointed plaintiff's employee assistant for the
administrative hearing related to the 115 issued by defendant
Bradley. ECF No. 1 at 8. According to plaintiff, defendant
Hang did not do anything to help plaintiff, who is not a
native English speaker, and failed to explain the hearing
procedure to him. Id. These actions allegedly
constituted a violation of the due process clause.
further alleges that defendant Mrs. Santillan violated his
right to due process when she found him guilty of the 115
issued by defendant Bradley. ECF No. 1 at 5. Specifically,
plaintiff states that defendant Santillan did not call any of
plaintiff's witnesses at the hearing and she refused to
delay the hearing, all allegedly done in violation of due
process. Id. By way of relief, plaintiff is seeking
compensatory and punitive damages.
Official Capacity Claims
outset, the court notes that plaintiff brings this action
against defendants in both their official and individual
capacities. However, plaintiff may not bring a suit for
damages against defendants in their official capacities.
“The Eleventh Amendment bars suits for money damages in
federal court against a state, its agencies, and state
officials in their official capacities.” Aholelei
v. Dept. of Public Safety, 488 F.3d 1144, 1147 (9th Cir.
2007) (citations omitted). However, the Eleventh Amendment
does not bar suits seeking damages against state officials in
their personal capacities, Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S.
21, 30 (1991); Porter v. Jones, 319 F.3d 483, 491
(9th Cir. 2003), or suits for declaratory or injunctive
relief brought against state officials in their official
capacities, Austin v. State ...