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Neale v. Sherman

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 29, 2018

JOSEPH NEALE, JR. Plaintiff,
v.
STU SHERMAN, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (ECF NO. 1) FOURTEEN-DAY DEADLINE

          BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Screening Requirement and Standard

         Plaintiff Joseph Neale, Jr. (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's complaint, filed on March 2, 2018, is currently before the Court for screening. (ECF No. 1.)

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, courts “are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences.” Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted). To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. United States Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         II. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner currently housed at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Corcoran, California, where the events in the complaint are alleged to have occurred. Plaintiff names the following defendants: (1) Warden Stu Sherman; (2) Chief Deputy Warden Maurice Junious; and (3) Associate Warden - Housing K. Comaites.

         Plaintiff claims that four large boxes of his personal and legal property were lost, misplaced stolen, and/or discarded. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that on March 13, 2008, after being threatened by a cellmate, he was compelled to request a cell change. Plaintiff explains that usually in such a circumstance an inmate is moved to a different cell within the General Population, but Plaintiff was instead sent to Ad Seg, which allowed custody to confiscate all of his property. In total, Plaintiff asserts that six large boxes of her legal and personal property were seized. Several months later, when Plaintiff was released from Ad Seg, only two small boxes of his personal property were returned to him. Plaintiff alleges that all of his legal property, trial transcripts, discovery, ethnological and penological research data, his open letter to the general American public about prison administration, management, and the treatment of inmates, and his personal intellectual properties, etc., were never returned to him.

         Plaintiff contends that he was emotionally, mentally, intellectually, psychologically and physically devastated by the loss of all his legal and personal property. Plaintiff is asking the Court to compel the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to find and return his property or to compensate him financially for its value in the amount of $500, 000.00.

         III. Discussion

         A. Linkage Requirement

The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides:
Every person who, under color of [state law] ... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States ... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution ... shall be liable to the party injured in an action ...

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