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Uhuru v. Eldridge

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 17, 2019

KOHEN DIALLO UHURU, Plaintiff,
v.
LAURA ELDRIDGE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          KENDALL J. NEWMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner, proceeding without counsel. Plaintiff seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and has requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         Plaintiff submitted a declaration that makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Accordingly, the request to proceed in forma pauperis 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 this order, plaintiff will be assessed an initial partial filing fee in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 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 to make monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding month's income credited to plaintiff's 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).

         II. Screening Standards

         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 upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2).

         A claim 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 when 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), superseded by statute as stated in Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130-31 (9th Cir. 2000) (“[A] judge may dismiss [in forma pauperis] claims which are based on indisputably meritless legal theories or whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.”); Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227.

         Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “requires only ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). In order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, a complaint must contain more than “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action;” it must contain factual allegations sufficient “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at 555. However, “[s]pecific facts are not necessary; the statement [of facts] need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555, citations and internal quotations marks omitted). In reviewing a complaint under this standard, the court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93, and construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974), overruled on other grounds, Davis v. Scherer, 468 U.S. 183 (1984).

         III. Plaintiff's Complaint

         Plaintiff alleges constitutional violations arising from incidents that occurred while he was housed at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton, (“CHCF”) and the California Men's Colony-East (“CMC-E”) in San Luis Obispo. In his first claim, plaintiff alleges violations of the First Amendment, medical care, disciplinary proceedings, property, exercise of religion, retaliation, excessive force by an officer, threat to safety, and “mental health malevolence.” (ECF No. 1 at 5.) In the injury portion of his first claim, plaintiff claims that he was put in ad seg at CMF in Vacaville, fell off a top bunk unconscious at RJ Donovan State Prison (“RJD”) in San Diego, CMC-E changed plaintiff's medical chrono, and “the defendants destroyed [plaintiff's] musical instruments.” (ECF No. 1 at 5.)

         In his second claim, plaintiff alleges violations of the Eighth Amendment, basic necessities, mail, access to the court, threat to safety, and fabricated disciplinaries for punishment based on incidents at CMC-E and CHCF. (ECF No. 1 at 6.) In the injury portion of the second claim, plaintiff alleges he was injured while inappropriately housed on an upper tier and fell during a seizure; the denial of his right to practice his Nubian Hebrew Israelite Religion of fasting was written up as a disciplinary so-called hunger strike; and he was involuntarily placed in the hospital at RJD. (ECF No. 1 at 6.)

         In his third claim, plaintiff alleges violations of the Fourteenth Amendment citing basic necessities, disciplinary proceedings, property, exercise of religion, retaliation, threat to safety, and inadequate mental health care. (ECF No. 1 at 7.) Plaintiff alleges that the false disciplinaries cause him to be illegally imprisoned without hope. (Id.)

         Plaintiff names 19 defendants at CHCF and CMC-E, including two wardens. Plaintiff seeks money damages, as well as an acknowledgment that his religious beliefs are authentic, and asks that he be recognized as a minister of the Nubian Hebrew Israelites in ...


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