United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO RANDOMLY ASSIGN
DISTRICT JUDGE TO ACTION FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM
FOR RELIEF (ECF No. 13)
Steven Deon Turner, Jr. is a state prisoner proceeding
pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On October
24, 2019, the Court screened Plaintiff's complaint and
found that Plaintiff had failed to state a cognizable claim.
(ECF No. 12.) Plaintiff was provided with the legal standards
that applied to his claims and granted leave to amend.
before the Court for screening is Plaintiff's first
amended complaint, filed on November 8, 2019. (ECF No. 13.)
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).
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
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.
SUMMARY OF ALLEGATIONS
Court accepts Plaintiff's allegations in his complaint as
true only for the purpose of the sua sponte
screening requirement under 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
names M. Munoz, A. Gray, Frye, Vasquez, and Chavez as
alleges that, on April 6, 2018, Defendant Munoz opened
Plaintiff's confidential mail from the Superior Court of
California, County of Kern outside of Plaintiff's
August 7, 2018, Defendant Munoz opened Plaintiff's
confidential mail from Patricia Shnell, civil rights
attorney, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations
outside of Plaintiff's presence.
September 17, 2018, the California Supreme Court sent
confidential mail to Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that this
piece of confidential mail was stolen by Defendant Gray.
March 3, 2019, Plaintiff sent confidential mail to various
individuals, including “Attorney Daniel K. Greene for
the United States No. 19-141C[.]” (ECF No. 13, at 8.)
Defendant Chavez signed Plaintiff's 22 form, which
Plaintiff converted to a proof of service, confirming that
Plaintiff sent out the mail as confidential mail. Plaintiff
sent the 22 form to mailroom staff E. Atencio and Defendant
Munoz. The mail room staff informed Plaintiff that the
confidential mail addressed to Daniel K. Greene did not go
out. Plaintiff alleges that, on March 3, 2019, Defendant
Chavez stole Plaintiff's confidential mail addressed to
Daniel K. Greene in case # 19-141C.
March 7, 2019, Plaintiff turned in an emergency appeal for
mail theft, log number CCI-0-19-00798.
15, 2019, Plaintiff sent his appeals, log number
CCI-0-19-00798 for mail theft and log number CCI-0-19-00472
for a yard issue, to the Chief, Inmate Appeals Branch,
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant Frye signed Plaintiff's 22 form in
front of Defendant Vasquez, “which [Plaintiff]
converted into a proof of service, confirming [Plaintiff]
sent out” the two appeals as confidential mail.
(Id. at 8.) Plaintiff then sent the 22 form to the
mail room. Mail room staff member E. Atencio informed
Plaintiff that one of the two appeals was mailed out from
California Correctional Institution. Plaintiff alleges that,
since only one of the two appeals was sent out, Defendants
Frye and Vasquez committed confidential mail theft by
stealing one of the two appeals in order to prevent
Plaintiff's appeal from reaching the third level of
review in an attempt to hide the misconduct of their fellow
officers and destroy Plaintiff's administrative appeal
remedy, thinking that their act would prevent Plaintiff's
complaint from being successful.
18, 2019, in the Facility B mailroom of California
Correctional Institution, Defendant Munoz opened
Plaintiff's confidential mail from the Clerk of the U.S.
Court of Appeals outside of Plaintiff's presence.
alleges that Defendants Chavez, Munoz, Gray, Frye, and
Vasquez are guilty of a chain conspiracy and deliberate
indifference, which was the moving factor in their decision
to deprive Plaintiff of his guaranteed right to correspond
confidentially. Plaintiff also asserts the Defendants have
maintained a consistent pattern and disregard for his right
to petition the government for redress of grievances.
Specifically, Plaintiff states that his confidential mail has
been intercepted and trashed, that his appeals get trashed or
held for months and are never returned, in hopes that
Plaintiff will give up on seeking justice for the wrongs that
he has suffered at the hands of officers at California
Correctional Institution. Plaintiff asserts that “these
appeals have been held for six months or more, and some still
have not come back[:]” log numbers CCI-0-17-0216,
CCI-0-17-00697, CCI-0-17-00778, CCI-0-17-00782, and
CCI-0-16-01-540. (Id. at 10.)
asserts that Defendants Munoz, Gray, Frye, Vasquez, and John
Doe are sued in both their individual and official
seeks declaratory relief, injunctive relief, compensatory
damages, punitive damages, costs of suit, and any additional
relief that the Court deems just, proper, and equitable.
asserts that he is suing each of the named Defendants in both
their individual and official capacities. Plaintiff seeks
monetary damages, injunctive relief, and declaratory relief
against each of the named Defendants.
against state officials in their official capacity …
should be treated as suits against the State.”
Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 25 (1991); Holley v.
Cal. Dep't of Corr., 599 F.3d 1108, 1111 (9th Cir.
2010) (treating prisoner's suit against state officials
in their official capacities as a suit against the state of
California). An official capacity suit “represent[s]
only another way of pleading an action against an entity of
which an officer is an agent.” Kentucky v.
Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165 (1985) (citation omitted).
Such a suit “is not a suit against the official
personally, for the real party in interest is the
entity.” Id. at 166.
Eleventh Amendment bars suits for money damages in federal
court against a state, its agencies, and state officials
acting in their official capacities.” Aholelei v.
Dep't of Public Safety, 488 F.3d 1144, 1147 (9th
Cir. 2007). Therefore, Plaintiff's claim for monetary
damages against all of the named Defendants in their official
capacity is barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
a claim for prospective injunctive relief against a state
official in his or her official capacity is not barred by the
Eleventh Amendment provided the official has authority to
implement the requested relief. Will v. Michigan
Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 92 (1989).
Moreover, “[a] plaintiff seeking injunctive relief
against the State is not required to allege a named
official's personal involvement in the acts or omissions
constituting the alleged constitutional violation.”
Hartmann v. Cal. Dep't of Corr. & Rehab.,
707 F.3d 1114, 1127 (9th Cir. 2013); see Rouser v.
White, 707 F.Supp.2d 1055, 1066 (E.D. Cal. 2010) (proper
defendant for injunctive relief in suit seeking
implementation of CDCR policy is the CDCR Secretary in his
official capacity). Instead, Plaintiff need only identify the
law or policy challenged as a constitutional violation and
name the official or officials within the entity who is or
are alleged to have a “fairly direct” ...