United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO RANDOMLY ASSIGN
DISTRICT JUDGE FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING
DISMISSAL OF ACTION FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (ECF NO.
BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Eugene Carlton Brown (“Plaintiff”) is a state
prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this
civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On May 8,
2019, the Court screened Plaintiff's complaint and
granted him leave to amend. (ECF No. 9.) Plaintiff's
first amended complaint, filed on June 18, 2019, is currently
before the Court for screening. (Doc. No. 10.)
Screening Requirement and Standard
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. §§
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)).
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).
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 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. U.S. Secret
Serv., 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 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572
F.3d at 969.
is currently housed at the Sierra Conservation Center in
Jamestown, California, where the events in the complaint are
alleged to have occurred. Plaintiff names the following
defendants in their individual and official capacities: (1)
S. Winn-Reed, Mailroom Manager/Supervisor; (2) J. Harris,
Captain; (3) P. Eaton, Associate Warden; (4) N. Fransham,
Chief OPS DAI, Office of Policy Standardization/Division of
Adult Institutions; (5) P. Quinn, Chief Deputy Warden; (6) H.
B. Anglea, Warden; (7) M. Voong, Office of Appeals Chief; (8)
G. Bickham, Captain, Appeals Examiner; and (9) Ralph Diaz,
Secretary of the California Department of Corrections &
alleges that on June 6, 2018, the mailroom staff at Sierra
Conservation Center withheld from him and disallowed the May
and June 2018 issues of Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal
News. These publications were disallowed for allegedly
violating the obscenity prohibition in Title 15 of the
California Code of Regulations, section 3135(d).
contends that his due process rights were violated when
Defendant S. Winn-Reed held Plaintiff's publications for
more than three weeks before obtaining a CDCR notice of
disapproval form from Defendant J. Harris. Upon receipt of
the notice, Plaintiff filed a CDCR 602 appeal on June 29,
S. Winn-Reed participated in the disallowance of
Plaintiff's publications. On July 16, 2018, Defendant S.
Winn-Reed allegedly requested approval from Defendant N.
Fransham to place the temporarily withheld publications on
the centralized disallowed publications list. Defendant
Fransham placed these publications on the disapproved list.
17, 2018, Defendant S. Winn-reed then heard the first level
review of Plaintiff's 602 appeal. Plaintiff contends that
Defendant Winn-Reed was not permitted to hear the appeal
according to prison regulations. During the hearing,
Defendant Winn-Reed stated, “I disallow these
publications from coming in because I do not want pictures
falling into the hands of sex offenders.” (ECF No. 10
at 6.) Plaintiff claims that he was denied the minimal
procedural due process protected by the Fourteenth Amendment,
which he asserts requires a two-level review and referral to
a prison official other than the person who originally
disapproved the publication. Plaintiff further alleges that
the publication did not contain photos or any obscene
language that would be a threat to security.
later learned that his April 2018 Criminal Legal News also
was being withheld. Defendant Harris failed to issue
Plaintiff a CDCR Notice of Disapproval form and the
publication was not on the centralized list of disapproved
further alleges that Defendants Eaton, Quinn, Anglea and Diaz
failed to put in place administrative policy and safeguards
to protect Plaintiff's rights through training of staff
in the mailroom. Plaintiff asserts that they prescribe and
enforce policy that caused a deprivation of Plaintiff's
First Amendment rights. In particular, Plaintiff faults CDCR
regulation section ...