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Hafiz v. Yates

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 15, 2019

JAMES YATES, et al., Defendants.



         I. Background

         Plaintiff Abdullah Naim Hafiz is a former state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         Plaintiff filed his original complaint on August 30, 2013. (ECF No. 1.) On February 6, 2015, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint with leave to amend for failure to state a cognizable claim for relief. (ECF No. 6.) On March 16, 2015, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint. (ECF No. 7.) On April 25, 2016, the undersigned dismissed the action for failure to state a cognizable claim for relief and judgment was entered. (ECF Nos. 16, 17.) Plaintiff filed a notice of appeal on May 9, 2016. (ECF No. 18.)

         On June 13, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded the action to this Court. (ECF No. 22.) Specifically, the Ninth Circuit found that, because all the parties, including unserved defendants, had not consented to proceed before the magistrate judge, the magistrate judge did not have jurisdiction to validly dismiss Plaintiff's first amended complaint as stated in Williams v. King, 875 F.3d 500 (9th Cir. 2017). (Id.) Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit vacated the dismissal order and judgment, and this case was remanded for further proceedings. (Id.) The mandate issued on July 5, 2019. (ECF No. 23).

         Accordingly, Plaintiff's first amended complaint, filed on March 16, 2015, is currently before the Court for screening. (ECF No. 7.)

         II. Screening Requirement and Standard

         The 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 on which relief may be granted, ” or that “seek[] monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         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 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Moreover, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of Plaintiff's rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002).

         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. Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (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 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The “sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully” is not sufficient, and “facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability” falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         III. Plaintiff's Allegations

         The events in the first amended complaint are alleged to have occurred at Pleasant Valley State Prison (“PVSP”). Plaintiff names the following defendants: (1) former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; (2) former California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) Secretary Matthew Cate; (3) former PVSP Warden James Yates; (4) PVSP Warden Brazelton; (5) PVSP Chief Medical Officer F. Igbinosa; (6) former Director of Adult Operations Susan Hubbard; (7) Chief Deputy Secretary Deborah Hysen; (8) J. Clark Kelso; (9) former Chief of Classification T. Rothchild; (10) former CDCR Medical Director D. Winslow, M.D.; (11) Appeals Coordinator J. Morgan; and (12) Appeals Coordinator L. Rodriguez.

         Plaintiff's first amended complaint consists largely of detailed allegations regarding Valley Fever, and the underlying research that established Valley Fever as a disseminated disease. Plaintiff sets forth statistics and history to support his claim that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to a serious risk to Plaintiff's health or safety. Plaintiff recounts statistics regarding inmate mortality, prison design, and soil conditions.

         Plaintiff alleges that he is African-American and that he suffered from Hepatitis C and hypertension when he was transferred to PVSP. Plaintiff alleges that, since he is at a higher risk for Valley Fever, he never should have been sent to PVSP. Plaintiff alleges that he discovered that a grand jury report revealed that, in 2007 and 2008, Defendants ...

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