United States District Court, N.D. California
CESAR A. RODRIGUEZ, Plaintiff,
CRAIG KOENIG, et al., Defendants.
ORDER OF PARTIAL DISMISSAL; AND SERVICE OF COGNIZABLE
GONZALEZ ROGERS United States District Judge.
a former state prisoner who was previously incarcerated at
the Correctional Training Facility (“CTF”), filed
a pro se civil rights complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff will be granted leave to
proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) in a
separate written Order.
is proper because the events giving rise to the claim are
alleged to have occurred in CTF, which is located in this
judicial district. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).
complaint, Plaintiff names the following Defendants: CTF
Warden Craig Koenig; California Board of Parole Hearings
(“BPH” or “Board”) Commissioner Pete
Labahn; BPH Deputy Commissioner James Martin, and
“‘Doe's' Board members and California
courts.” Dkt. 1 at 2-3. Plaintiff seeks monetary
damages. Id. at 3-4.
Standard of Review
federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any
case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental
entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must
identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that
are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. §
1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally
construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't,
901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege two essential elements:
(1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the
United States was violated, and (2) the alleged violation was
committed by a person acting under the color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
claims that when he appeared before the Board on June 13,
2017, Defendants “ignored their established procedures
and statutes” as required by state law, thereby
violating his rights to due process by “depriving him
of an actual length of incarceration that matches his
culpability, reformation, and offense . . . .” Dkt. 1
at 3. Liberally construed, Plaintiff's allegations appear
to state an arguably cognizable claim under § 1983 for a
violation of due process. See Swarthout v. Cooke,
562 U.S. 216, 220 (2011) (prisoner subject to parole statute
similar to California's receives adequate process when
allowed opportunity to be heard and provided statement of
reasons why parole was denied).
Court notes that although the complaint names Defendant
Koenig, the warden at CTF, as a defendant, Plaintiff makes no
specific allegations against him. See Dkt. 1 at 3.
Therefore, Defendant Koenig is DISMISSED because Plaintiff
does not allege that this Defendant actually or proximately
caused the deprivation of any federally protected right.
See Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 634 (9th Cir.
1988). It seems that Plaintiff could be contending Defendant
Koenig is liable based on the conduct of his subordinates.
However, there is no respondeat superior liability under
Section 1983. See Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040,
1045 (9th Cir. 1989). Instead, Plaintiff must allege that the
supervisory liability defendant “participated in or
directed the violations, or knew of the violations and failed
to act to prevent them.” Id. Here, no facts
are alleged to establish supervisorial liability on the part
of Defendant Koenig. Accordingly, to the extent that
Plaintiff contends Defendant Koenig is liable based on the
conduct of his subordinates, such a supervisory liability
claim is DISMISSED without prejudice.
Plaintiff identifies “‘Doe's' Board
members and California courts, ” whose names he intends
to learn through discovery. The use of Doe Defendants is not
favored in the Ninth Circuit. See Gillespie v.
Civiletti, 629 F.2d 637, 642 (9th Cir. 1980). However,
where the identity of alleged defendants cannot be known
prior to the filing of a complaint the plaintiff should be
given an opportunity through discovery to identify them.
Id. Failure to afford the plaintiff such an
opportunity is error. See Wakefield v. Thompson, 177
F.3d 1160, 1163 (9th Cir. 1999). Accordingly, the claims
against these Doe Defendants are DISMISSED from this action
without prejudice. Should Plaintiff learn these Doe