United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND
PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON, United States District Judge.
a state prisoner, has filed a pro se civil rights complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He has been granted leave to
proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff filed an original
complaint (Docket No. 1) and then an amended complaint
(Docket No. 8). The court has reviewed the amended complaint.
courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in
which prisoners seek 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 which 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. at 1915A(b)(1), (2).
Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri
v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief." "Specific facts are not
necessary; the statement 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) (citations omitted).
Although in order to state a claim a complaint “does
not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds'
of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do. . . . Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). A
complaint must proffer "enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at
570. The United States Supreme Court has recently explained
the “plausible on its face” standard of
Twombly: “While legal conclusions can provide
the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by
factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual
allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
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) that the alleged deprivation was committed by a
person acting under the color of state law. West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
alleges that he was improperly found guilty of several false
disciplinary violations in retaliation for his protected
Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S.
Constitution protects individuals against governmental
deprivations of life, liberty or property without due process
of law. Interests that are procedurally protected by the Due
Process Clause may arise from two sources: the Due Process
Clause itself and laws of the states. See Meachum v.
Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 224-27 (1976). In the prison
context, these interests are generally ones pertaining to
liberty. Changes in conditions so severe as to affect the
sentence imposed in an unexpected manner implicate the Due
Process Clause itself, whether or not they are authorized by
state law. See Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484
(1995) (citing Vitek v. Jones, 445 U.S. 480, 493
(1980) (transfer to mental hospital), and Washington v.
Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 221-22 (1990) (involuntary
administration of psychotropic drugs)). Deprivations that are
less severe or more closely related to the expected terms of
confinement may also amount to deprivations of a protected
liberty interest, provided that the liberty in question is
one of “real substance.” See Sandin, 515
U.S. at 477-87. An interest of “real substance”
will generally be limited to freedom from restraint that
imposes an “atypical and significant hardship on the
inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison
life” or “will inevitably affect the duration of
[a] sentence.” Id. at 484, 487. The placement
of an inmate in a highly restrictive housing setting may
amount to a deprivation of a liberty interest of “real
substance” within the meaning of Sandin.
See Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 224 (2005).
there is a deprivation of a liberty interest of real
substance, the procedural protections to which the prisoner
is entitled depend on whether the deprivation results from a
disciplinary decision or an administrative decision. If it is
a disciplinary decision, the procedural protections required
are: written notice, time to prepare for the hearing, a
written statement of decision, allowance of witnesses and
documentary evidence when not unduly hazardous, and aid to
the accused where the inmate is illiterate or the issues are
complex. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 564-67
(1974). The Due Process Clause requires only that prisoners
be afforded those procedures mandated by Wolff and
its progeny; it does not require that prisons comply with
their own, more generous procedures. See Walker v.
Sumner, 14 F.3d 1415, 1419-20 (9th Cir. 1994),
overruled on other grounds by Sandin v. Connor, 515
U.S. 472. A prisoner's right to due process is violated
“only if he [is] not provided with process sufficient
to meet the Wolff standard.” Id. at
also must be some reliable evidence to support the
disciplinary decision, see Superintendent v. Hill,
472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985); Cato v. Rushen, 824 F.2d
703, 704-05 (9th Cir. 1987). “Ascertaining whether [the
some evidence] standard is satisfied does not require
examination of the entire record, independent assessment of
the credibility of witnesses, or weighing of the evidence.
Instead, the relevant question is whether there is any
evidence in the record that could support the conclusion
reached” by the disciplinary hearing officer.
Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. at 455-56. This
standard is considerably lower than that applicable in
criminal trials. See id. at 456.
the prison context, a viable claim of First Amendment
retaliation entails five basic elements: (1) An assertion
that a state actor took some adverse action against an inmate
(2) because of (3) that prisoner's protected conduct, and
that such action (4) chilled the inmate's exercise of his
First Amendment rights, and (5) the action did not reasonably
advance a legitimate correctional goal.” Rhodes v.
Robinson, 408 F.3d 559, 567-68 (9th Cir. 2005) (footnote
omitted). Accord Pratt v. Rowland, 65 F.3d 802, 806
(9th Cir. 1995) (prisoner suing prison officials under §
1983 for retaliation must allege that he was retaliated
against for exercising his constitutional rights and that the
retaliatory action did not advance legitimate penological
goals, such as preserving institutional order and
discipline). The prisoner must show that the type of activity
he was engaged in was constitutionally protected, that the
protected conduct was a substantial or motivating factor for
the alleged retaliatory action, and that the retaliatory
action advanced no legitimate penological interest. Hines
v. Gomez, 108 F.3d 265, 267-68 (9th Cir. 1997)
(inferring retaliatory motive from circumstantial evidence).
alleges that defendant Caballero made false allegations and
fabricated evidence that resulted in disciplinary
proceedings. He states that Caballero engaged in this conduct
in retaliation for plaintiff refusing to be a snitch.
Plaintiff alleges that defendant Ivey interviewed him for a
disciplinary hearing and defendant Martinez was ...